The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Single White Unemployed Female: Struggles in Finding An Internship Aren't Necessarily in Vain

2 min read


“Ms. So and So:
I write to you today because I’m interested in your internship program for next semester.”

A version of this sentence begins all the cover letters I’ve sent out this year. Over the last ten months, I’ve been immersed in the world of references and relevant experience in order to get an internship.

It began over the spring semester, when I revised and tightened my resume. I learned it was better to “hone interpersonal communication” than to simply “work on projects with other employees,” and that employers already knew that keeping minutes was a part of my job duties as Mason Hall Council Secretary.

I applied to a few places for the fall semester, most notably National Public Radio. When you visit their website, the following disclaimer follows the description of the application procedure. Due to the large volume of applications, we are unable to notify applicants who are not selected for internships. Needless to say, other than an automated response after sending my application, I never heard another word from NPR.

I also applied to an opera company in D.C., and was ecstatic to get an in-person interview with the director of publicity. I didn’t land an interview my sophomore year, so this meant that the numerous revisions of my resume had paid off. I felt confident that I was going to be in Foggy Bottom twice a week next semester, publicizing Puccini and Verdi.

A week after the interview, I didn’t get the response I was hoping for. I cried—no, I bawled about as much as the first time I visited Santa. The director of Public Relations and I had gotten along so well during the interview. What happened?

I later learned they found someone willing to work 40 hours a week, compared to the 16 I had offered. I was lucky and found a fall internship at a local radio station, but I was determined to be in D.C. next semester.

I went crazy. I called radio and T.V. stations, performance venues, and newspapers, and ended up applying to a few places, including the same opera company. After being rejected for the third time, I realized it was their loss. For years I thought I was destined to intern this one place, but I now realize things happen for a reason, and from those events come unexpected opportunities.

Mine came from a craft fair in Adams Morgan, where I had hoped to find some posters. I instead left with the idea to apply for an internship with the newspaper sponsoring the fair. I am now getting college credit for helping them market and publicize these kinds of events.

After I met rejection with tears, I followed it with more resumes to places that wanted me. In the end, I ended up where I think I should be. Plus, I’m kind of tired of Puccini and Verdi.