“Sorry, you are not the right fit for us at the moment” – this is probably one of the most used phrases by recruiters when rejecting an applicant. The wording “at the moment” makes the message seem a little less harsh, as it conveys a feeling of hope that there will be a point in time in the indefinite future where you two actually are a match. How true is this statement though?

Can you really apply for a job that you got rejected for before? The short and quite unsatisfying answer is: It depends.

Wait at least six months

Applying for the same job immediately after you got rejected will only make you look desperate. There are differing opinions on how long you should wait before applying again, but if you wait at least six months you should be on the safe side. Timing is important in general, take a look at these tips on when to apply for internships and jobs in order to increase your chances even more.

Try to get a feeling of how close you were last time

When deciding on how long to wait before applying again, you should consider how close you were to being offered the position last time you applied. If you didn’t even get invited to an interview, it might be a good idea to wait a little longer so that you have the time to improve your chances. If you want to know what type of concrete qualifications the company is looking for in an applicant, try asking someone you might know at the company.

In fact, you could actually ask the recruitment manager for feedback from the last time you applied. Not all companies offer this to applicants, but if you really want the job it might be worth giving it a try. That way you can make a more informed assessment your chances of getting the job. Take a look at this outline of the steps behind a job application in order to get a better picture of what the recruitment process looks like on the other side, thereby gaining a better understanding of how close you were last time.  

Evaluate your chances of getting the job – and choose wisely

Applying to a position at every possible opportunity might actually decrease your chances of getting the job. If you have applied for the same job six times in three years without getting to the interview stage, the recruiter might think that you lack the ability to properly assess your qualifications and abilities. Therefore, you should choose your attempts wisely. If you, after doing your research, realize that you don't quite fulfill the requirements for the position, try improving your CV before applying again. It doesn’t have to be any revolutionary improvements, but just that little extracurricular activity, part-time job och volunteering could help. 

There is, of course, also a possibility that the competition was unusually hard when you applied and that you would get the job, with the same CV, if you applied again six months later. If you reached the final round of interviews and felt like you were close to being offered the job, then you might just as well try applying again, even if your CV hasn’t changed since last time. Also, remember that you don't necessarily need to fit the job description to 100 % – sometimes it makes sense to apply to the job anyway.