You’ve been marking down the days until you start your internship at Company of Your Dreams, Inc., even though you haven’t gotten the internship yet. You know your competition for the internship has been fierce. But you have faith you wowed the employers in your interview and you know your credentials are second to none.
Then one day, it happens. While you’re screenprinting a T-shirt with the company logo, you get a call. Your palms sweat as you pick up the phone. This is the moment you nab the internship and get your foot in the door. You’re so ready to hear the good news you almost don’t hear what the person is actually saying.
Your heart drops into your stomach when you realize you didn’t get your dream internship. But could missing out on your ideal position actually a blessing in disguise? Here are a few reasons why your internship bad news is good news for your career:
It forces you outside your comfort zone
You’ve had a plan in place to intern at a certain company or take on a certain position, so the internship falling through can feel like the end of the world. But it might be the beginning of your career.
Often our best moments happen when we step outside our comfort zone and experience something new. You might have thought a position at Company of Your Dreams, Inc. was the only way to reach your career goals, but your true calling could reside elsewhere.
You can discover a different path
Perhaps one of the best side effects of missing out on your dream internship is the ability to walk a different path. You might have been single-mindedly pursuing one company or position without thinking about everything your industry has to offer. Since you missed out on your dream internship, now’s the time to see what else is out there.
Take this opportunity to look outside of the box you’ve created for yourself and your professional goals. Ask yourself what else you can do with your skill set and find an internship you hadn’t considered before.
For instance, if your newspaper internship fell through, you can put your writing skills to the test for a marketing company. If your coding internship at an established, brand name company didn’t deliver, you can take on more responsibility working for a startup. If you’re so focused on one career path, you might be missing out on your actual calling.
You might succeed and thrive in this new internship, or you might hate every minute. Either way, you’ll learn something important about the industry and what you truly want to do when you turn the tassel on your graduation cap.
It motivates you to do better
What do you do after you hang up the phone from the heartbreaking conversation with your dream company? It’s time to take a good, hard look at why you missed out on the internship. Was it your interviewing skills? Was your resume a little sparse?
When you get turned down for the internship, take a second to politely ask the internship coordinator what you can improve for next time. Listen to the feedback without being defensive and work to address the issues.
For example, if you don’t have enough industry experience, join an industry-related group at your school or volunteer your time and efforts to make a difference. This will show future employers and internship coordinators how passionate you are about the field and how self-motivated you are to succeed.
If your interviewing skills weren’t up to snuff, you can spend time at your school’s career center working on interviewing skills. You can also record yourself to see what you’re doing wrong, hire a career coach or ask friends and family to help. The recording might uncover an unconscious nervous tick or how often you use the word “like” while speaking.
Every disappointment is an opportunity in disguise. (Click here to tweet this thought.) It could be an opportunity to break out of the professional box you’ve made for yourself, an opportunity to walk down new paths or an opportunity for self-improvement.
Not getting the internship at your dream company can feel like the end of the world, but it might be the beginning of your career.
What do you think? How do you turn disappointment into opportunity? Share in the comments!
Ashley Mosley is the Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.