Dear Applicant, It Doesn’t Matter: An Honest Rejection Letter

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Dear Applicant, It Doesn't Matter: An Honest Rejection Letter

Dear Applicant,

We figured it would be best not to use your name, because that could lead to some sort of emotional or personal connection, which we truly believe is not in your best interest at this point. We never plan to have any relationship with you, whatsoever, just so we’re clear. It’s misleading and things could get kind of messy or confusing and that would just turn into an HR nightmare. So, please, let us reiterate that we only have your best interest at heart. Please keep that in mind when you go to rate us on Yelp or if the Better Business Bureau contacts you in the future. Oh, and don’t forget to Like us on Facebook!

We are contacting you to let you know that we have received your resume and application for our open position. Unfortunately, we must inform you that you do not fit the requirements for this position. You actually didn’t meet, like, half of them, so we kind of laughed among ourselves before we sent your materials to the head of the department. We know you had a very valid rationale for applying, and a rebuttal for any argument that you’re not qualified for the position. Actually, we don’t know that, because we didn’t read your cover letter, which you probably slaved over and worked unnecessarily hard to make as eloquent and memorable as possible. Well, that was our bad. Sorry. I guess we’re kind of too far into this rejection letter to dig into the recycle bin and retrieve it and reevaluate your credentials, and I think our pick-up was yesterday, anyway, so it’s long gone.

Your resume was very impressive! We see that you met our first requirement: a Bachelor’s degree. Not only that, but a Master’s degree—going above and beyond, that’s what we like to see. Half the people here don’t even have a bachelor’s degree, but you know, they’ve been here forever so they’ve been grandfathered in. We also see that you graduated with honors on both occasions. You must be some kind of hoity-toity bigshot, huh? Just trying to show everyone up with your gleaming GPAs? Just because you had stellar grades from renowned, private institutions doesn’t mean you have an advantage, okay? Slow down, Kemosabe.

We noted that you spent a semester abroad, as well. Very cultured of you. But we must stress the fact that we aren’t looking for culture; we are looking for experience. On top of studying abroad, you spent a summer in South America helping build houses for the impoverished. What a great personal accomplishment! But you have to understand that you forfeited a valuable opportunity for work experience in this field — we had to mark you down for this. It looks like you were heavily involved in campus activities and community service. Well, you know, uh, that’s great! I’m sure those will come in handy somewhere. You have listed several great internships that seem relevant to this position, but again, these were merely internships, and you couldn’t have possibly learned much from them, especially in just a semester, so we don’t really count that as ‘experience.’

For some reason, you have included ‘related coursework’ on your resume? It’s nice that you felt the need to tell us that you took upward of 10 classes that directly relate to the work this position requires, but we’re just a little confused as to why you’ve involved them in this application process. You may be a bit disillusioned if you’ve been led to believe that these make a difference. Though you think that these are tantamount to a few years’ experience, you’re wrong. There’s just no possible way that semester-long research projects, case studies, in-field simulations, work-study and senior or graduate theses could be anything like the real work you would be doing for us. The idea of it is just absurd.

We must admit that your portfolio really dazzled us. One of the most impressive we’ve seen in a while. I mean, we skimmed it, but just by the amount of big words you used and the way you organized and executed your thoughts, you seem very brilliant and serious about your work. Unfortunately, all of these pieces were accumulated while you were still in school, so technically, we can’t really count them toward your work experience. In fact, we didn’t really see much work experience on your resume at all. Just a few jobs while you were in high school, some on-campus jobs from college, a few graduate school assistantships, and a starter job just doing some clerical work here and there. You seem to have such a rich and eclectic background with your schooling and all of the opportunities you pursued in between. And you must be very bright and ambitious to have accomplished many of the things that you have. We really don’t mean to discredit any of your past endeavors, applicant, but we must be frank: it doesn’t fucking matter.

We realize that you might be a great addition to our team. But here’s the problem: you’ve never worked in this industry. See, if we give you a chance to interview, we could end up really liking you and completely recognizing that you would give our company such an advantage by offering a young, cultured and tech-savvy point of view, and we could risk compromising our archaic idea that even without the required experience, you could be just as capable as someone who has been in the game for years. If we hire you, how are we even supposed to begin explaining to everyone that our new employee doesn’t have 3+ years of work experience? From a business standpoint, that just reflects really poorly on us and could create a breach in our credibility. Work experience that is specific to this position is really the only thing that matters here. We hope you understand and respect our decision.

So please, let us reiterate: we are well aware that you could be very intelligent, with great capacity and eagerness to learn this trade quicker than many other applicants. We even see the possibility of you being a joy to have in the office and your ability to really propel our company by offering your generational perspective on things. We understand that your educational background, personal experiences, and well-rounded nature could prove to be an asset. Regardless, applicant, it doesn’t fucking matter.

Thanks so much for taking the time to send us your resume and application! It’s common practice and good for our public image to tell you that we will keep these on file in case anything pertaining to your qualifications becomes available in the future. But to be honest, your submission materials are sitting in the “to shred” pile on Angie’s desk in HR.

Have a wonderful day!

The Company That Hired The Frat Boy Intern Over You

“A very inspirational Ghandi or Steve Jobs quote that no one takes too seriously.”

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Kentucky to Indiana to Boston to LA, and I still haven't managed to kick the "y'all" habit. Haggard hopeful sitcom writer. More at

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