A rejection letter to a college grad

The story of a college grad who was rejected for a position because he didn’t do what college students should do. 


Hello John.

Regretfully I have to inform you that the hiring committee went with another candidate for the accounting position. Although we felt you were strong in many areas, it was your lack of job-related experience that prevented us from hiring you.

A number of attributes, which I’ll describe in detail, made you a strong candidate. I’m not in the habit of doing this for job candidates, but I want to give you some feedback from the search committee. I feel that you have a great deal of promise and hope to see your job search come to fruition.

To begin with, we were particularly impressed with your leadership skills. You were a lifeguard supervisor for two summers. During this time you were responsible for six staff members. The recommendation from your manager described you as a “natural leader.”

Another attribute you possess is strong communication skills. You demonstrated this as president of your class at the State University of New York. There you proved your verbal communication skills as a member of the debate team. As well, you wrote weekly articles for the university newspaper.

Your grade point average of 3.9/4.0 is remarkable by any standards, especially because you majored in Business Administration and minored in International  Studies. You should be extremely proud of yourself. This fact did not go unnoticed by the hiring committee; let me assure you of this.

You also came across as someone who would work well in a team environment, which is essential in our organization. By leading organizations on campus, most notably the Self-Awareness committee, you proved that you can work well with a diverse group of individuals. I was impressed when you told us that you empowered your teammates by delegating responsibilities you knew you could handle on your own.

Having played lacrosse for my college, I was impressed with the fact that you were the captain of the team your junior and senior year. I know how difficult it is to be the goalie in a game like lacrosse. You have be a quarterback and be able to bounce back from injuries due to blistering shots from the opposition. This experience shows that you have leadership skills.

Lastly I want to applaud you for taking control of the problem that aroused from your dormitory. You realized a problem existed with certain factions in the dormitory, so you organized a forum where people could discuss their complaints. You moderated these weekly meetings and eventually came to a resolution. This showed your problem-solving skills, which is important in any job.

Despite all this, John, we couldn’t ignore the fact that you don’t have the job-related experience required to hit the ground running. As you know, we need someone who can: prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.

The hiring committee didn’t get the sense you were strong in all these areas. They also wondered if you could adapt to a very fast-paced environment with very strict deadlines. I admire your experience of supervising the lifeguards, but the responsibilities you would have assumed here are dissimilar.

I want to end with a little bit of advice, John. You don’t have any internship experience throughout your university years, and this hurt you. However, it’s not too late. You can seek out internships, or volunteer experience, near your home town. If you’re fortunate, you may secure a paid internship.

I wish we had a spot for you on our team, but we need someone who—as I’ve stressed—has the job-related experience.



Susan Jackson, Hiring Committee

This post originally appeared on http://www.youtern.com.


4 thoughts on “A rejection letter to a college grad

  1. Cindy B.

    Some of the same things I tell Veterans as they job seek. If you do not have direct experience, show your volunteer experiences and tie them in to the position you are seeking.


    1. Things Career Related Post author

      Right, Cindy. If you’re far removed from school, volunteerism is a great option. I appreciate what schools like Northeastern have done with their co-op program, one of the firs, if not the first, of its kind.


  2. davidhuntpe

    On one hand, I certainly agree that job experience is a critical thing that students should pursue. At my U Mass class I had a representative from the school’s co-op program speak to the class, and I highlighted how my own co-op experience was invaluable.

    At the same time, and I’ll admit to a little cynicism here… all these things and they STILL didn’t want him? Most people don’t have a red “S” on their chest. It begs the question: if there’s a “shortage” shouldn’t there be flexibility, not the search for the fantasy date with anyone not matching the entire wish list tossed to the curb?



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s