Job Search Advice

How to deal with an internship rejection

Rejection sucks—especially when it comes after hours and hours of preparation for a job interview or application. Unfortunately, rejection is more common than ever in this hiring environment, so the Simplify team has put together some tips on how to handle it. Keep reading to learn more!

Shri Kolanukuduru
Published: (Updated: ) - 4 min read

Photo by Olena Sergienko / Unsplash

So, you’ve sent out countless applications and received….silence. Or, when you finally got the interview, you gave it your all only to be hit with a generic, “we decided to go with another candidate” email. Even worse, you went through rounds of interviews only to find out you weren't getting the offer.

We've all been here before, and the feeling of rejection sucks—in fact, it happens all the time. However, this can be an opportunity to re-evaluate where your application might have been weakest, and fix it so that it doesn't happen again! Keep reading for the Simplify team's tips on how to deal with rejection.

Take a Breather

It’s normal to feel disappointed. You spent a lot of time preparing and interviewing for this role. After that, don’t be so hard on yourself. Take into consideration that in today's hiring climate, where job postings are overwhelmingly online. As a result of this, we’ve seen huge increases in applicant pools with fewer geographic barriers across the board, inherently making jobs more selective. Rejection happens—what matters is how you respond.

Ask for Feedback

This can come from either the hiring manager responsible for the posting, or a friend or colleague. Even if you've applied for a highly competitive job (think PM roles at Google or Netflix), there's always something on your application that can be improved. This is a great opportunity to use the candid feedback you get from those around you to identify your weaknesses and address them quickly!

Consider this: do you get rejection email after rejection email with no interviews? Or do you get interviews but never the job offer? These are two separate problems with different solutions to work through.

If you’re struggling to get an interview: Have you been using the same resume with every application? Your resume likely needs some work. Try personalizing your resume and cover letter to every internship you’re interested in. Highlight your relevant coursework or experience for the job.

Struggling to find best practices for interview? Simplify has got you covered—read our guide on how to nail your next interview.

If you’re struggling to get a job offer: Have you asked for interview advice? If you aren’t getting the job offer, it’s possible something is getting lost in your translation in your interview. Feedback would be most helpful here to learn what you need to work on. In the case that you don’t receive it, it might be time to brush up on your interview skills.

Tweak Resumes and Cover Letters

Contrary to popular belief, your resume is not a one-size-fits-all document. Customization is key. For every job description you see, curate your resume to fit every bullet point you can. Create your bullet points with the future internship in mind. The hiring manager should immediately see the connection between the job description and your resume.

In the spirit of concision, we've kep this part short. However, resumes and cover letters are hard—we know. For a deeper insight on how to ace them, read our pieces on the how to put together a killer resume and cover letter!

Use your cover letter to convey your fit and willingness to grow in the organization. Cover letters can assist a resume that doesn’t necessarily check all the boxes for an employer. But if you’re using a template cover letter, it’s quite obvious.

You believe you're a good fit for this job, and they should too! Use the cover letter to speak to your strengths that aren’t as obvious from your resume alone—strengths that might give you an edge over other applicants.

Visit Your School’s Career Center

Once you’ve brushed up on your interview process, there are still ways to improve. As a student, you have the advantage of free career help! So, it’s time to use it. Make an appointment with your school’s career center to see how they can assist your job search.

Employees at the career center can give you individualized career advice. Let them know if you’ve been struggling with interview rejections. They can assist you in creating an individualized plan to get the internship of your dreams. The university administrator may see gaps in your coursework or experience that can help you down the road. Work with them to develop a new plan for the future!

Besides individual consultations, the career center can also help you with mock interview prep, cover letters, and more. Don’t count out their networking opportunities like career fairs and online job portals. These employers have opted in to specifically seek out graduates from your university.

If you haven’t already, absolutely attend these fairs and apply for these jobs online. You have a higher likelihood of connecting with a potential employer at one of these school-sponsored events!

Keep Applying

Once you’ve taken the time to collect yourself and put in some work, it’s time to move on to the next opportunity. You should feel ready to get back out there after all the work you’ve done. Even if you were rejected from what you thought was the ideal internship, there are other incredible opportunities out there. But you must put yourself out there.

You may need to apply to anywhere from 20 to 200 internships before you find the right fit. It may seem like a lot at first. But applying to many internships you’re interested in increases the likelihood of getting an interview.

Finding these particularly interesting internships is usually hard—which is why Simplify has built a 30-second solution to the issue! Take our matching quiz here, and get matched with 100+ roles—all tailored to you!

Don’t let the volume of your applications compromise quality, though. Remember what you learned about creating high-quality resumes and cover letters for the roles you’re interested in. Pair your resume with comprehensive interview research for the best results!

The good news is Simplify helps streamline the process of applying to dozens of internships. Use Simplify to autofill job applications and receive custom recommendations based on your internship interests.