Don’t Take No for an Answer


In our new series, ‘The Intern Experience’, we ask our interns to share what they’ve learned, what surprised and excited them, and even what frustrated them during their internship here at Edenspiekermann. Jelko Arnds kicks off with how a no got him the internship anyway.

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!

__Illustration by Quendoline Jansen.__