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How to Secure a Summer Internship During a Pandemic

Many college students have the goal of working a summer internship before graduation. Our professors, advisors and parents are constantly telling us: “You need an internship in order to get a job out of college.” However, this is not exactly true. Though having an internship will positively benefit your resume and experience, it does not necessarily mean you have to have one in order to find a job after college. 

TBH, I’m just pretty grateful it’s not Summer 2020. We’re still going into a summer that has a serious pandemic, but we’re also not brand new to it. A year ago felt like a whole different world, and most Summer 2020 internships got thrown down the drain. The pandemic is not just going to pack its bags and disappear by May, and I am in absolutely no position to tell you what will happen a month from now. 

So prepare for the state we’re currently in. It’s most likely not going to change or will (knock on some pretty sturdy wood) go back to 100% normalcy by this summer. Though I never thought I’d have to say this, here’s some tips to help you find a summer internship, even in the midst of a pandemic. 

Make yourself stand out, and make sure it’s in a good way. 

Your cover letter and resume are key aspects to any job and internship. It’s the very first impression you give off, and we all know how important those are. Plus, COVID-19 has made getting an internship even more difficult than it was before. Put forth your strength and greatest qualities, you’re going to need it to beat-out fellow competitors. 

Remote internships can still be a high-quality internship.

In some fields, working an internship is about hands on experience, being in the office, and collaborating in-person. But a remote internship is still a great way to stay safe and get experience in your desired field. You may be remote, but you can still learn a lot if you make the most of it!

Network. Network. Network. 

Whether you’re looking for a job or internship, networking is always a good idea. Ask people you know- family, friends, coworkers, family friends, your mom’s boss- if they know anyone in your field that would be able and willing to jump on an informational call with you. If you are referred to or know the employer, they may be more willing to look at your application and offer you an interview. 

Reach out and ask beyond the search engine. 

Searching through LinkedIn and popular websites for an internship may have been a great opportunity in pre-COVID times. But like I said, things are different this year. It may be in your best interest to look at businesses near you and email them personally. They may not have publicly posted their internships yet, but you can be proactive and show your interest. While some businesses won’t be able to offer internships due to the economic impact of COVID-19, it doesn’t hurt to put your name out there and try. 

The Career Center will be your best friend. 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to the staff at the Career Center! Many students overlook all the opportunities the University’s Career Center offers. I used to be one of those students, but I had to put my big girl pants on and try it. Advisors at the Career Center have more connections and insider knowledge than we do. They will see hidden opportunities and really are there to support your future endeavors. They can even help you with a mock interview!  

This is a stressful time for everyone. When you’re looking for an internship, remember to be patient and kind, because everyone is going through it. You’ve been through a lot, everyone has, but you have to put your best face on, showcase your best qualities, and don’t be afraid to network your way through this. You know your worth, stand by it. Good luck!

Marissa is a current senior majoring in English with a double minor in creative writing and human development. Originally from Sacramento, California, she loves meeting new people and learning about different environments. When she's not rereading Jane Austen, she loves being a coach for little kids and petting dogs all day.
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