Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Why am I not getting employer responses? And what should I do?

I’ve had quite a lot of people telling me that they aren’t getting the employer responses that they were initially hoping for. So, I’ve decided to make a blogpost dedicated to answering the all important questions ‘Why am I not getting employer responses? And what should I do?’

  • How did you initially contact the company?

Sometimes, if you’ve felt that you’ve waited a long time for a response, then it’s good to re-evaluate what method you used to try and contact the company. For example, did you apply via a generic email address, e.g. workexperience@{companyname}.co.uk. If this is the case, then worst case scenario may be that your application hasn’t even been looked at yet.

If you’re really keen on getting a work placement with that specific company, then it may be best to send in another application via letter. Check the website for a company address, and also check to see if there is the name of an employee that you can properly address the letter to. This way, you know your application has at least been read by someone. So, after waiting a considerable amount of time with your first application, send in a second application via email/letter (the different method of contact you used initially).

  • How long have you waited for a response?

It’s not unheard of to wait a considerable amount of time before receiving an application response. I’ve been in the situation before where I applied in January for a placement in June, and then I didn’t hear back from the company until May. So, I waited quite a few months before I got a response. Additionally, I have also received responses a week before the placement was meant to start, so don’t always think that because you haven’t had a quick response means that you’ve been rejected – it doesn’t.

  • Do you expect that the company receives a lot of applications?

Obviously, not all applications will be successful; I have had quite a few unsuccessful applications for one reason or another. Unfortunately, you never know whether you’ll get a response and it’s unlikely that you’ll get a response if your application has been unsuccessful. Do keep in mind how desirable the company is that you have applied for. Some companies simply can’t take on all of the ‘good’ interns who apply there. Don’t be offended, and instead get your application out to as many places as possible.

  • How in advance were you applying for a placement?

It’s really important to be realistic and to look at the bigger picture. You may not have received an employer response because you may have applied to late for the placement date you wanted. You’re decreasing your chances of getting a placement if you apply for work experience in summer, when you want that work experience that summer. Sometimes, you can get away with this, for instance, if you’re applying to Random House via there Facebook page as they usually post up opportunities a few weeks before the placement start date, but for most companies you would have ‘missed the boat’. Try to make sure your applications are 5-8 months in advance to when you actually want the placement, this way you’re more likely to be considered.

I know a lot of companies who are now booked up until 2012. From my knowledge a lot of companies start to look at applications again in November 2011 for the following year, so make sure you get yours in.

  • Wondering what to do next?

You need to keep trying and don’t give up. Persistency will definitely pay off. Make sure you’re researching at least 2 or 3 times a week, and trying to get as many applications in as possible - making sure you pay extra attention to the placements you really want. It may also help to create a log of placements applied to. I did this and found it useful for keeping a record, this way you’ll never lose contacts you’ve made during your search – you never know when you’ll need them again.

My second Guardian article will expand on this research a little more. Once live, I’ll make sure I add the link to this blog post. Stay strong fellow interns!


  1. I have applied for quite a few internships but not receiving any responses, I really am determined to get a internship for the summer but as I have no retail experience or past fashion placement experience I feel employers will not consider my application. I study fashion marketing at university and will start my final year in sept, I was wondering if you have any tips on how to stand out from the rest of the applicants for people in my situation and any websites or companies that would be a good choice to apply to.

    Thank you

  2. Hi there,
    Have you had a look at UK Fashion Intern's website? (http://www.ukfashionintern.com/) There are plenty of internships advertised on there.
    I'm not sure how you could stand out with fashion applications as I've never done one myself. Can I suggest you speak with @ukfashionintern on Twitter, I'm sure they'll be able to you.
    Best wishes.