February 22, 2024
It can be very frustrating and disappointing when you get an application rejection and even more so when you get several. Here are five reasons why you might be getting application rejections and what you can do to succeed in the future.

1. Transferable Skills 

You may be getting application rejections because when you detail your work experience, you’re not emphasising what transferable skills you have gained. You’re also not explaining how these transferable skills will enable you to succeed in the role you’re applying for.

Before making an application, spend time researching transferable skills that you can exemplify in your previous work experience, and that are also sought after in your chosen industry. Then, choose a number of the skills that align with what the company is looking for in its employees. This will inform what you highlight and exemplify in your work experience sections.

2. Cover Letter 

You may be getting application rejections because your cover letter doesn’t show how you would be an asset to the company, thus not grabbing the interest of the recruiter.

Here’s a standard cover letter structure you can try for future applications:

  1. Start with “Dear [Graduate Recruiter’s Name]”. Make sure you research this beforehand – you can find this out on the company page, emails, LinkedIn, etc.
  2. Then, an introductory sentence explaining your current position. Are you a student or have you recently graduated, for example? 
  3. 1-2 sentences explaining your passion for the industry you’re applying to.
  4. 2-3 sentences explaining what you did to consolidate your passion (work experience) and why it has motivated you to pursue the career you’re applying to.
  5. 2-3 points about why you want a long-term career at the company you’re applying for. 
  6. 2-3 examples of your most impactful extra-curricular activities.
  7. Summary sentence explaining why you would be an asset to the company.
  8. End with “Thank you for considering my application. I hope to hear from you soon. Your Sincerely […]”


Find out how to master your law firm applications and land your dream job


3. Contextual Recruitment 

You may be getting application rejections because you’re not taking advantage of contextual recruitment. More and more companies are using contextual recruitment, which essentially puts candidates’ backgrounds into context and makes recruitment fairer. 

For example, if you have mitigating circumstances make sure to include this in your application. It may seem like mentioning your circumstances can work against you, but this is not the case. 

Disclosing mitigation circumstances is to ‘ensure that graduate recruiters do not reject your application because of low marks when there is a valid reason you did not perform to your full potential’.

If you follow these key steps, this will ensure you fill in this section successfully:

  1. Do not include too much personal information. Simply and succinctly outline the issue and how it impacted your studies, either generally or in a particular module.
  2. Make sure your university, GP, etc, is aware of your circumstances and can provide you with evidence if needed.
  3. Where relevant, you can briefly explain what measurements you (have) put in place to ensure the successful completion of your studies.

4. Conveying Passion

You may be getting application rejections because you’re not really passionate about the role you’re applying for and it’s apparent in your answers. It’s important to be intentional and methodical about your applications. Deciphering which applications you should make will give you more time to focus on the ones you really want to apply for.

Here are some blogs on how you can discover your career passion:

5. Rushing Your Applications

You may be getting application rejections because you rush the application process and don’t spend enough time editing your applications. It is most advisable to create a draft for your answers to the application questionnaires outside of the company website. 

For example, you can find out what the questions are in your application, and then paste them into Word and form your answer there. You should spend at least a week editing and getting peer reviews. When you’re ready, you can paste your answer back into the application before the deadline and submit your application.


  1. Learn what your transferable skills are and how you can use those to add value to the company you’re applying to
  2. Spend time strengthening your cover letter 
  3. Use contextual recruitment to your advantage 
  4. Consolidate your passion before making an application
  5. Give yourself enough time to complete job applications
  6. Make sure you continuously edit your drafts and get them peer-reviewed


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