It’s finally March and we’re all scrambling around attending fairs, applying to internships, and preparing for interviews. And unfortunately, that also means there’s a high chance of opening our inboxes to a rejection letter. It was around this time last year that I was in my feelings and thinking that my summer would suck because I haven’t received any offers or internships. It was January 10 when I first began my internship search. I went to the Career in Communication Fair, I found out I was accepted into the CJCxNYC program, and I felt that I was slowly making progress. I heard back from three different companies, had four interviews, and was rejected from all of them. At the time, it was a very low point for me and I felt hopeless because it was the end of April. I started working part-time at Zaxby’s and feared that I was stuck with this stressful job for the summer. But then unexpectedly, I received this amazing opportunity to intern at NY and the rest is history. If you asked me if I would go through that process again, I’d stare you down menacingly. But I have learned a few valuable lessons from all of my rejections. So this week, I want to share a few tips for how you can handle rejection and what you can learn from it.
1) Respond back to your recruiter immediately and graciously
This one seems a little obvious but honestly, I made this mistake when I was receiving those first few rejection emails. I thought that once a company rejected me, my chances were over. I thought that the company wasn’t interested and I didn’t want to flood my recruiter’s inbox with emails asking why I wasn’t accepted. But this is not the case! Responding back to your recruiter is professional. Doing this could also lead the recruiter to contact you if they end up changing their mind or if another opportunity, maybe even a better opportunity, comes along. And if you respond, try not to be bitter about it. It’s definitely easier said than done but again, you want to leave a positive impression of yourself with your recruiter. Thank them for their time and express your disappointment but share how you were still grateful for the opportunity. Your recruiter may even know someone else or have a friend from a different company that could employ you. So make sure you keep that line of communication open and positive.
2) Reflect on your Feelings and Process Them
Whether you received one or four rejection letters, really take the time to process those rejections and understand how they made you feel. If 10 rejection letters wouldn’t phase you then I applaud you. But when I would not take a moment to really reflect on my rejection and process it, I would become nervous about the upcoming interviews that I was having and my confidence would be shattered.
When I mean reflect and understand your rejection, I’m saying to really understand what you’re feeling, if that makes sense. Do you feel really upset that you were rejected or are you a little disappointed? Was this rejection from a role you really wanted or was it just a role that you didn’t care for? Do you think you were rejected because of something you said/didn’t say or were you truly not right for the role? I’m not saying to spend the next few weeks in a slump but truly feel your feelings and understand them.
Last week at our GMB with Ad Council, Tania Paul (one of our lovely ad council members) talked about her many rejections and how she reached out to her recruiters to understand what went wrong. Because of this, she was able to understand what she could have done better or if she truly was right for the role. I loved that she shared that because I thought you could risk annoying your recruiter. But I love that she shared this advice and encouraged students to do this so we could learn from our rejections and see what we could do better.
3) Share Your Feelings with a Close Friend
Rejection happens to everyone. Your friends and classmates are also interviewing constantly for internships and will most likely receive and few rejections themselves. And while it can be upsetting for both of you, it can be a great opportunity to talk to someone who knows what you’re feeling. And it’s also a great reminder that interviewing and receiving an internship offer can be hard. I haven’t met anyone who has had only one interview and then immediately received an offer the next day. But no shade to you if this has happened to you or someone you know. I’m just saying, from my experience, that’s not always the case.
I do wanna stress that you should share your rejection with a close friend or at least someone you trust that can offer you encouragement or some sort of comfort. While this may seem like something insignificant or unimportant, I have learned the hard way of sharing bad news with people who don’t know how to help or who just think you should “suck it up”. Sharing that news with the wrong person could leave you feeling worse. So, before spreading the news around, confide in someone that you know can offer a comforting shoulder.
4) Rebuild Your Confidence
You’ve processed your rejection, felt your feelings, and talked it over with a friend…Now it’s time to get back out there again! As I stated before, rejections happen to everyone! If you have another interview coming up, that’s proof that your window of opportunity has not closed. Being rejected does not define your worth, reflect your character, or show what you’re capable of achieving. It’s all about how you handle that rejection that will define your next move. Listen to some positive music, go for a walk/run, say some affirmations, and seek advice from a trusted friend or professor. Anything that you can think of to help put you in the right mood with a motivated mindset, do it! And know that even though that rejection may feel like the end of the world, it’s really not.
I hope you all are hanging in there during this season of applications and interviews. Know that most of us juniors and seniors in Ad Society have been through this process before. So if you’re new to applying for an advertising internship or new to applying to internships in general, reach out to me or your mentor and we’ll be more than willing to help. You’re not alone in this process.
Before ending this post, I wanted to share this amazing word of advice I came across on LinkedIn from someone who was also sharing her story of rejection. (Take a look below)
.We don’t have a GBM this week and next week is Spring Break! So enjoy yourself! Travel. Sleep. Catch up on assignments if you need to (I know I do). And as always, make sure you’re a part of our slack channel for any updates on announcements, events and upcoming opportunities.