Internships are a great way to gain valuable experience and to explore various career paths related to your major. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives, including how people connect and work, working remotely gives us another opportunity to master the art of time management and networking.
Here are five recommendations for landing an internship virtually:
Starting the Search
Starting your internship search can initially seem like a daunting task. It’s important to ask yourself these questions when beginning your search in order to clearly define your intentions and goals for the desired internship:
What will your daily tasks entail?
What is the structure of the internship (asynchronous or synchronous)?
How will the internship connect with your major and current studies?
How many hours per week can you work?
Can you receive college credit for the internship?
What do you hope to gain from the experience (i.e full-time employment, transferable experience, etc.)?
Take Advantage of School Resources
Universities invest abundant resources into their career centers to help students strengthen their resume, conduct mock interviews, and connect students with employers directly through Handshake. Recently, Santa Clara University’s Career Center has partnered with VMock, a 24/7 online resume-review tool that provides personalized feedback on your resume.
The career center also hosts numerous career fairs throughout the school year, which are great opportunities to obtain employer information and build your network. When looking for your next internship experience, make sure to utilize the resources available to you through your school’s career center!
Let your Network Know!
Reach out to your peers, mentor, professors, or use LinkedIn and let them know that you are seeking an internship. When reaching out, make sure to describe what work you want to pursue and your preferences. For example, “I am seeking a graphic design position working synchronously.” The more specific the description, the more likely you are to be matched with an opportunity that relates to the field you want to pursue. This is also a good opportunity to include your skills and recent past experiences to inform your network about your strengths.
When I was beginning my search for extracurricular activities, I reached out to the professors who are experts in the fields of my interest, such as marketing. Utilizing their office hours, I was able to ask for advice on how to find opportunities related to my goals as a marketer. Overall, professors are a great resource and can support you in both your academic and professional goals.
New internship positions are created every day. Having a resume with your basic information, including your name, contact information, education, and most recent professional experience can serve as a foundation. Once you see an opportunity that you are interested in pursuing, you can tailor your resume to the specific position by highlighting your transferable skills, updated coursework, and projects.
A way to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicant pool is to gain additional skills through a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). MOOCs are free online courses that are loosely structured and provide training on a range of topics. Examples of courses include an introduction to philosophy, digital marketing, and building leadership skills. Two popular platforms that host online courses are edX and Coursera. These courses are another way to impress your future employer.
Internships are one way to actively apply what you have learned in your courses and gain firsthand experience in career fields that relate to your major. Although starting the search can be overwhelming, using these tips will help you feel more prepared when applying for the next opportunity!