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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Opinion: No means next

Don’t let rejection letters get you down
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It’s summer internship application time! Charis Adkins encourages students to keep looking for opportunities and avoid discouragement with a simple phrase: “No means next.” (Graphic by Ethan Mattson/The Battalion)

It’s that time of year, Ags. For the past few months, we’ve been tinkering with our resumes, perfecting our interview responses and diligently applying to internship after internship as we try to find something to do during the impending summer.

If you’re like me, all that hard work has been repaid with a couple of “we regret to inform you” automated emails and a whole lotta nothing.

In a world in which most companies don’t even have the common courtesy to send you a rejection, it can be hard to keep your head up during the application season. The most important thing you can do is stay positive and keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Maybe you didn’t get that first-rate Boeing internship or you were passed over for that legal assistant position you’re overqualified for. In the event that something like this happens to you, I’d like to introduce you to a little phrase I learned last semester: “No means next.”

What does that mean? Basically, if you get a rejection from a company — or if you finally reach a point you’re pretty sure is too long to wait for good news — their “no” means it’s time to move on to the “next” opportunity.

Don’t run the risk of getting jaded. If you hang your self-worth on each company’s response, it’s easy to become discouraged. After 20 rejections, applying to that 21st internship can seem like a waste of time, especially if the application process is more in-depth than a quick online submission.

But that 21st internship could be the one that’s right for you. You never know which part of your resume will stand out to which hiring manager. At the end of the day, all you can do is apply. Depending on your beliefs, the rest is up to God, fate or Jimbo Fisher — in other words, out of your hands.

All that being said, it’s vitally important to make your application as strong as possible. For this, I’d like to remind you of some of our good ol’ Aggie resources.

First off: the Career Center. If you haven’t hit up their drop-in advising yet, this should be your first stop. From virtual resume feedback to one-on-one career advice, they’ll get you set on the right path. The reason you’re only getting rejections may not be from a lack of experience or skills — it could be that your resume doesn’t accurately reflect your credentials. The Career Center will help you take the first step to finding a summer internship.

Next, use the Aggie Network. From the Association of Former Students’ website, you can access the “Find an Aggie” tool, which allows you to search the alumni database by city, profession, company or just about anything else you can think of. If you can find a former student who works at your dream company, reach out to them and see whether they can give you any pointers for your application.

Better yet, find Aggies who work in your desired industry and shoot them an email to see whether their companies are offering summer internships or if they know of any who are. If it’s slim pickings and you’re in a position where you can afford to do an unpaid internship, offer your services as a free laborer. Who knows? Maybe they’ll let you shadow them for a few months.

If there’s one thing an Aggie Ring is good for, it’s finding allies across the country and, for that matter, the world. Aggies are here to help Aggies — let them help you.

Also, keep an eye out for unorthodox internship opportunities. Whether it’s working at a barn or teaching at a kids’ summer camp, these positions can be even more valuable than your average office job internship. They show that you’re up for anything — manual labor and/or wrangling children aren’t something your average cubicle goblin has on their resume, and this diversity can stand out in a sea of identical applications. More importantly, it can give you a perfect conversation starter for interviews, another way to distance yourself from the average one-pony-show applicant.

In short, use your resources and don’t let the constant stream of rejections get you down. Always look on the bright side of life and always remember, “no means next.”

Charis Adkins is an English junior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.

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