Before you give up hope of ever landing the career you’ve set your sights on,
Clare Whitmell has some tips on how to turn a string of rejections into a job offer…
It’s not always easy to find out where exactly you’re falling short in yourapplications, but this is crucial if you’re determined to apply again. If you don’t get actionable information in a rejection letter, write a polite email to the hiring manager asking for feedback and advice. Say why you’re keen on the role or the company, and that you’d like to improve your future applications. This approach may generate useful, specific details, rather than the generic “we chose someone more experienced/qualified”. For example, you might learn whether it was a lack of relevant skills or experience, or if you failed to come across well in your interview.
However, if you can’t get feedback this way, seek help from others. Try specialist recruiters in your field, or a career coach who might spot things you can’t. It may be a question of presentation (either in your CV or face-to-face) or you might need to plug skills and experience gaps – so formulate a plan to do this.
Work out what attracted you to the role or company
Understanding your interests, motivations and strengths is key. Perhaps you were fired up by the opportunity to work in a particular environment or sector, or the chance to use and develop specific skills. If you know what attracted you, it’s easier to identify other companies or roles which satisfy those interests or needs.
Think laterally. You might not have got on a graduate marketing scheme, but you can still pursue ad-hoc marketing projects for a small company, organisation or charity. Or perhaps you can apply for other roles to get an “in” to a company that particularly appeals. It’s also worth consideringa stepping stones approach by taking on other roles to build vital skills and gain the required experience.
Find ways to become the ideal candidate
What do you need to do to be a front-runner for the role? Will volunteer work or freelance projects help you keep the momentum going? Or do you need to network more and stay front of mind for when vacancies arise? Being a known quantity is preferable to being an outsider. Although you’re unlikely to get the job if you’re not capable of doing it, staying in touch with industry insiders (and especially people in your target companies) will help keep you visible. It might also leapfrog you over the CV-submission stage straight into an interview (where you’ll have the chance to prove your value).
Examine other options
Consider going for Plan B then changing back to your first choice after you’ve amassed experience. This can be a good idea – especially if you’re at the initial stages of your career and not 100% sure on what you want to do. You can keep your options open by maintaining skills or membership of professional groups. Work out how Plan B will help you get you back on track for your first career choice, and how you’re going to explain your decision to a potential employer.