Standpoint

An Open Letter to the Internship Providers Who Never Get Back to You

You probably don’t know who I am. Just another email cluttering up your inbox. Another student coming to you with desperate pleas to secure an internship. Another CV using Word’s oh-so-helpful templates. Another cover letter trying to convince you that my extra-curriculum activities somehow qualify me to work for you. Just another application, taxing your precious time and effort. Who cares if you supplied your email as a contact on your organisation’s careers page next to the gleaming box saying “Internship Applications Welcome”? Surely we know that it’s just a farce, that we can’t actually expect to be contacted back.

Well I’m not just another email. I’m a person. And I’m seriously pissed off.

Photo: Quartz

All this time, I’ve been willing to play your game. I’ve been willing to take on unpaid internships, selling my labour for that minimal addition to my CV and for that extra point to talk about in interviews. The job market is Darwinian out there, we all know that. As a result, I’ve been happy to work myself into the ground, to compromise a large portion of my sanity and self-respect scrounging off anyone who’ll let me work for you. But when I apply for an advertised position and you don’t even respond? That, my friend, is too much.

Applications take time and effort. Finding an organisation you want to work for is hard enough. Then there’s constructing the perfect cover letter, the questions and assessments that you so liberally give us. Add to that university work and some semblance of a social life and you have yourself one bloody busy student. And you, the recipient of all this labour, can’t even be bothered to respond? When you were the one who invited applications in the first place?

Photo: Money Inc

I wouldn’t even be phased if you didn’t think I was good enough, if I was missing that extra bit of experience that would secure me the luxury of giving up my work for free. There are plenty of good applicants and I’m certainly not so weak that I’d break at the hands of your rejection. Believe me, it’s happened many times before. But at least tell me. Let me know if I haven’t got the position so I can move on and apply for something else, safe in the knowledge that it was not meant to be. That would be the decent thing to do. It seems, however, that decency is so long-gone from your vocabulary that you wouldn’t know it even in the emails you did have the effort to read.

You may think you have the upper hand, dismissing the aspirations of students with your cold and callous silence. But to you, I say no more. Students are smart. We are ambitious. That CV you couldn’t be bothered to open may be a little empty now but, trust me, it won’t stay that way for long. And when we’re in your shoes, filtering through internship applications of students asking to work with us, you can be sure that we’ll respond to every last one, even to the rejects, with the sensitivity and respect that you so willingly chose to forego. Until then we’ll put up with you. But we certainly won’t forget.

Yours faithfully,

A seriously pissed off student

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