Thank you for your interest in the D.C. office of ___________. Although we were impressed with your qualifications, I regret to advise you that we are unable to consider your application at this time.
We appreciate your interest in ______________ and wish you every success in your professional endeavors.
Form letters. They are short and sweet and usually impersonal like this one above. Try not to be discouraged. Treat the receipt of this letter as a step in the process but not necessarily the end of the road with the firm.
If you believe the firm is a good match for you and you can readily explain why, then keep the firm on the list. After receiving the letter, develop a thoughtful plan of how you are going to obtain an interview with someone there so you have another chance (or first one in person) to demonstrate why you are a good match and specifically what you can contribute. This time, with a little more planning and focus, you are bound to be more persuasive.
I know this method can work because that is how I was ultimately able to obtain an offer from the firm that rejected me (using the form letter above).
This will be the first of many posts concerning rejection letters.