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.