What I Learned From 60 Rejections From Design Studios
Rejection sucks. Especially lots of rejection. Whether it’s work, love, or wherever else, rejection means you put yourself out there — and someone said, no thanks, I’d rather not.
There’s no quicker way to make a person doubt their skills than to reject them. And it happened to me 60 times.
For designers, internships are a chance to get out of school for a summer and see what working in the industry is like. For real. This is the story of how, after 60 rejections, I got my internship with Futura in Monterrey, Mexico — and why it was worth every obstacle I had to get over.
To watch the video of me telling this story, check out my vlog:
Or keep on reading:
I used to fantasize about my summer internship.
I saw myself working in a different country with super-talented people doing amazing work. A glamorous life for a student, right?
In Israel, you usually you go for an internship at the end of your third year, just before your final year. For three years I was bookmarking studios around the world that I wanted to work with, waiting for the time I could apply. Applying for internships overseas is a complicated process, at least from Israel, because you usually have to be sponsored by your employer — which isn’t cheap. The internship process at my school was a contest, with one spot for the entire student body, and it wasn’t even at a cool company — so I had to do this on my own.
This is the actual email I wrote to the studios I wanted to join:
Hi! My name is Ran, I’m a 3rd year design student at Shenkar College in Tel Aviv, Israel.
I am looking for a summer internship (July-October) before my final year and would love to intern at XXXX.
I am truly passionate about design, and love the work you are doing, so I would love to have a chance to work and learn from you guys.
Attached is my portfolio/CV. It would be great if you would take a look and consider.
Thanks so much!
There’s also a cover letter attached in the portfolio that goes deeper into who I am and what I’m studying.
At this stage, my portfolio was school work mainly, so you can see some branding projects, magazine work, some print design, and at the end, take this course and at the end, the joke:
Try me now! At internship rate for a limited time only.
The email thread is bleak. When I when I first started the process, I was really passionate about working, but as I started sending emails and not getting the response I wanted, it got pretty depressing. The doc I worked with has a list of where I applied, their location, and how they responded; you can see there’s lots of no answers, fully booked, no place, no need, and otherwise unpleasant news.
The Big List
My list started with 30 studios, but after no positive news from any of them, I had to find more. It took guts and grit to keep going on, with the only feedback I was getting being, you’re not good enough, not here.
I kept applying and applying until I finally got two offers, one in The Netherlands and one in Mexico.
62 applications, two offers, and I chose to go to Mexico to work with Futura, an amazing studio that I loved. We worked out a deal, I got paid and took a small apartment next to the studio to start my adventure.
This was an amazing opportunity to learn a new language, get to work with amazingly talented people who were much better than me. It was hard and frustrating, I worked in a foreign language with people who were much better than me, which gave me the feeling that I wasn’t good enough — but now I can see that was growing pains, because I had to challenge myself to get to the next level.
The most valuable lesson I took from the internship experience came from the application process. I became a believer in the large numbers; if you haven’t succeeded yet, you haven’t tried enough times yet — and if after 30 times you haven’t succeeded yet, try another 32.
I succeeded after 60 times, but I hope that if it needed more tries, I would have kept going.
Basically, I learned to never give up.
Did you ever fail as many times as I did? Leave a comment below and let me know what happened…
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