It’s not you, it’s me. It’s a stereotypical negative way of coming out of an uncomfortable breakup with someone. In fact, there are many reasons why I or someone may reject your application in a professional field that requires referrals and submissions.
I get a ton of these requests every week and do my best to help as many people seeking help as I can. I also tend to be more generous than most, but people can make it difficult.
Fortunately, many of the reasons for my rejection can be avoided by treating me, or anyone else you may ask for support, as a decent person. You can deal with most refusals.
I will never say or write, “It’s not you, but me,” but I have figured out at least thirteen reasons why I could refuse to help you with a written recommendation or submission. That’s okay. 13. Also known as “The Baker’s Dozen.”
Nor do I want to be considered a negative jerk. At least not quite. So if you want a “yes” from me or anyone else, try to put those reasons behind you.
I don’t know you at all. We never met at the event or met soon. You may consider me your best point of contact. However, I do not feel that the information is rich enough to act as your advocate. If you had contacted me before you needed something, you might have been in a better position.
I don’t know enough about you. Are you a great pickle friend, or our kids are friends with 4H. I like you very much, but know very little about your abilities in this area of expertise. Have we had conversations about your work before that might provide some insight?
I don’t know them well … don’t put your hopes on me. I met the person you wanted to meet, or knew the opportunity you wanted. I don’t think I know enough or know enough to lobby effectively on your behalf. You think my relationship or position in the field is better than it really is.
I save my social capital with that person or organization for later use. This is the least common cause for me, but I know it happens a lot to others. We all have very few contacts, so given these restrictions, I may be very careful about making such requests and for what purpose.