Job Seekers: Didn’t Get the Job? How NOT To Follow Up

didnt_get_jobThe last thing you want to do after you didn’t get the job is hand the company a permanent Reject Me letter.

You did everything you were supposed to do.  You researched the company, exhaustively prepared for the interviews, and sent your thank-you emails.

Then you waited (and waited) to hear back, only to receive a form email that wished you well but stated the company had decided to pursue other candidates.

What you should do: Send an email back to your interviewers thanking them for the opportunity and expressing a few favorable points about the interviews and the company.

Why? Because this touch of graciousness in defeat shows you’ve still got the company’s best interests in mind—and that you may just deserve a second look.

To make sure you get the right tone and send the correct message, check out a sample post-rejection letter and tips from The Ladders here.

What you shouldn’t do: Include any of the below points in this email. You may think some of these are achingly obvious, but these examples are taken from real emails that regrettably cannot be printed in full.

Do not:

  • Detail the steps you took in the job candidacy process as evidence of the amount of effort you expended. The company already knows.
  • Deride, disparage, or otherwise  insult your interviewer or anyone else in the company.
  • State what, in your view, “common courtesy” and “the most basic amount of professionalism” required in regard to their treatment of you.
  • Insist that the company should have made a personal call to you instead of sending a form email.
  • Include the phrase “best of luck with that” in response to the company’s hiring another person.
  • State that you’re only sending this email for the principle of the thing versus anger at the company. No one will believe this.
  • End your email after all this with “Thank you for your consideration.” No one will believe that either.
  • Lastly, if you’re going to address your email to a specific person in the subject line, such as “A few thoughts, Brenda,”—don’t send it to several people at once.


Job search can be a thankless, time-consuming, soul-sapping, endless Groundhog Day. You go through so much to get so little in return. You still owe it to yourself to make sure you’re putting the best you forward at all times, and leaving the best impression you can.

This may mean faking your happy feelings and putting your ego on hold, but it’s worth taking the chance to shine once more. Because consider this: While you may think you’ll never darken that company’s door again, “never” is a long time. Management could change. Policy could change. New positions could open in different departments.

But someone, somewhere, will remember your last word. Companies have long memories. Don’t let their last one of you be a “few thoughts” like these.

Additional resources:

Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow in 2013

AplusI am humbled, grateful, and excited to be named once again to a list that has an incredible cast: YouTern’s Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow in 2013. (@bbenishek) Thank you so much!

YouTern is exactly the kind of site I would have loved to have at my fingertips when I was in college and am so glad to have now. Overflowing with the richness of career-driving resources and job seeking advice in addition to full disclosure on the world of internships, YouTern will help you at any age and any stage of your career.

Eliminating Resumes: The Lazy Way Out?

The Wall Street Journal’s recent No More Résumés, Say Some Firms article highlights a trend that’s been creeping up on us for some time: Bypassing the traditional resume altogether in favor of the job applicant’s web presence.

“Instead of asking for résumés, [Union Square Ventures]—which has invested in Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga and other technology companies—asked applicants to send links representing their “Web presence,” such as a Twitter account or Tumblr blog. Applicants also had to submit short videos demonstrating their interest in the position.

“Union Square says its process nets better-quality candidates —especially for a venture-capital operation that invests heavily in the Internet and social-media—and the firm plans to use it going forward to fill analyst positions and other jobs.”

With so many of us blathering about our lives at the top of our virtual lungs, social media plays a viable part in the overall decision-making process. Why wouldn’t a prospective employer take advantage of checking you out online, especially with a job geared toward the public eye? Where a resume can fail for any number of reasons, the social media piece can push you into the top running for a position–or, of course, drop you out.

What I don’t agree with is bypassing the resume entirely.

We’re a culture of snap judgments, a world of TL;DR, our senses flooded by imagery, sound bites and a falsely inbred urgency to get to the next best thing. It’s already far easier for an employer or recruiter to weed people out than let them in. Add the social media snap judgment to that, and you could be left with nothing to stand on, disqualified because someone didn’t like your hairstyle or the way you worded a tweet. You can’t say “But look at my resume!” if a resume isn’t even wanted.

Obviously this goes both ways, as I mentioned before. Your resume may never make it to the hiring manager–but then they find you online, like what they see and call you for an interview.

The point is that these snap judgments can sometimes be faulty, and can have a lot more to do with the person looking at you than with you yourself. Social media, while immensely attractive by its immediate availability, still doesn’t give someone the whole picture about you. I’d rather recruiters and employers kept wanting to see the whole package, the static resume as well as the dynamic online presence.

What do you think? Would getting rid of traditional resumes in favor of strictly social media be good or bad for job seekers and employers? What have you seen in your job search process?  

Pic from here.