An internship is considered a very valuable step in kicking off your career in the right direction. Under the right guidance, one can learn from industry leaders and receive constructive monitoring and feedback to further enhance knowledge and skills. In addition, an internship is a great avenue where one can learn industry fundamentals that are not usually discussed within the four walls of the classroom.
All of these perks make an internship worth going after. It is a great way to fully immerse yourself in the industry before jumping into the real world of your profession. However, the current coronavirus pandemic has made it challenging for students to find suitable professional and on-site internships as the government-imposed social-distancing measures and new health protocols forced many businesses to shut down or limit hiring.
Due to the cancellations of many traditional and on-site internships, thousands of college students are now left with rescinded or canceled offers and are unclear on which direction to take. If you are one of the many whose internship was canceled but still on the look-out for ways to get a remote internship during this pandemic, read on as we discuss non-traditional but effective ways to land one.
How Coronavirus Has Impacted Internships
The economic impact of this global health crisis is so widespread that in the US alone, 36.6 million citizens filed for unemployment claims last May. With so many paid workers being laid off from work, internship programs also took a blow with most of the offers being canceled or rescinded. Businesses in retail, marketing, and financial industries took a huge blow and overall growth has slowed, if not halted, for many of them.
But the question we should be really focusing on is this: Are they still hiring college students for internships?
To cope and survive an economic upheaval, many businesses have adapted and innovated their processes to continue operations. Major players like Ford are now able to continue providing internships by going remote, the same direction that Google took. This shift is great news for internship candidates as this means opportunities are still out there despite the global health and economic crisis, but only if one knows where to look.
Why College Students Should Pursue Remote Internships
Despite the less traditional experience, virtual internships can still provide candidates with the following:
- The opportunity to learn professional skills
- Build a healthy professional network
- The ability to work and learn from home
- Gain much-needed industry experience
Preparing for a Virtual College Internship
Very much like a traditional internship, you still need to do some preparations to ensure that you are ready as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Below is a list of crucial items that need to be prepared in advance.
Comprehensive resume and tailored cover letter – Make sure your resume showcases relevant educational background, training, and skills. Also prepare a one-page tailored cover letter for the position that you are applying for. Check out our Resource Library for resume and cover letter guides and videos.
Tools and software– Since everything will have to be done online, make sure that you have your equipment and tools ready. It would be best to have the apps commonly used in job interviews like Zoom, Meet, and Skype already downloaded and registered because you would want to be ready for when they start rolling out and scheduling virtual interviews and meetings. Check out the UNT Career Center’s Tech Check resource guide or our Quick Chat hours for live support!
Where to Find Internships in the Middle a Global Coronavirus Pandemic
Although the business world may seem bleak these days, there are several ways to increase your chances of getting an internship. Try searching in these channels to see what opportunities are available for you.
Career Services. University career services are mostly in direct contact with businesses so they may be able to help you find an open spot. They can connect you with companies and can even provide some help in career planning. Learn how to connect with the UNT Career Center.
Search for a business’ presence online. Check and connect with potential employers through their social media channels. Try LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and follow them there. Most hiring professionals are now taking advantage of their online presence to search for and hire candidates so staying updated with these companies can work to your advantage.
Try Micro-Internships. With traditional internships being canceled left and right, micro-internships are the next best thing. Although shorter in duration, they can still give you the opportunity to work on professional assignments and help you build your experience in your future career. Additionally, accepting short term gigs in the middle of a pandemic is a great way for you to show adaptability and flexibility, both of which can look good on your resume in the future. This resource, created by the UNT Career Center, Internship Alternatives, explains some of the opportunities.
Go International. Since virtual internships can be accomplished from almost anywhere in the world, you can apply for internships with companies across the globe. Virtual internships have opened more opportunities to students since location and distance are no longer an issue. And since it may be challenging for you to verify on your own, ask assistance from your university or college careers service to confirm the legitimacy of organizations.
Despite the economic upheaval due to the coronavirus pandemic, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for internship candidates. Just focus on the things that can be done now and take this time as a challenge for you to adapt and even excel in this “new normal”.