5 steps to writing a thoughtful rejection email

I get rejected for plenty of stuff. Jobs, conference talks, fellowships. Sometimes, the organization doesn't even bother with the bare minimum--a response email. The rejection comes when the event starts up and I'm not included, so I can pretty well figure out what happened. Sometimes I apply for something as a fluke, get a form email. And, well, there was no harm in trying.

But then sometimes, I really give a shit. I apply for something I'm excited about. I put a lot of effort into the application or talk proposal. I may even discuss my application with people involved with the organization. And then....a stock email rejection.

Are you #%)! kidding me???

Years later, I'm still annoyed at some of these stock rejection emails. I know other people hate these rejections too. So, I'd like to do a small part to make them stop. And I feel like I have some standing here cause at this point I've sent out over 1,000 rejection emails to applicants to the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship. Are some folks upset at the news they receive? Sure. But some people publicly tweet thanking us for the email and we get numerous emails of thanks for bringing some consideration to an unpleasant part of any application.

How to write a thoughtful rejection email

Who should apply to the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship? You.

The application deadline for the Knight-Mozilla Fellowship is this Saturday, August 16 at midnight. You may have already read the info on the website and caught up with what fellows have experienced, what next year's news organizations have planned, how we've set up the program to be welcoming to a variety of life circumstances, and how this fellowship can reshape your career.
But you might still be thinking, could that really be me?
Yes, yes it could. If you apply. We often get asked "what makes an ideal applicant?" Over the past three years, we've found that what sets a candidate apart is evidence that, as OpenNews Director Dan Sinker puts it, they are a "creative problem solver." This means, you're someone who enjoys solving problems through code--whether that be with a captivating design testing the limits of your JavaScript skills or with writing a python script to parse a giant data set or with programming an arduino to monitor what the hell is happening in the back of your fridge. :o)