Dealing with Rejection During Your Internship Search

Since I work at my school’s career center and have strong past internship experience, many of my underclassmen friends come to me with everything from resume questions to disappointment when they don’t receive a job. In these cases, I always say the same thing: want me to write you a list of all the positions I’ve been rejected from?

When I tell my friends this, they think I’m crazy. I’ve interned at Seventeen Magazine, so I must not know anything about the struggle of the application process, right? Wrong. Actually, I ultimately got my dream internship in an extremely competitive industry through hard work and determination, which can only mean one thing: a whole LOT of rejection.

Here are my tips for how to deal with rejection during your internship search:

1. Don’t Take it Personally: Don’t put yourself down just because you didn’t get the job! Who knows who you were up against. In reality, there are too many unknowns for us to compare ourselves to others. Thousands of qualified people may have applied for the same job as you. It’s hard to know exactly what an employer was looking for.

2. Consider Whether the Position Was Really Right for You: Usually, the employer knows if you’d be a good fit for their company better than you do. If you applied for an entertainment writing job when you’re really into fashion (examples from my life), the person looking over your application can usually tell. You need to show passion in an application. And if you aren’t passionate about a position, it probably wasn’t for you anyway.

3. Don’t Assume the Unknown: When we get rejected from positions, we often react by making assumptions. For example, it’s easy to assume an intern was chosen because she had a connection to the company. But why waste your time being petty? Move on to the next application instead! Basically, don’t focus on others, focus on what you can approve for next time.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Feedback: You’d be surprised how many employers are willing to give feedback on why you didn’t get a position. So email them back, and say you understand their decision and hope to work with them in the future. Then add a sentence or too asking if there’s any way you could improve your application. They’ll likely be impressed by your determination!

5. Do Keep Applying Everywhere: Just because you were rejected from one position (or 100), don’t get discouraged. How will you know if you can get a position if you don’t apply? Take a risk, and send in those hard applications, even if you think there’s a chance of rejection. You may be a better fit for a different company that has just as competitive as a hiring process as one you were rejected from.

Still feeling down? You can always tweet @shinnersss for that list of positions I’ve been rejected from…

This post originally appeared on the BU CCD-ERC Student Ambassador Tumblr.

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