second try at same company

Can you get hired on the second (or third) try?

April 26, 2012: 11:48 AM ET

Now that hiring is starting to pick up, it may be worth trying again at companies where you applied in the past. Here's how to do it.

FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: A couple of years ago, I applied for a job at a company where I've always wanted to work. At the time, they had a hiring freeze in effect, so I got nowhere. But now I hear through the grapevine that they've started adding staff in the area where I would be working (brand management). So I'm thinking about trying again. My question is, since they told me they would keep my information on file, should I assume they already have my resume, etc., or start over from scratch? I'm sure lots of people apply for jobs there all the time, so I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to move to the front of the line. — Mulligan

Dear Mulligan: First, assume nothing. "If you applied two or three years ago, there is no guarantee that the same hiring managers or human resources people you contacted before are still there," notes Roy Cohen, a New York City career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide. "Many companies have experienced so much turnover in the past few years that there is not much institutional memory anymore. So even if you got to the interview stage the last time around, you may now be having a completely new conversation."

Cohen says that several of his clients have recently succeeded at second or even third attempts to get hired by employers who had turned them down before. "Always keep in mind that not being chosen for a particular job opening is often just a matter of numbers," he says. "If there are three or four or six candidates and only one job, interviewers have to cull out even candidates they find really impressive." More

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