My daughter starts a virtual internship this coming Monday.

Hold the applause.

She applied to thirty internships for this coming spring semester.

She got one interview.

30 resumes and cover letters and applications= 1 job interview

1 interview = 1 internship

Let’s think of all the reasons why my daughter was granted only one interview: the reasons why she was rejected outright for a job with any of the organizations she applied to.

  1. She’s a woman
  2. She’s white
  3. She’s short
  4. She has brown hair
  5. She is not thin
  6. She is not fat
  7. Her last name sounds Jewish
  8. Her father is Jewish
  9. Her mother is Catholic
  10. She doesn’t consider herself to be part of any religion
  11. Some of her ancestors are Eastern European
  12. Some of her ancestors are Mediterranean
  13. She was born in America
  14. She was born in New York
  15. She was born in New York City.
  16. She grew up in New York City
  17. She sounds like she’s from NYC
  18. She went to public school
  19. She went to an elite public high school
  20. Her college is too elite
  21. Her college is not quite elite enough
  22. Her resume is too narrowly focused
  23. Her resume isn’t narrowly focused enough
  24. Having a double major is a waste of time
  25. She’s not triple majoring
  26. She’s a history major
  27. She’s an American studies major
  28. She’s not a business major
  29. She’s not a computer science major (or whatever they call that nowadays)
  30. She has too many extracurriculars
  31. She doesn’t have enough extracurriculars
  32. Her GPA isn’t high enough
  33. Her GPA is too high
  34. She didn’t know anyone at the firms where she was applying

I could go on and on about why she did not get an interview.

Or

We could narrow it down to:

  1. There were candidates with better resumes
  2. There were candidates with better qualifications
  3. Even though she has tried her hardest, unfortunately, she just wasn’t good enough for these opportunities
  4. She was just not impressive enough to garner an interview

I have no doubt that there are people who have been unfairly treated in the job market. In fact, though I have no actual proof, I’d say it was a certainty. That is horrible and we should be doing everything we can to correct that so that every candidate has a fair shot at every job.

However…

Sometimes we have to accept that we are just not good enough…

Sometimes we have to stop blaming everything and everyone

Sometimes you have to look at yourself and see what you could do better…

Maybe these jobs just weren’t right for you, you might not be qualified, there might be better candidates…

But…you have to keep trying…

I have no doubt that my daughter would have sent out a hundred more resumes in hopes of scoring an internship…

Because you have to keep trying sometimes…

My daughter has begun her search for summer internships…and I have no doubt that there will be even more resumes sent with less interviews granted…

Because sometimes you have to be self aware and accept that you might not be the best, that there are others that are better than you, but that doesn’t take away from you as a person.

There can only be ONE best…

The rest of us are just strivers…

72 thoughts on “The blame goes to…

  1. Agreed, there will always be someone worse/better out there and I doubt that the covid fallout has helped. No doubt, new graduates will be competing against recent graduates and even those laid off during the various lockdowns too. Good luck to your daughter!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She has her eye on one summer internship that she absolutely loves and her resume is actually perfect for the position. Alas, it’s so highly coveted I don’t know if she has a shot. There will be kids from better schools with better grades and better experience. But you try anyway

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, you’ve got to encourage her to keep at it. I know, at that age, kids want it all and now and it can be a painful lesson to learn that the real world is not always so accommodating. As you know, perseverance and a positive outlook are just as important as the best grades 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe, she is meant for better things! Sometimes when we don’t get what we want, or maybe even think we want, something better comes our way and turns out great. Maybe this is the only interview she needs and the internship will be fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, I must tell you that having gotten to know your daughter, I am stunned that she got only one internship. So, I don’t say my response lightly. I say this as an educator who taught gifted and highly gifted students. Your daughter is amazing! She’s articulate, extremely intelligent, very mature and incredibly capable. She is a deep thinker and would be an asset to any organization. Now truth be told I am very discerning, so I am not trying to suck up to you I’m simply stating facts. And that is that I am stupefied that she didn’t have dozens of job offers to choose from.

    Quite honestly my first thought when I read your post was whoever did the hiring in these organizations had an agenda. I DO think certain organizations look for specific genders, specific other qualifications that may or may not exclude certain applicants. But I’m truly shocked because I got to know your daughter and I think she’s a very special young woman. .
    What I think is that the sheer numbers of applicants may have out weighed the number of job openings. I don’t think it has anything to do with your daughter.

