Q: I love your column and think it is a wonderful resource.
When you apply for a job, do you have to point out that you've tried before?
Here is why I ask: I've applied to a large company a couple of times in the last few years. The application process is computerized and I have no idea if a human reads the resume. Sometimes I don't get a rejection message and I'm left wondering if I even applied.
Imagine my excitement after I had a brief electronic exchange with a live person at this company and he/she agreed to assist me. The elation ended when the recruiter sent me a message pointing out that I've applied before and wondering why I didn't mention those rejections. I feel terrible, but I wasn't hiding anything or trying to misrepresent myself. I just didn't think to point them out early on. Perhaps not my smartest move, but was I wrong?
If so, when and how do you mention such a thing?
And, while I have your attention, is applying multiple times in several years so bad? If you're qualified, I think it shows determination and a desire to work somewhere. Who would want a journalist who gives up easily?
A: You did nothing wrong. It is not your responsibility to tell a company that you have applied there before. They should be in charge of knowing who they deal with it -- and it seems that this company is.
There is nothing wrong with applying more than once or twice. In fact, that's how some people got their jobs. Smart companies should consider such tenacity and sustained interest to be clear signs of your seriousness.
Not only did you do nothing wrong, you also did not do anything dumb.
What were you to say, "I am applying again, even though this has never worked before"?
No, say, "My interest in your company remains as strong as ever. Let me show you how I have become a strong candidate -- and how that growth will continue."
Some of the best people I have hired took years to bring aboard.
It sounds like you have good reasons to be interested in this employer. If your guesses about them are right, I'm sure it is not the kind of place that feels that it should be one chance and out for you.