Many students experienced a new academic norm after schools shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said editorial intern Addie Joseph of CNBC Make It, a website that helps readers get smarter about how they earn, save, and spend their money. Most students were excited to benefit from their internships such as work experience, college credit, networking opportunities, income, and potential job offers—only to have these perks slip from their fingertips, stated Lisa Heffernan of The New York Times, a New York City-based newspaper.
Additionally, internships help students, including Joseph herself, learn and gain experience in their fields of study, albeit outside of the four walls of the classroom. However, it is not too late for students to land a virtual internship during the summer, according to recruiters. Students need to try as many approaches as they can and apply them on a wider scale.
Survey On Students’ Perceptions About Virtual Internships
Yello, a talent acquisition software, involved more than 900 current college students in their survey about how the pandemic affected their internship opportunities. In the midst of the pandemic, some employers canceled their internship program cancellations, with many students reporting that their summer internship has been canceled.
In fact, many of the students are going unpaid, as 64% were not compensated for their canceled internship. 11% said their internship has been postponed, 7% reported that their final round interview will be moved to the following year, and 6% said they will have a full-time offer next year. When asked how the students felt about their canceled internship, 70% said they were “Disappointed, but understanding of the situation” while 26% answered “Upset— what am I going to do now?”
Further, 85% of students do not plan to list canceled internships on their resumes due to a lack of gained experienced while 15% would list it on their resume. However, other employers transitioned to virtual internships by leveraging their creativity and digital technologies. When the students were asked about how they feel about moving to a virtual internship, 51% were glad their internship is not canceled and 22% were worried that the experience won’t be as good.
12% were worried about being unable to prove that they deserved a full-time role and 9% were hoping to meet new people in person. Although the students won’t be able to sit together with their colleagues in the office, the report revealed that they would like frequent communication with their hiring managers, with 40% saying they would like to have daily 5-10 minute check-ins but once a week for 60 minutes.
30% would like to have a weekly 30-60 minute check-in and 7% would like their manager to contact them for 30 to 60 minutes each day. When asked if the respondents prefer video conferencing when speaking with your manager, 42% answered “Yes— every now and then” and 30% said “Yes— frequently.” 22% said it doesn’t matter while 6% preferred to speak with their manager via phone or chat.
Moreover, 41% would like to have virtual programming for the whole intern class every week while 35% would prefer to have it several times throughout the program. Only 20% of students preferred to have virtual programming two to three times a week.
How to Secure An Internship During the Outbreak
1. Look for Internships In Your School or On Job Sites
For example, Dension University in Granville, Ohio, its alumni, and the corporate community devised a five-week free summer business course that encompasses a one-week internship when internships started to disappear in March. A third of the school’s students enrolled in the program. Andy Chan, vice president of innovation and career development at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C, advised students not to be picky with their internships, emphasizing to use the time to gain experience.
It is also advisable to collaborate with your college’s career centers for new postings, fine-tune resumes, and practice for virtual interviews. You can also check websites such as Handshake, Indeed, Vault, Internships.com, WayUp, ZipRecruiter, Intern from Home, and Parker Dewey for internships. Use vetted companies to avoid bogus sites that are after your personal information for scams.
2. Demonstrate Existing Knowledge About Remote Working
Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, explained that a remote interview is the best opportunity to demonstrate how you have adapted to a remote learning environment at school, quoted Joseph. In fact, most of the skills you have learned from studying remotely will be applied to professional remote work. Safani said applicants need to view internship applications as “How can I prove to my potential employer that I can work remotely and be successful? What are some examples I could give to prove my assertion?”
3. Try Micro Internships
These are short-term, paid, professional assignments you can do remotely. Micro internships help you explore several career options with various companies, cultures, and industries. These can serve as a foot in the door at firms that don’t recruit on your school, noted Jeffrey Moss, the founder of Parker Dewey in Chicago. Opt to create your own micro internship if your internship was reduced or pushed to a later. You can do this by consulting your university’s alumni through the career office or your LinkedIn contacts.
4. Consider Looking for Workplaces That Are In Need of Interns
For instance, many non-profits faced a greater demand for their services, prompting their need to hire interns for different functions. These may entail working in lower-paying or volunteer positions. However, your college may have stipends to supplement your income if you work for non-profits. Consult your school’s career center. You can also look at other industries that are currently hiring interns such as start-ups and companies whose businesses help individuals work from home or those who enable the supply chain or e-commerce sector.
5. Be Proactive
Parents can also play a role in helping their child land an internship. For example, they can discuss ways to take advantage of responsibilities that may come your way, reminded Northwestern Mutual of business news Forbes. Your parents can also remind you that the most valued interns are those who are team players and ready to take the initiative.
Virtual internships are the new norm in the education sector. Some internships are canceled but some employers are using technology to help students land an internship. Students are expected to know how to work remotely before applying and to be proactive.