Don’t Take No for an Answer

For the past 5 months I’ve had the pleasure of working at Edenspiekermann in Amsterdam. Looking back on my internship and the excitement leading up to it, I have a fews things to share, so let’s get started!

The Decision

It was sheer coincidence that I even started looking for an internship in the first place. It was summer 2015 and most of my studies (in Digital Media) were done. I was looking for something abroad and a course specializing in UX design showed up on my radar, starting next summer.

I had one semester to spare and didn’t know what to do with the six months. I almost settled on doing nothing, or staying in my city to do some freelance work, but then I decided to use the time for something awesome instead! So I looked for an internship. First stop, and whoop, there it was: perfect job, perfect timing, perfect city.

The No

I was already familiar with Edenspiekermann, and had admired the studio for a long time. The agency has quite a legacy in Germany, and was definitely a name to aim for. But actually, the name seemed almost too big to go after. After thinking about it for a bit, I started work on my application. I eventually — and if you’re a young designer you know what I mean — made my portfolio website and wrote a fancy application letter. I was both nervous and excited to hand it in.

After two weeks of waiting, the moment of truth finally came. It was a nice summer evening and I was with friends at the lake. And then: I got a no.

I was expecting a response to my application and had been checking my phone constantly. (You’re right, that’s not how to do it.) I was devastated. I had no plan B, and plan A just vanished into thin air. This sucked!

The Feedback

I didn’t know what to do, or if I should even try to apply elsewhere. Then I stumbled upon a motivating article online, which suggested using a rejection as a way to improve and learn. So that’s what happened. I replied, thanking them for considering my application, and, more importantly, asking for feedback on how I could improve and be a better candidate next time. Honestly, I didn’t expect a reply. Why would anybody spend time on someone who hadn’t made the cut?

But actually, exactly the opposite happened: I got a reply, and it was pretty detailed. Somebody took the time to re-review my application and give notes on what would make me a stronger candidate in the future. I was blown away. (Thanks Boyd!) It was really helpful, and at the time, I felt it had been worth applying just to get this feedback.

The Offer

But then, a few days later, the big surprise came. I got a call to say that I was being considered as an applicant again, and to ask if I would be interested in coming in for an interview with the interaction designers. In the call they explained that, having reviewed my application and talked to me further, they saw a lot of potential that maybe I hadn’t conveyed when I initially applied.

Fast forward, and the interview went alright. I got yet another call, and the offer to take the internship. What a ride! The experience was worth it already, and the internship hadn’t even started.

So, to all future interns: always make sure your first impression rocks by having a killer application that stands out and reflects your personality. And, if you’re determined enough, just take a chance and ask for feedback. That doesn’t mean it’ll get you a yes too, but it will be definitely rewarding in another way.

Give it a try and go for it!

originally published at on October 9th 2016