[Instructors: A PDF of the tip sheet can be found at the end of this post.]
Internships and summer jobs are one of the best ways to gain the valuable work experience employers seek, and, in many fields, these experiences are as necessary as a diploma. But how to land a coveted internship or position, especially during the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The tips below can help you locate both in-person and remote internships.
Be ready to act quickly. Prepare and polish your résumé and LinkedIn profile so that when you spot an opportunity, you can jump on it.
Search globally, nationally, and locally. The upside of remote internships is that searchers need not limit themselves to local opportunities. When looking for positions, use search terms such as remote, virtual, or online as a starting place. The job posting site Handshake can be especially useful.
Take advantage of connections. Mine family and friends who work within an industry for connections that can lead to learning about internships and other opportunities.
Check with school career centers. Campus career centers have amped up their efforts to assist students during the pandemic by providing virtual job fairs and offering school-specific databases for internship postings.
Make use of online networking. Find connections and join social accounts on networks that have groups for people interested in specific fields. (Twitter, for example, has scientist and Web developer groups.) The point of online networking is to connect with like-minded individuals and to ultimately conduct informational interviews with seasoned experts in specific industries.
Consider beefing up skills to enhance qualifications. Taking professional development courses or learning a new skill while searching for internships is terrific preparation for a future career. However, before committing to programs that may add to student debt, consider looking for free remote courses from Khan Academy, edX, Tableau, or Coursera.
Volunteer. Experience is experience whether it is paid or not. Idealist and VolunteerMatch list thousands of virtual and local volunteer opportunities.
Apply for an interim job. Many students need to work to help finance their educations, and taking an interim job not only offers income—it provides a way to improve work skills and job qualifications. Real work experience shows future employers resilience and the ability to adapt, qualities that boost anyone’s career.
Look for pandemic-related opportunities. Countless firms are desperate for workers, especially in industries negatively affected by the virus. Any organization that has been affected can provide a way in for young workers. Reach out to HR departments or recruiters and ask about projects, internships, or temporary roles that may be available. Volunteer to help in any way.
Flexibility is the key to finding a meaningful internship or job opportunity during the pandemic and beyond. While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly eliminated many traditional internships, the door to making the most out of summer break is most assuredly not shut.