How to Handle Internship and Job Rejections

It’s that time of year again when everyone is applying for summer jobs or full-time jobs for post-graduation. You’re spending tons of time researching companies, writing the perfect cover letters, updating your resume, and curating your portfolio. Not to mention putting together all the other items that applications might ask for, like obscure essay questions or personal videos.

You might get some interviews here and there, but internship and job applications come with many rejections. Handling rejection is difficult on it’s own, but it’s much harder on top of school stress and seeing others around you securing their jobs. Learning how to cope with rejection in a professional setting is a challenge, but it’s an important skill to work on.

When people around you are securing jobs, it may appear that everyone has it figured out except for you. It seems like every time you open LinkedIn there’s a new post about someone’s new internship or job. But you have to constantly remind yourself that that’s not true. Think about everyone you know—everyone in your classes, all of your friends, people you knew in high school. When you think about how many people are in the same position, you realize that most don’t have it all figured out. Even the people who already have a position secured probably dealt with lots of rejection on the way.

Being rejected is not necessarily a reflection on you or your abilities. Just because you may not be right for one company doesn’t mean that no company will want you. Every one of them has different skills and personalities that they’re looking for to fit the job and culture. Two companies can have the same position available and be looking for completely different things from their applicants.

That said, job application tools like writing cover letters or interviewing are skills in themselves that take practice. If you feel like your interview didn’t go that well, that’s okay. Take that opportunity to improve for next time. If you’re questioning the organization of your cover letter after submitting an application, that’s ok, make changes for the next one. Learning the skills needed for your job is a learning process, but so is learning how to best sell yourself in a job application. Take each application and rejection as an opportunity to learn and improve.

If for some reason you don’t end up getting an internship for the summer or a job right after graduation, that doesn’t mean your career is doomed. Plenty of people don’t have a perfectly linear path throughout their career. Just because you lifeguard for the summer instead of interning doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a full-time job later. Just because your first job isn’t in your intended field doesn’t mean you’ll never get into that field. All work experiences are learning experiences. You’ll gain important skills in whatever job you end up doing that’ll help you in your next one.


Remember that you are talented and smart and capable. Everything will work out in the end, even if the path to get there isn’t the easiest. On the way, take each rejection and opportunity as a learning experience, and look forward to what lies ahead.


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