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Tips on Finding Virtual Internships During the COVID era

The pandemic has shifted the ground of what we’ve come to know as “normal” right from underneath our feet. The unprecedented closure of businesses, public health restrictions, and many of our loved ones being directly impacted by the spread. It's no secret COVID-19 has reverberated through all aspects of our lives, internships not excluded. 

For many of us, internships have been a direct channel to getting some degree of exposure to a particular industry of field we’re interested in. A chance to get much of a learning experience as it is to get into a company’s talent pipeline. So how exactly are you supposed to go about finding an internship in the midst of the COVID-19 era?

Luckily, I’ve gathered some helpful tips on ways you can find virtual internships. 

Utilize professional social sites 

Social media sites like Linkedin offer a space for professionals and students to not only showcase their resumes and capabilities, but also an opportunity to connect with leaders who are in their potential field of interest. There you also can search for virtual internships based on location, interest, and qualifications. You can go a step further and connect with professionals and ask if their companies are offering virtual internships at this point in time or in the foreseeable future. 

Focus on what’s trending 

If you are career-minded like me, you are already set on the career field you want to go to. But what if the intern position you want is unavailable or not being offered at this moment? Because a lot of companies have gone remote, many positions have either gone digital and furloughed employees. Many internship positions are not being offered. In that case, you can accept a position that is similar to your intended field. For example, if you are looking to be a sales/marketing intern for a company and that position is unavailable, perhaps opt for a position like a digital marketing position within the company. That way you can begin building relationships with your supervisors and maybe that can lead to your dream internship. 

Attend virtual networking events

Since the world has gone remote to adhere to social distancing guidelines, a lot of people are doing more and more virtual events with a public interactive element. I was just on a panel event last week where we spread out in groups for discussion and had a Q & A session. Before we got off the panel, many of us dropped our social handles in the chatbox as a way to keep in contact afterward.

Stay organized

Keep a spreadsheet of all the professionals and/or companies that you’ve connected over time. Create a seven column excel spreadsheet or on a notebook of your choice and titled them in the following order: First name, Last name, Company/organization affiliation, Title, Location[optional], Contact Information, social handle, and notes. You can use the note column to record the last time you spoke with the individuals to send a follow-up reminder, or where you last met this person. This way you can keep a track record of the people you’ve contacted. They are more likely to keep you in mind should an internship opportunity present itself.

Refer to your school’s career center

College career centers typically located on college campuses are tailored to assist students with honing their job search skills, finding careers or graduate school programs, and getting referrals for internships. Since some schools have officially gone remotely, you can stay up to date with the center by email or phone. 

The world may not look like how we left it back in March, but the good news is, there are still some things you can control while we wait for the battered workplaces to return to normal. You can still land an internship. 

Yveneka Lestin is a writer and freelance publicist working to amplify unheard voices and personalities through visibility. She has navigated a variety of public relations campaigns which resulted in securing media placements in Forbes, CNN, Today’s Show, and Teen Vogue. She calls many places home, including NYC where she grew up, and Virginia where she attends Hampton University. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Yveneka is a foodie and a loving aunt to her nieces.
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