I’m sure many of us are anxiously awaiting to hear back about internships or jobs for the summer. Some are still applying for opportunities as more postings appear online. If you’ve already secured a position for the summer, congratulations! However, for the many who haven’t yet, just know that the end result is not a reflection of how smart or competent you are, even if you are rejected or don’t hear back from potential employers.
Firstly, no matter how smart or accomplished you might be, if your resume or cover letter doesn’t have the keywords that the hiring system—oftentimes an algorithmic computer software—is looking for, your application will be discarded. Finding an internship or job is difficult, so yes, of course you should engage in resources that could possibly better your application. At Case Western Reserve University, that’s the Office of Post-Graduate Planning and Experiential Education, where they have adequate resources to help students with internship and job applications. Resources include the Career Lab and mock interview prep. However, you can do everything you possibly can to make yourself the most appealing applicant and still be rejected.
Applying to dozens of places without receiving a single interview is disheartening. It can make you feel inferior, even though that is absolutely not true. Sometimes, that can be hard to accept, especially when there are several people around you talking about their concrete future plans. It can also feel worthless to pursue these experiences when we are already burnt out from schoolwork and extracurriculars—we are left questioning the value of continuing to sacrifice our mental (or even physical) health for additional work. It truly may not be worth becoming burnt out and unhappy in the pursuit of the ideal of success.
However, also know that if you do end up with a less-than-ideal internship, it still gives you experience. Furthermore, when you find employment after graduation, it’s alright if you don’t immediately land your dream job. You can always apply to more places until you eventually get to where you want to be. If you end up content with your job, even if it’s not the one that is expected of you, that’s also okay too. All of these pathways are okay as long as you are happy with it.
Even though the CWRU environment pushes us to think we need a prestigious internship to end up with a prestigious job, that’s not what defines us as a person. Sure, you should follow your passions, but that doesn’t mean you should be distraught over not working at the most high-paying or distinguished company. As cliche as it sounds, all that really matters is if you are happy and healthy, no matter the internship or job.