    I also think the pandemic may have something to do with it. I say this because at the foundation where my son is the director, they always have a new intern every year. But, the pandemic changed things and their organization is doing a lot less this year because of this situation. Many Community programs they normally do have been cancelled or postponed. They are most likely not able to add an intern this year because things have significantly changed.. So I think many other organizations have changed considerably as well. Since it’s all virtual who knows what they now expect or want.
    BTW, I’ve noticed over the years at my son’s organization, his interns have been male, female, black, white, Tall, short,thin, large etc. So I doubt physical characteristics have anything to do with hiring in most cases. But businesses are hurting these days. So I think that affects hiring.

    As far as being the best…that’s all relative isn’t it? Whoever is hiring is looking for something specific. It’s not necessarily the best but sometimes fills a void the company or the person hiring needs. Think of it this way… if ten women audition for the part of Juliet and you’ve already cast your Romeo, then Juliet can’t be taller than he is. If he has blonde hair you don’t hire another blonde to work with him since you need contrast. If his voice is deep, you need a higher pitched Juliet opposite him. What I’m saying is that in some cases you pick someone because of who already is hired. It has nothing to do with the talented women you rejected. They ALL were good. You just needed someone to coordinate with who you already have. So it isn’t always about who is the best. But about who meets the specific needs of each situation or who will gel with their staff. Perhaps that may help your daughter understand that it’s not necessarily her. Think of how many times Ruth Bader Ginsburg was turned down. She was clearly the best. So sometimes the best still doesn’t get the job.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First off! Thank you! I always love to hear nice things about my daughter. And you’re so right in so many things. First off, even the best doesn’t always get hired. You never know what’s in a hiring managers mind. And you hit on a good point: what’s best for each organization can be vastly different. The trick is to find the niche that you’re the best in. But in the end, we have to learn that rejection is unfortunately a part of life. And that we will get rejected way more than we will be accepted, or win, or get the job etc. there are so many qualified people out there. They all deserve to get recognized for their ability, but, alas, life doesn’t always work that way. But we still need to figure out how to make opportunities for ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. Rejection hits us all at some time or another. Sometimes its unfair, sometimes it’s strictly bureaucratic, and other times certain people just are better matches for certain positions. It’s difficult for sure. Unfortunately, Most of us have gone through it. But, Luckily in today’s society it’s rarely for bigoted reasons. During my generation there was blatant sexism and racism. However, since that isn’t the case today there are double the amount of applicants. It’s very challenging for young people today. Especially during covid when organizations are losing money. All we can do for our children and grandchildren is try to encourage them to keep trying. To not doubt themselves, and to keep moving forward.
        Argh! It’s really tough for them and sometimes even tougher for us watching our kids having to learn to maneuver their way through life! The good thing is that you’ve raised a great daughter who will definitely succeed. Not everyone can say that. I know that doesn’t lessen the anguish right now but in the long run consider yourself lucky. This motherhood thing never stops does it? Oy! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The worst thing about parenting is watching your kids make mistakes. But seeing them persevere and earn things….well…that’s the best thing about parenting

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Chelsea. Nice to hear from you. BTW, I still have trouble responding to your blog. WP is very frustrating. Oftentimes I do read your posts and respond and either they won’t go through or seem to be sent to an alternate universe. I am wondering if WP has been taken over by aliens from another planet… lol Hope you and all your boys are doing well.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. :/ I’m so sorry, Lesley!! I used to at least find your comments in my SPAM. I’ll dive through there and look if you’re hiding.

