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June 22, 2011

Alex Braun, Editor, Eye of the InternBy Alex Braun

Oh, of course not, Timmy! You’re the best, and everyone who doesn’t see that is just silly!

OK, I’m not here to give you a cheesy pep talk. But when it comes to missing out on an internship you thought you were qualified for, you really shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.

Old-school telephone“But,” you may say, “I like to beat myself up when I fail. It’s the only thing that makes me get better.”

Well, here’s the thing: You don’t even know that you failed. There’s a decent chance your application was passed over for reasons entirely outside your control.

What are some of those reasons? Here’s a short list:

1. The employer decided not to hire an intern after all.

Plenty of employers advertise internship openings before realizing that they’ve overestimated their needs — or, in some cases, underestimated, meaning they’ll have to hire a full-time employee instead.

2. The employer forgot it had a listing up on the job board you visited.

To publicize an internship opening, employers who post on job boards may submit their listing to a number of different outlets — and they don’t always remember to check them all.

3. The employer got a personal referral.

Sometimes, a friend of friend might be hired before the company even takes a glance at its online applicants. There’s nothing you can really do to combat this, other than getting referred yourself — which some statistics suggest makes you upwards of 15 times more likely to get hired. To maximize the number of people you can reach out to, check out CareerAmp, our new Facebook app.

4. The employer decided to go with someone more local.

This happens pretty frequently, even if you’ve specified on your application that you’re willing and able to move. Some employers just don’t want to take the risk that the intern doesn’t show up on the first day.

There are many other reasons you can get skipped over that have nothing to do with your aptitude for the job or internship you applied to, but it would be pointless to ramble on about them. Suffice it to say, the best move is to forget about it and move on. If a better internship pops up later on in your search, you might be glad things worked out the way they did.

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