Off-Third: Student excited at internship rejection: ‘I got a reply!’

Applying to one company in your job search is just not enough. Beware of the eight-letter word!

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Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Many students feel in limbo during the internship process. (Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Shaina Vora, Contributing Writer

G-H-O-S-T-I-N-G.

For the past few months, almost every NYU student I know has participated in the rat race of sending out job and internship applications in bulk. 

Note, I say “in bulk” because — after all — which student in their right mind would expect that hours spent on company research, a perfectly written cover letter, a curated list of relevant experience, a personal history questionnaire and sometimes even a portfolio of previous work would translate into the magnanimous gesture of a response? 

So, to all you worried-sick students who incessantly scroll through LinkedIn at clubs, have more connections than friends and attend networking events for professional development instead of free food, all in the hope of one job in your field at the end of all this… guess what — it’s not just you! 

If my months of experience in the painstaking job application process and the multitude of LinkedIn posts about the reality of the job-search process have taught me anything, it is that the fair hiring process is not so fair. Its participants universally engage in the venomous act of ghosting and are the real culprits behind silent rejections!

I was not surprised to see Indeed Magazine’s snappy headline, “Do This to Prevent Being Ghosted after a Job Interview,” which was crammed with lengthy bulleted lists of how to prevent the inevitable. Then there was “5 Ways to Cope with Ghosting during a Job Search” with tips like “scream into a pillow” or “hug yourself” and even yelling that this rejection is “0% related to you”.

A new study by Indeed confirms that employers’ ghosting of applicants hit crisis levels since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago. The survey found that 77% of job seekers have been ghosted by an employer since the onset of COVID-19, with 10% saying that an employer has ghosted them even after making a verbal job offer. After reading this, who could ever believe that hiring managers were human beings, rather than hellish demons that seek to destroy our professional dreams. 

I only realized the depth of ghosting’s effect on me when I opened my inbox one Monday afternoon and found myself smiling away at a rejection email. 

A friend sitting across the table asked, “What happened, did you get the internship?” 

With large, bright eyes, I answered, “No, but I got a reply!”

The joy of not being ghosted by an employer — I would call it the ultimate bliss! So I sat calmly and updated my massive Excel spreadsheet aptly titled, “Internship Application Tracker.” 

Don’t take it lightly. It is color-coded, divided and subdivided into six sections: organization, post, application link, application deadline, pay (if any) and status. The last column is often full of “waiting to hear back.” 

(No, I don’t label it ghosted. Believe it or not, self-esteem is a real concept!)

Dear employers, I still believe that responding is the bare minimum, whether it be a “no,” a “yes, you’ve been accepted” or an automated “you will receive a response within 48-72 hours.” 

Today, even under the cloak of rewarding strong work ethics and alleged equality of opportunity, the yellowed-eyed monster, “ghosting,” lurks. So, applicants, I urge you to draft each email with punctilious language and utmost concern — maybe perfection will guarantee us a well-communicated and dignified rejection.

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column. Views expressed in Off-Third do not necessarily reflect those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. 

Contact Shaina Vora at [email protected]