Welcome back to the Capital Women newsletter and podcast! For the past month, we underwent a brief hiatus due to Michelle Goldchain, Capital Women founder, having to finish many deadlines, one of which being a new book for Arcadia Publishing (details to come). For today's newsletter issue, expect a variety of must-read reporting, covering everything from the good (a new park!) to the more than unfortunate (the obstacles pregnant women face in D.C.). The next podcast episode will be delayed until September 17, but be sure to watch the latest episode with chef and dietician, Jessica Swift, below. As always, thank you for joining Capital Women in this latest issue/episode, and expect more in two weeks.
I applied for a job that I thought I had in the bag, but I was rejected without even getting an interview! I really want to figure out why because I really want to work for this organization in the future! How can I learn what went wrong?
It sucks to feel like you’re 100% qualified for a job, but still not even get an interview. Unfortunately, it’s also common. There are no qualifications that will actually guarantee you an interview. After all, if 45 people apply to a job and are well-qualified, they’re not likely to do 45 interviews!
Your first step is to ask for feedback. Ideally, you can just reply to whatever notification you received about your rejection, but if it was sent from a no-reply email, see if you can easily find the hiring manager’s contact info (easily being a key word; no cyber-stalking for jobs). HR is also an option, but in my experience very few HR folks will actually give you this feedback, despite it being a very good thing to do for your employer brand.
Phrase it something like this (adapted to your own voice, of course): “Hello NAME, thank you so much for letting me know. I’m really interested in working at ORGANIZATION in the future, so if there’s any feedback you can give me to improve my application, or gain the experience or skills you’d like to see, please let me know! I wish you every success with your new POSITION TITLE, and I hope to hear from you soon.”
Keep it short, friendly, and, most of all, non-combative. You don’t want to look like you’re arguing with their final decision, just that you’re excited about the company and interested in improving for next time. You might get an answer or you might not, but making it clear that you understand the decision and are just doing a bit of professional follow-up will reassure hiring managers that you’ll take the feedback with grace, making it easier for them to give it.
I would also recommend having someone else take a look at your application materials. Sometimes, the difference between an interview and a rejection is as simple as a typo or mis-phrasing in your resume or cover letter. No point tearing your hair out about your qualifications when a quick fix might make things go differently next time!
- A women-centric ride-hail service is coming to D.C. this fall. [Washington Business Journal]
- A new park in NoMa is named for the woman who helped open the first D.C. schools for black children. [DCist]
- Women in D.C. face obstacles at every step of pregnancy and childbirth. [Washington City Paper]
- The first black female White House reporter will be honored with a life-sized statue in D.C. [Black Enterprise]
- Meet the former Georgetown professor leading the way at Atlas Research. [Washington Business Journal]
- Relive Aretha Franklin's most iconic D.C. area performances. [DCist]
- Here are six female-focused workshops and events in the D.C. area worth checking out. [Eventbrite]
- September 14: Follow the route of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession through D.C. and gain an understanding of the suffragist struggle for equality and the right to vote.
- September 19: The Emotional Labor Union, a monthly feminist discussion group in Columbia Heights, is celebrating its one-year anniversary.
Michelle Goldchain and Kim Stiens contributed to this newsletter.