        We’re all doing well. You can always e-mail, too. Our relative with pancreatic cancer passed away last Saturday.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Chelsea I am so very sorry to hear about your relative who passed. I know what a beast that disease is. My husband died of pancreatic cancer. May the sweet memories of this person be a blessing to your family.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Good Post. You always get me going. There is undoubtedly bias in the selection process, but the number of people competing for the same opportunity has completely gone bonzo. Now, It is international to make things even harder. Good point you’ve made at the end. I’ve experienced the same type of rejection submitting my books to agents and publishers. Only the top one half of one percent make it. Thank God for self-publishing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve never tried for an internship. I think interviewing in any capacity is stressful. Lately, I keep in mind my perspective from being on the other side of it: sometimes you are hiring because of circumstances the person applying simply doesn’t know about. I hope your daughter gets better results for the next application process.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, I started reading this post and was appalled, but I have learned to keep reading and was happy to see you and your daughter were not using those excuses. You are right, if there is only one position to be filled then all those applying can’t all get it. There has to be a process and hopefully the best person gets it. You will never know the vetting process, but as far as internships and jobs go, you just have to keep on keeping on. My son always asks in and interview (at the end), if I were not to get this job what would be the reason. It gives him something to go on, to improve as well as to show the interviewer that he is willing to take constructive advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You wrote: “The rest of us are just strivers…”
    That’s key! Striving is the place to be! Striving to do your personal best is infinitely better that striving to be better than everyone else.
    But what do I know…? 😘

    Like

    1. There’s definitely a luck component. Like, would you want your resume to be the first one the hiring manager read after a trip to the dentist or fight with partner?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely could relate to what your daughter is going through with 30 applications and one interview. I don’t think that is a bad return at all. Pretty good odds. My daughter was laid off from her career job in May and has applied to hundreds and hundreds of jobs and has gotten only a few interviews. She’s applying to entry level jobs, since she only has one year’s experience. She’s competing with unemployed people with ten years experience who will gladly take any job. She’s even applied to grocery stores and Target to be a cashier — and no luck there either. She had a final interview with a startup yesterday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I think your daughter is very fortunate to get the interview and the internship!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m a big believer in fail early and fail often. Of course it hurts their ego, but confidence is still believing in yourself. A few years ago I wrote a blog I think it was failure is an option and it talked about my daughter getting rejected from the middle school she wanted (in nyc we apply to public schools) and how at 10 she was ready to throw in the towel. The parenting goal is to get them to appreciate their worth without being cocky

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Your daughter has an entire career ahead of her that will be full of inexplicable promotions.. best thing to do is not take any of it personally but just realize the “game” always includes cards under the table as well as cards on it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So many people are looking for work now that I imagine many of the places she applied to got a thousand applications or more. I think it’s an amazing achievement to have been offered the internship with only 30 applications!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so too. But I think about the kids that would give up. Or blame inconsequential things. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But sometimes I wonder if we forget that

      Liked by 1 person

  11. All good comments, I’ll add a quickie, simplistic but all too common problem inherent in the current job app system – getting past the “Artificial Intelligence Gatekeepers”.
    She’s off to a good start with the one job offer!!!!
    All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sending my very best wishes to your daughter for the very best and best fit internship. I loved was Lesley had to say. I think she’s spot on – often there are so many applying and organizations are looking for something that may not be a good fit for a particular candidate, not because they aren’t the “best” but because of what they are looking for specifically. At any rate, I wish her all the best of luck and good fortune.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There are two things which I have noticed as factors which seem to help young people get on in life – their parents have the right contacts and they are not afraid to exaggerate. However, there comes a time in life when this is not enough, and at that point the honest hardworking kids get their chance. As I said a few days ago – persistence is important, and it can be learnt.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. While we can’t blame everything on the pandemic, I do think the job situation is a indirect consequence of it. The thing to focus on is that she DID get an internship and that she has the kind of determination that will take her far. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sometimes, lets be real, people do get internships and interviews because of some factors (including a few of the ones you listed) and no, I was not appalled… but what she or he brings to the ring is determined only by the person in the job. I wish her the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I have no doubt that is true, the person who blames something or someone for not getting a job is never going to be a success at anything. It’s easy to blame things on someone else. It’s hard to be self aware. The person who is self aware and tries to do better is always a success

