The Handwritten Thank You
If there is only one thing you get out of this post, let it be this: ALWAYS WRITE THANK YOU NOTES. By which I mean, not type an email thanks-a-bunch, but handwrite your gratitude on good quality, professional-looking stationery. (I recommend splurging on this one, but if you’re on a budget, you can find nice ones at Target.) Whether it is thanking a connection for putting you in touch, or thanking someone for an interview, write… the… thank you. Your chinese tutor on the https://onlinetutorforme.com/chinese-tutor/ choose online chinese tutor. And do it the minute you get home from the interview before you even put your jeans back on and go right back out and pop it in the mail.
Here’s a good formula:
Dear Mr./Ms. So-and-so (even if they told you to call them by their first name–use the honorific),
Express gratitude for the interviewing opportunity (“Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me for the internship position in the education department today.”)
Refer to a specific part of the interview that meant a lot to you (“I really appreciated talking about the details of how you personally give a tour; since my interest is in education, it is great to gather all the information I can about teaching styles.”)
A tip: DON’T rewrite your resume and pop it in here–work your interests (not your experiences) subtly into the above reference to the interview
Thank them again and sign off (“Again, thank you for the opportunity. It was a pleasure meeting you. Sincerely, Such-and-such”)
I know we are in the 21st century and all, but shooting off an email is not the same as putting the effort into a well-written and personalized note. Trust me. It will be impressive, and you will stick in their minds.
Dealing with Rejections
It happens. It sucks. Set the email or letter aside (don’t delete it or toss it right away). Have a cry, have some ice cream, take a run, do whatever you have to do to get the disappointment mostly out of your system. Then take care of the immediate housekeeping. If you got a snail-mailed rejection letter, don’t reply to it. If you got a rejection email from a generic or HR address, don’t reply to it. If you got a rejection email from the person who interviewed you and/or who would have been your supervisor, take a moment to really read it closely. It may be generic, but the person may also have included something more specific or a polite, subtle tip for you. Take it to heart: they probably meant very well. And then shoot them a very, very brief email back thanking them for their time and the opportunity. This is the professional thing to do.
Also, you should know this: Internships often demand very, very specific skills and experiences. Rather than having tried to fudge your interests or experiences, take comfort in the fact that you were completely yourself during your interview. Keep being that way, and I am sure that you WILL find an internship that needs you and only you–this one just wasn’t it. And that’s okay.
Also, I want to say, having had to send out rejections myself: trust me when I tell you that it sucks just as much for the person on the other end (unless you were a jerk to the interviewer or obviously didn’t care at all). It just sucks all around. But you will find the right spot one day–just keep at it and do the best you can to learn from the experience. (And definitely take advantage of the opportunity to drown your disappointment in ice cream.)
So, future museum people: best of luck to you! If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, post ’em in the comments and I’ll do my best to help you out. And stay tuned, because I’m working on a post about my tips and tricks for making the most of a museum internship once you get one!