This Spring internship season (more than EVER before), we’ve heard some pretty terrible stories about how students have burned bridges with hiring managers. I want to share these stories so that you don’t fall into the same mess. Here are six ways students have burned bridges with hiring managers this internship season:
1. You are applying for internships that you don’t really have the time for. BEFORE you apply for internships, think about your workload. We know you want to do everything, we all have the superwoman complex. But how much can you really take on? Look at the hour requirements for the internship. Most will require at least 12 hours of your time each week. If you aren’t comfortable committing, don’t submit your resume.
2. You didn’t respond to the interview request. We all get it. You applied to 100 internships and now 10 of them want to interview you and you can’t accept all of them. Don’t disappear when an employer emails you, it’s a quick way to burn a bridge. If you don’t have the capacity to handle another interview or you’ve already accepted another position, kindly write them back, “Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for your note. I’m sorry to say I’ve already accepted another position. That being said, I’m very interested in future opportunities with your company and hope to stay in touch!”
3. You missed the interview. If you schedule an interview with an employer, you can’t miss it. Unless you have a family emergency, there is no good reason to miss an interview. Employers are extremely sensitive about their time. And if you do miss the interview, don’t assume a quick resked will happen – apologize your brains out and sincerely ask if it would be at all possible to reschedule.
4. If you move an interview around multiple times and then drop out? UGH. Please don’t allow this to happen. If you aren’t interested in the position, save the employer time on the front end, just politely decline the opportunity.
5. Don’t lie about family emergencies. Because of social media, we can see where you are and what you are doing (scary, right?) Just be honest and upfront with the employer from the start.
6. Try your hardest not to quit after going through internship training. Once the employer starts to train you, they’ve now invested a significant amount of their time in you and your learning/development. If you quit after the training, the employer is going to question why you wasted so much of their time.
For more internship tips, check out my internship book, ALL WORK, NO PAY.