With summer break just around the corner (we’re almost there – push through!), now is the perfect time to apply to internships to give your resumes a boost and to take a break from college life and a glimpse into the professional world that awaits you after graduation. Internships are a great way to gain valuable, hands-on experience in the industry of your choice as well as broadening your repertoire of skills by exploring potential career paths you’ve always considered. Due to COVID-19, numerous companies have resorted to offering online-only internship positions, which can be terrifying for interns who’ve never worked remotely.
Last summer, I found myself in this exact position. With the rise in COVID cases, my plans to go home for the summer were altered and I ended up staying on campus. I had just finished my junior year, and with the end of another academic year came the daunting realization that I had only one summer left to do an internship before I graduate and get tossed into the real world with little to no experience to show for it. I began frantically scrolling through job search websites. My chances of getting an internship were looking bleak, as many companies had outright cancelled their annual summer internship programs or placed them on hold because of the pandemic. As I scrolled further, I came across a surge of remote opportunities in companies I had never thought of applying to before because they were across the country. Working remotely didn’t appeal to me as I figured it wouldn’t give me the full “experience” of an internship, but I decided to apply anyway. Within a month, I was embarking on my first publishing internship experience (albeit, virtually). Here are some tips to apply to virtual internships this summer:
- Take advantage of remote opportunities
Remote internships aren’t comparable to the in-person experience; however, in times like this, it’s the closest way of fostering a work environment, especially for newer workers (interns) who want to get a taste of professionalism. If internships were to be in-person, there are a number of limitations that could keep you from applying to a certain position, even if it is your dream company. In my case, ruling out New York when applying to publishing positions meant ruling out most, if not all, of the available openings simply because of the distance and expenses of being in the city for the summer. But, with remote internships on the rise, I was able to apply to internships all over the country because I no longer had to consider location or expenses as a factor. With that said, this also means that a lot more applicants would be applying to any given position than usual.
- Make utmost use of job-searching tools
Websites like Indeed and Glassdoor are great for shortlisting positions you want to apply to as they give you the option to not only enter keywords that apply to your potential job preferences but also narrow down the available options to a specific location. They also give you an option to filter out options such as ‘part-time’ or ‘work from home’. Aside from these websites I mentioned, there are also specific job-searching websites from specific industries. For example, to find an internship in publishing, I used Bookjobs to look at current openings.
- Don’t rely only on job-search websites
While these websites are great for exploring opportunities available to a college student and for discerning what skills are deemed essential to certain positions, the search doesn’t end there. Many renowned companies simply post their openings on their own websites rather than making use of third-party websites, which ensures that the applications are received directly by the hiring manager of the company. Most company websites have a section on their menu bar which says something along the lines of ‘Jobs’ or ‘Work with us’. It could sometimes take a while to find this section but I would suggest going on their About or Contact Us page as the job openings could be a sub-section if not a section of its own.
- 1. Don’t hesitate to reach out personally
Going off of the above pointer, it is completely plausible that a company doesn’t have their openings listed anywhere on their website or on other job search websites but are still taking applications. If there is a specific company in your mind and you’re not able to find their list of openings, don’t hesitate to contact their team to inquire about potential openings. Make sure to introduce yourself in the email, provide your academic and professional background in a brief paragraph, and mention what particular field you would be interested in should they have an opening. If needed, attach your resume as well. Even if there aren’t any openings at the moment, this is beneficial as they would keep your information on file if they were to take applications at any point in the future.
I hope the tips above will guide you when you are confused about how to go about applying to internship positions, especially in a time when most companies are opting for remote work. I also hope that this summer has amazing opportunities in store for you.