When your internship ends and you find yourself in the “no job offer” after interning category, it’s a major disappointment.
You may even start to doubt your worth. There can be many reasons the company didn’t offer you a permanent position. None of it is personal, but it’s hard not to take it that way.
Instead of blaming yourself or throwing a pity party for not getting hired full time, turn this into a positive learning experience. It will get you moving on faster and set you up to win the next time.
Here’s how to recover from a no job offer bummer:
1. Put things in perspective
Were you secretly expecting an offer? With internships, there’s never a guarantee of a full time job. If you were thinking it would lead to an offer even if that was not said up front, you will still feel very disappointed if it doesn’t.
Sure, your hopes are deflated, but be very proud of yourself for taking the first steps in your career. Remember, this is not a failure.
Don’t dwell on the what-ifs; instead take a moment to reflect on everything that you learned and experienced. Focus on the next opportunity and start planning for it.
2. Take inventory on the value of your experience
The main purpose of an internship is to gain valuable experience, and you have.
Take inventory of:
- New skills you learned
- Your newly discovered strengths
- Contribution you made
- Real-world experience you gained
- Cool people you met
- Networking connections you made
- How far you came
All these things will help boost your feelings and your resume. So, really, whether you got a job out of your internship or not, you can and should count it as a win.
3. Consider that not getting an offer may be for the best
It may be hard to see right now, but not getting a job offer may just be a blessing in disguise. Now you have the freedom to consider other promising opportunities.
Think for a moment if you had been offered a position.
- Would you have felt pressure to accept it out of loyalty or desperation?
- Would you have even taken a moment to consider whether or not the position was actually the right career move for you (right now)?
- Did you even really enjoy working for the company, or were you already picturing starting your career someplace else?
4. Ask for a recommendation
If you didn’t get a job offer but know that you did a fantastic job while in your internship position, ask for letters of recommendation and referrals from your supervisors and colleagues.
Also, this is a great time to ask for some career advice.
They will respect you for asking and are usually willing to offer advice, help or recommendations to help you better lay a path toward your career goals.
5. Stay on their radar
You never know when a new opportunity may come up. Other openings crop up, and persistence can really pay off.
Keep in touch with those who helped you during your internship. Don’t be a stalker, but occasional touch points like sending an article or book you think they’d like, inviting them to a business event or wishing them a happy birthday will keep you on their radar when a new opportunity or introduction comes up. Connect on LinkedIn, and comment on their posts or send a message if there is company news.
6. Plan your next career move
Examine all that you’ve gained from your internship, and leverage it into something even greater. Growth is always the goal. Never look at this as a setback. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to re-examine what you want, get organized, lay the foundation, and go for it!
- Write down 3-4 stories that showed how you stepped up while interning
- Note any new skills you learned
- Jot down results of what you did, like landing new business, getting a grant or other benefits to the company.
Not only will it make you feel better, but you are now ready with real experience for your next job interview.
6. Practice gratitude
It is hard to be thankful when you feel down, but this is the best time to show it. Take the time to thank all of those who you met and who helped you during your time as an intern. Send thank you cards (or emails), mention that you’d like to stay in touch‑and then do. This simple, personal touch will make a long-lasting impression.
7. Don’t sit around sulking, waiting for a job to fall into your lap
So, your internship didn’t end in a job offer. So what? You’ve just gained the perfect opportunity (and learning experience) to delve even deeper into what is that you ultimately want and find new strategies to make it happen.
Take advantage of this time. Volunteer somewhere. You never know who you might meet who shares your interests!
Take a walk in a forest, mountain or the ocean and remember, something even better may just be around the corner.