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Not looking to play the blame game, but many organizations filter applications with computer programs, or with HR Staff, looking for key words in the resume or cover letter. If those words aren’t there, your application goes in the waste bin. Other times, HR or other reviewers are just too rigid. If you don’t have 5 years experience doing Z, your application goes in the waste bin. But they missed the fact that you have 10 years of experience in a transferable skill. For perspective, when I left my last position, I applied for at least 150 positions. I adapted my resume to fit each employer’s requirements. I never heard back on 145 of these applications. Nothing. I was called for an interview by 3 of these employers, and I did not get any of the jobs. If anything, I was over qualified. I will blame age discrimination 🙂 Applications for attorney positions require a lot of work – you have to provide writing samples in addition to written recommendations, etc, etc, etc. On the other side of the coin, I was once part of a review team on applications for a position where I worked. In today’s economy, we received some 600 to 700 applications for a job to answer the phone. Consequently, in order to review all of the apps timely, we were actually looking for reasons to weed out applications instead of looking for qualifications to do the job. One misspelled word and the application went to the waste bind. It was a quick skim of each app to weed them down to ten to review, and there were five of us on the review team, so we each recommended ten to drop that total number of 700 to 50. Then we repeated with those 50 to whittle the number down to 10 for interviews. Wow! Not a fair process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But what would a fair process be? Think of college acceptance too. At some point you need to weed people out. You’re right. It’s not fair. But is anything in life fair? Fair is an illusion we cling to when we want things to go our way. This is where self confidence and resilience comes in. I don’t think we are doing our job as parents (universal we…not just you and I) if we don’t teach our kids to pick themselves up after they fall. We need to stop coming up with excuses and using bandaids and instead teach our kids how to survive while also being good humans. But yes. Totally understand what you’re saying

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, we need to teach survival techniques. And that includes acceptance of not getting the job, or whatever it was that we were after. It does help to teach them the “tricks” of these processes so they may even the odds. I also recognize that these processes are not “fair” to the employer. Sure they need a way to weed out, but they often pass over the best candidate that could have really been an asset for the organization. I think it’s ok to understand “reasons” not make “excuses” for certain outcomes. And I want to foster a strong self-esteem in my daughter so she can weather all of the storms. 🙂 Being a good human – now that’s a goal we can all pursue continually 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I believe there is always a place for an individual, and it’s incumbent on that person to find this place. Nobody and nothing will find it for you. In life, you’ll get rejections and some of us will even be fired. You’ll be discouraged from doing something, you might even be ignored when you do it. You’ll be criticized and you might not get the praise you were looking for when you achieve something. Failing or coming up short is a result, it’s not a definition.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. They might not have seen her resume. If they get 100+ resumes, they start from the beginning. If they get a pool from the first 30… they STOP and start interviewing. If they find a candidate in that pool, no need to keep reviewing resumes. It’s not always about “not good enough,” I think it is about timing in the pool of resumes. Not easy, can’t let it hurt the ego. The more out there, the better the chances. Sorry, she has to go through this, but as book writers, the process is the same. Rejection almost becomes a bragging right. Got to look at the funny side of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh to be abundantly clear. My daughter knows this and is completely aware of the process, and knows that rejection is not the end of the world. But how about all those other kids that aren’t? People think because they don’t get something, someone is to blame. This is all about accepting that you might not get something for no other reason than you weren’t the right fit. We have become a society who blames others every time something doesn’t go their way…

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Exactly….sometimes the trick to being happy is to always do your best and learn to be happy with what that brings you. Sometimes there are reasons we can’t control for why we don’t get what we want. And one of those reasons could always be simply that our best wasn’t quite good enough.
    As a writer, I had to always bear in mind that rejection didn’t automatically mean that my writing wasn’t good enough to be publishes, as there are other factors that come into play. But I also had to bear in mind that maybe I needed to make my writing better.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. My youngest was rejected by 15 med schools first time she applied. Second time she was more realistic re the places she applied and finally got accepted. Both times neither of us knows why the outcome was what it was, though she did get some coaching before the second round.
    Eldest is in a less competitive field so has not had as much difficulty either education or career-wise. Her most recent job wasn’t really what she wanted since most of the work wasn’t in her field but when she was hired they’d held out a carrot where she could get promoted to her manager’s position which would allow her to do more of what she loves and less of what she doesn’t. Even then, she’s had to do a lot of things she didn’t particularly enjoy knowing all the while that the carrot might not really happen. Imagine then our happy surprise when it did just this week and, at least on the face of it salary-wise it turned out be better than any of us had hoped. Ya just never know how, when or why anything happens if/when it does. BTW her field is archaeology and she will be the new Archivist at Kellogg’s come 3/1.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Congrats! Awesome job!! My daughter applied to I think 18 colleges….got into slightly less than half. I totally get it. Competition is fierce

      Like

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