It’s a bleak reality, but the fact of the matter is that not every young professional is going to nab the internship of their choice. While more than 97% of employers planned to hire interns or co-ops in 2014, there will always be competition. Even if you’re more than qualified, someone may still edge you out or have an additional skill the employer finds valuable.
If you didn’t land the internship of your dreams, don’t freak out just yet. Looking at your situation as an opportunity can be the difference between finding your next job and not getting one at all. If you didn’t land the internship, take these steps immediately:
1. Follow up with the hiring manager
Not landing your ideal internship may seem like the end of the world, but it may actually be a blessing in disguise. There’s a reason why you didn’t get the job – and the only way to understand what you’re missing is to follow up with the hiring manager. While this may seem intimidating, it can actually be an eye-opener.
Here are some basic steps to take: Thank the hiring manager for giving you the opportunity. Then, ask for some insight into why you didn’t land the internship. More often than not, it will have to do with your skills, educational experience, or accomplishments. At a minimum, you’ll start a dialogue with an influential member of the organization, which can work out in your favor.
2. Revamp your application materials
Once you know what you may be missing, it’s time to revamp your application materials. For example, if the hiring manager believed you didn’t have enough relevant experience, be sure to highlight your key accomplishments in your cover letter and resume. In addition, using qualitative measurements, such as percentages, can help hiring managers see your actual contribution to a previous organization.
Keep this in mind, as well: Hiring leaders may only spend six seconds reviewing a resume. In addition to great content, a well-designed resume and cover letter that house links to your social platforms or portfolio may coax them to stick around a little longer.
3. Apply to different departments
Let’s say the hiring manager was impressed by your work history, but decided to go with a different candidate. Why not apply to a different department within the organization? With a new resume and cover letter under your wing, you may have an increased shot at landing the internship. Plus, since you’ve already impressed the hiring manager, you could be first in line for another opening.
Applying to different departments doesn’t mean moving away from what you know. It means taking advantage of your valuable transferable skills. For instance, if your niche is advertising, applying for a marketing internship isn’t too far from your expertise. Plus, a marketing internship can provide you with experience and skills development that you may not have had otherwise.
4. Look into alternative employment opportunities
Believe it or not, there are alternative career opportunities to an internship. For instance, check out flexible work opportunities, including contracted positions or freelancing. While these alternatives may not match your definition of an internship, they can be just as beneficial to your professional development.
Think of it this way: An internship is meant to provide you with relevant work experience and build your resume in the process. If you have a mentor and are gaining real-work experiences, alternative employment opportunities can be as good as a formal internship.
If you didn’t land your dream internship, it’s not the end of the road. Take the time to reevaluate your options and move forward with a plan in mind.
What do you think? What are some other steps to take if you didn’t land your dream internship?
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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