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Re-Applying to the Same Job or Company Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Workopolis.com Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit www.CareerActivist.com.

Question: A new company started its operations last year and I immediately applied for a position which I fully qualified for, and I was offered an interview. Unfortunately, I was not selected for the position. This company is now expanding rapidly and they undoubtedly have staffing requirements again. Is it wise and worth the effort for me to re-apply? Will my resume and request for a second-chance interview be rejected? What is the best and most effective way to approach this issue?

Nikolas M., Toronto

Dear Nikolas,

When it comes to job searching and love, never say never. Depending on why it is you did not receive a job offer in your first attempt, your chances might well be excellent now that expansion is taking place.

I re-applied for a job I'd been turned down from while in university, and it made a big difference in my early career. It was a prized position in a highly recognized firm. Though I too believed I was well qualified, I wasn't the candidate they selected. It kind of crushed me temporarily. But a week later, I forced myself to pick up the phone and call one of the people there who'd interviewed me, a friendly person who I felt was on my side. I politely asked if I could take them for lunch this week, as I was just starting out and would appreciate enormously any thoughts he could share with me about how I market myself. What I learned at that lunch, aside from invaluable feedback on how I was coming across in an interview (good on the earnestness, a little too much on the thinking side so need to balance it with more feelings so people would connect with me better), was that the company had found space for one more hire. My lunch companion said it was kind of a secret but I should apply anyway. I did, and that job opened a number of valuable doors for me.

I guess it makes sense, though. From the employer's point of view you are somewhat familiar now. You have already expressed an interest in the company, you took the time to follow through fully with the interviewing process, you must know a little something the company, and the fact that you are coming back even after not securing a position first time round, could well indicate your persistence - and your genuine desire to work for this particular employer. All of these are positive things.

So I recommend that you apply for a new job at the same company, Nikolas. It will be up to the hiring crew to determine if you are a better fit this time out. As for boosting your chances of being asked in for a first interview again, there are some solid tips in one of my previous articles, Preparing for the Big Interview.

In this particular situation, I'd also suggest making sure you understand why you didn't get the offer previously. If there is a good reason for the company not to have brought you onboard your first time out, it may be necessary to address the issues head on at some point. Not that I'm advocating putting in your cover letter ''Hey, remember me? Yeah, I'm that guy you rebuffed before.'' No need to remind them. You could just as well wait until you're brought in for interviews. And not volunteer it, either. Then, and only then, if they ask you to comment on your previous application, you ought to be prepared to tell the truth and put your best ''learning moment'' spin on it. An example of this might be if they say something like ''We notice here that you were interviewed in the first round when we opened here last year. What do you think has changed since then that might make this time different?''

How about replying with ''I'm glad you've addressed this question. In my view, there are two significant things that have changed since then. One is the fact that your company has built a solid foundation for yourselves on which to succeed with your expansion. Thus, you are once again in need of good people. This time with maybe a slightly different skill set such as was needed during your start-up. The other change is that my skills and abilities are an even better fit with your firm now than ever, as I am experienced in working with growth companies.''

But let's be honest, if things fell flat in the first case because of an unfixable matter, or if they just don't like you for whatever reason, your efforts could be for naught. If you do get invited in for that interview, it's a really positive sign. They aren't likely to drag you out there just to waste their precious time or deliberately taunt you. Thus, it pays to be persistent in this case.

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