I recognized it before I even opened the email.
I recognized it by the courteous yet curt subject line and the unnecessarily long introduction emphasizing my talents and how pleasant it was to meet me.
Any time a potential employer takes that much time to tell me how nice it was to meet me before getting to the punch line, it’s almost always the internship/ job kiss of death: the dreaded rejection email.
As a senior in college, I’ve applied to more than my share of internships. I’ve had a good number of successes, but unfortunately, they’re generally preceded by many rejections.
And, sadly, it still stings every time. That first hour after reading the email and processing the fact that I won’t be working at the company I was so excited about is very disheartening.
But not only is it disheartening, it’s also incredibly frustrating because of all the effort I dedicated to researching the company, submitting the application, as well as preparing and going through the interview process. More importantly, it always feels like I’ve been underestimated: “I can do the work, just let me!'
It’s like they’ve broken up with me,but I never even got to go on a first date…
But although the initial sting of rejection hasn’t gone away,fortunately, my bounce-back rate has significantly improved. I’ve also realized that for me there’s not such thing as a wasted effort. Every application and interview has made me much more prepared for the next application and interview.
Whenever I read old cover letters I cringe because it’s unlikely that I would have hired that awkwardly worded, run-on sentence girl either. So I keep tweaking my resume and thinking about questions that really hurt me in my last interview and try to work on those weaknesses.
I’ve also trained myself not to think about rejections as simply a reflection of my skills or self-presentation. Interviewers have a keen understanding of their company’s structure and culture. If they feel my personality and skills are not a good fit, perhaps it’s not a place where I would be happy because I wouldn’t click with the other employees or even the work itself.
So maybe we didn’t break up, we just lack chemistry. Fortunately, there are plenty of fish in the internship sea.
We’ve all got our rejection stories…let us know the one that stung the most for you in the comments below.
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