How to Respond to a Job Rejection Email (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 22, 2020

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It’s disappointing to be turned down for a job you were hoping to get. Many applicants succumb to the natural instinct of moving on in their job-search before replying to the rejection email.

While you may want to ignore and curl up into a ball for a while or get right back into job-hunting, responding to a job rejection email professionally is a courteous approach that will ultimately serve your interests.

Reasons Why You Should Respond to a Job Rejection Email

A lot of job-seekers roll their eyes at the idea of extending any extra effort towards a position they’ve already been rejected for. They’re already in a pit of despair; why should they have to make it any worse by reaching out to say, “Thanks for not choosing me”?

Here are a few reasons why responding to a job rejection letter is the best course of action:

  1. Displays professionalism. Even though your fate with this job is sealed, reaching out to a hiring manager to state your appreciation for the opportunity demonstrates your professionalism. It’s important to maintain this cordial and respectful demeanor, whether or not you get what you want.

  2. Keeps you in mind for future positions. You didn’t land this position, and that means you won’t be working for the company you applied with right now. However, it doesn’t mean you’ll never work for them. When alternative positions open up in the future, the recruiter remembers you as a prospective applicant that went out of their way to thank them for their time.

  3. Grows networking circle. Having a diverse network of professionals in your field that you’ve interacted with is crucial to career growth. Going through the process of application and interview introduces you to individuals in your industry, but reaching out even after being rejected solidifies them as potential contacts.

    Growing your network gives you more opportunities where you didn’t expect them.

  4. The applicant they hired doesn’t work out. Perhaps the most convincing reason for responding to a job rejection email is the possibility that the candidate they’ve chosen doesn’t work out, and you were their runner-up to hire. There are many reasons that a newly hired employee doesn’t work out, whether they didn’t live up to expectation skill-wise or accepted a better position elsewhere.

    When this happens, the employer follows up with another promising applicant to fill the role. Their choice will be someone who is stuck in their mind by responding to the rejection email.

4 Steps for Writing a Job Rejection Email Response

A response to a job rejection email has a more lax feel than the formality of the job application process, but it still requires attention to a particular structure:

  1. Say thank you. Saying thank you after being rejected for a role you worked hard to get requires your ego to take a back seat. While it’s not going to be your favorite activity, open your response by stating your appreciation that they took the time to consider you for the job. Getting through the application process in itself takes resources that a company wouldn’t supply for an unpromising applicant.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    Showing them your gratitude for the chance, despite not receiving a job offer, demonstrates strong character and professionalism. Try to express your thanks as genuinely as possible. Even though you’re disappointed, there’s room to express this next bit in your reply.

  2. Statement of disappointment. That disappointment you feel at not landing the job actually has a vital purpose in your response. It demonstrates how much you cared about receiving the position and your eagerness for the job.

    It’s okay to give a touch of disappointment, but make sure this part of your response doesn’t go on forever and isn’t too victimizing. It should be a brief explanation of two sentences at most that objectively states that you wish you got the job.

  3. Express interest in the company, despite the circumstance. Maybe you’ve become completely disillusioned with the possibility of working with this company, and that’s okay. However, if you’d still be open to future opportunities, expressing interest in the company despite the circumstances will let the hiring manager know to keep you in mind.

    Sometimes, securing a job with a company you’re passionate about just takes a little longer than expected.

  4. Request feedback. Many unsuccessful job applicants are left stunned and unsure of why they didn’t get the job. The truth is that it’s a long shot for you to find out precisely why you weren’t chosen for the role. Employers will be vague in their reasoning for why you weren’t hired or won’t explain at all.

    When you reach out with a response to job rejection, it can be an excellent chance to get some clarity. Before deciding to include this section of your reply, do some self-evaluation of your skills, experience, and other reasons, you have not gotten the job.

    If you’re still at a complete loss for why you were rejected or just want to improve for the future, be friendly and put forth the request with respect.

What to Include in a Response to a Job Rejection

  1. Respectfulness. The last thing that you want to do when sending a response to a job rejection is come across as entitled, pissed off, or unprofessional. The resounding tone of your reply should be respectfulness.

  2. Proper email format. Use proper business email format with any type of professional communications you have. Sending a response to a job rejection is a little less tense than the rest of the interview process because nothing hinges on how it’s received, but it still requires proper formatting.

  3. Appreciation. It seems contradictory to be bestowing such high praise and gratitude towards a company that rejected you. However, they’ve extended just as much effort in assessing as you have in trying to get the job. Demonstrate your appreciation for their consideration and time when crafting your response.

  4. Your contact information. You haven’t been offered the position you were vying for, but it’s always possible that the employer you applied with reached out in the future for a different opportunity. Include your contact information in your response to a job rejection. If a hiring manager needs to fill a different role, it will be easy for them to get a hold of you.

Rejection Follow-Up Email Examples

Example #1

Subject Line: Avery Cohen – High School Mathematics Teacher Position

John Tollson
Education Administrator
JTollson@BermontHS.org
Bermont High School
(827)-648-8843

Dear Mr. Tollson,

Thank you for informing me of your decision in such a timely manner. I appreciate the opportunity to interview with you for the mathematics teaching position at Bermont High School. I enjoyed learning more about Bermont school and its educational system.

While I admit that I was disappointed to receive your email stating that I’d been rejected from the teaching position, I hope that you’ll keep my resume on file in case a fitting position comes up.

I would appreciate any feedback you have on my resume and interview performance, if possible.

Thank you again.

Best Regards,

Avery Cohen
AveryCohen@gmail.com
(472)-247-5581

Example #2

Subject Line: Jamie Hansen – Job Rejection

Matthew Moore
MatthewMoore@WinstonDental.Co
Office Manager
Winston Dental Company
(573)-583-2845

Dear. Mr. Moore,

I just received your email notifying me that I have been turned down for the open position of office receptionist. I’d like to thank you for letting me know and considering me for the receptionist position with Winston Dental Company.

I’m saddened to find out that I wasn’t chosen for this role. However, I understand that you had a competitive applicant pool. With that being said, I hope you’ll keep me in mind for any opportunities that open up.

If you have time, I’d love to get some feedback on my application and interview.

Thanks again. I wish you and Winston Dental Company the best.

Sincerely,

Jamie Hansen

JamieHansen@gmail.com
(473)-183-6322

Example #3

Subject Line: Application Rejection For Graphic Design Internship- Eliott Rogers

Stacy Wilson
StacyWilson@AmazingDesign.com
Human Resources Manager
Amazing Design Corporation
(572)-348-5729

Dear Mrs. Wilson,

I appreciate the prompt notice that I have been rejected for the graphic design internship position with Amazing Designs Corporation. I am grateful to have received the opportunity to be considered for an internship with this amazing company. It was a pleasure to meet and speak with you in the interview.

While I am disappointed to be rejected as an intern for the Spring of 2021, I think highly of Amazing Design Corporation and hope to be kept in mind for the future. I am open to discuss any possibilities that arise.

Additionally, I was hoping you could give me some constructive criticism and feedback about my performance throughout the application process. I’m in my final year of college and still haven’t had much professional experience. Any input you can give would be helpful to my next application experience.

Thank you so much.

Best Wishes,

Eliott Rogers

EliottRogers@gmail.com
(472)-184-1935

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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