Why it’s OK to not land that internship

Just like many other penultimate-year students, I found myself endlessly applying for internships over the last couple of months. It always seems to go the same way.

You find the perfect placement, and you begin dreaming up images of yourself in your ideal job, young, successful, and ready to take on the world. You perfect your CV and cover letter and fill out a seemingly endless application, with isometric tests and business competency quizzes and send it all off with fingers crossed. Then, just as you get your hopes up, you receive that fateful email beginning with that one dreaded word: ‘Unfortunately’.

Honestly, there was no worse experience of this for me than on one morning a few weeks ago, when I awoke two emails from companies I had been excited to apply for but was subsequently rejected by. It wasn’t even 7 am, and I already felt like I had failed that day. This is a feeling I’ve come to know quite well over the last three weeks or so, and I’ve learned some things from these experiences.

First, the most important thing to remember is that it’s not always you. I was devastated at being screened out by one company, as I hadn’t been kept in the process long enough for me to tell them that I had done a few days of work experience with them while still at school. While the process can be unfair, it’s important to realise that the company is only there to pick the best interns, which doesn’t make you the worst by being screened out. There are a huge number of reasons you could be screened out, and it’s not always down to your skills and attributes. So, chin up!

Another thing to remember is that sometimes it’s for the best! When you’re applying for everything under the sun, you might not even read what the internship involves. I think many people can be accused of this and it’s just part of the whirlwind that is your penultimate year at uni. It might be that you’ll get screened out because it genuinely wasn’t the internship for you. Once, a friend of mine applied for an internship that she thought was about marketing, but it was about stock markets instead! It sounds silly, but always make sure you know what you’re signing up for.

Finally, the key is perseverance. If you got every single internship you applied for, there’d be no challenge! It’s not supposed to be easy to get an internship, especially when applying to big companies. If you keep your confidence and never forget your self-worth, then you’ll find the perfect placement in the end. Keep at it, and you’ll be successful, internship or not!

Meg Storey

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