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Finding an Internship During COVID-19

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

Internships are a great way for students to get a taste of what they want to do in life once they graduate college. By utilizing my resources, I have had four internships with diverse companies! My first internship was with PHERES, a luxury Italian jewelry company, where I was a Brand Marketing Intern while studying abroad in Japan. My second was with WhoseYourLandlord, a company that focuses on creating transparency in the renter and landlord community through content literacy and reviews, where I am a Marketing and Growth Intern. My third was with DMAX Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on creating conversations that matter to strengthen mental health and emotional well-being for young people, where I am a Communications and Social Media Intern. My current internship is with Allied Global Marketing, a full-service integrated marketing agency working with the world's largest entertainment, consumer and lifestyle brands, where I am a Marketing and PR Intern.

Internships are meant to be diverse and give you different perspectives of what jobs could look like in your future! In order to find some internships, you have to be patient and willing to do some digging through networking, going through interviews, and doing lots of research! However, with today's pandemic, companies have been either canceling or delaying their internship programs. While some cancel, others have utilized technology and proceeded with their programs to continue teaching students how to easily adapt to different situations.

There are so many benefits to having an internship! Not only do interns have the chance to be in particular fieldwork of their interest and gain work experience, but it also gives them the upper-hand when it comes to finding a full-time job later on. Chances are that most interns are offered a full-time job position at the end of their internships. So when you become a college graduate, you can have something lined up. Internships also help with networking! Working in a professional setting allows coworkers to connect with each other in the office and at events. Remember, these connections can be as valuable as the experience gained during the internship. Internships also benefit employers. It's an investment in recruitment, training, and giving the opportunity to work with experienced professionals. Additionally, interns can provide valuable support and assistance to full-time employees. ​

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, there has been a significant decrease in internship opportunities in different business industries. Specifically, the travel and tourism industry took the greatest hit which "saw a 92% decrease in internship opportunities...Total job openings decreased by 73.1% in the industry" ("As Much as Half of Internship Opportunities Have Been Cut Due to Coronavirus"). Other industries such as technology, architecture/civil engineering, telecommunication, and media/publishing have also seen a decrease of more than half. Yello, a talent-acquisition software company, conducted a survey with more than 900 college students to discover how the pandemic has affected internships and other opportunities. Its results showed that "35% of students who've accepted summer internships learned the internship was canceled, and 24% of students have been told their internship will be virtual" ("Report: 35% of Summer Internships Canceled Due to COVID-19 ").

However, there is still hope! VanDerziel believes that it is important to maximize summer internships by being adaptable, making sure not to isolate, effectively communicating with everyone, clarifying expectations, and remembering that this situation is unexpected for everyone ("More Resilient, Adaptable and Agile | As COVID-19 Impacted Summer Internships, Officials Say Students Will Likely Benefit"). Not to mention Yello, the company that conducted the survey from earlier, mentions the following steps that employers should take to adjust their internship programs during the pandemic - go virtual, be communicative, advocate for your interns, plan virtual intern events, and educate hiring managers on virtual work. The CEO and co-founder of Yello, Jason Weingarten, encourages interns to list canceled internships on their resume, "at least until they secure another internship or full-time offer. Even though no work was completed, these canceled internships show that an employer was interested in you and that you stood out from other candidates. You earned a coveted spot at that company, and that's worth noting when applying for future roles" ("Report: 35% of Summer Internships Canceled Due to COVID-19"). ​​

Don't be any less motivated in finding an internship this summer as there are still companies that are looking for candidates to take on their internship program, whether it’s in-person or online. If you are having struggles with finding an internship, then it's no problem! Here are some tips on how to find an internship.

How To Find Internships

  • Effective and Creative Resume - Before you start ANYTHING, it is so important to have your resume created. You should have a professional resume with your most recent job/volunteer experiences, extracurricular activities, awards, skills, and leadership opportunities. If you are going for a job that requires creativity, then I highly recommend a creative resume. Essentially, a creative resume is not your typical "black and white" resume, but adds pop and color that attracts the eye! Your resume should be 1-2 pages, and not include paragraphs! Remember, employers will not read anything that is an essay. That's why we have cover letters (a topic that will be covered in a later post).

  • Start Research Early - If you want an internship during any season, then start prepping in advance. Early applications have an advantage in the process since employers are most likely to notice them first. Some internships have a deadline, while others are on a rolling basis.

  • Research Industries - It's so important to outline your career goals and identify the types of industries, companies, and roles you are interested in! If you are having trouble deciding which field to focus on, I find it helpful to make a pros and cons list for each.

  • Utilize Websites - The internet is your best friend, so use it! There are so many websites that provide information on upcoming opportunities that you want to get your hands on. LinkedIn is a great website that helps you build a professional profile, connect with professionals/companies, and update your connections on exciting ventures! You can also use websites like Google and Glassdoor.

  • School Resources - Some schools provide tools to help students look for internships and jobs. It is important to utilize your professors because they may have had ample experiences in the real world before they actually became a professor. Your School’s alumni network is also important to use, as there are many professionals in a potential field that you are interested in and you can connect with them and use your similar backgrounds to your advantage! Some schools also use Handshake, a platform similar to LinkedIn but focuses more on finding a job/internship rather than networking with professionals. It's very important to have a Handshake profile set up, as well as having a LinkedIn page!

  • Use Your Professional Network - Utilizing your network will help you find opportunities effectively. If you are wondering what your network is, it's basically everyone you know; parents, family, friends, teachers, professors, previous bosses, etc. However, it is more important to utilize professional networks more - professors, public speakers, club members, and those you are connected with on professional websites.

  • Communicate With Potential Employers - If you have any questions about a job posting, then consider contacting the hiring manager or even a current employee who is working in your field of interest. By doing this, you can leave a professional impression and decide if this position is right for you. By reaching out, it also demonstrates dedication in obtaining the position and being a contributor to the organization.

COVID-19 has been affecting college students in the workforce significantly. During this time, it is hard for us to receive opportunities due to businesses laying off workers, no longer looking for new recruits, or canceling/postponing internships. While the world is facing many hardships, there can be silver linings found amid this epidemic. With this new freedom, you can take different approaches to find ways to occupy yourself. ​I came across an article, "How Students Can Get Ahead During The COVID-19 School Shutdown", on Forbes by Christopher Rim. While this article was directed towards newly graduated high school students, it came to my attention that this is applicable to college students as well. Rim mentions how "‘time-management and intrinsic motivation skills need developing’, the school shutdowns are actually a great opportunity to practice the skills that will make them more successful when they attend college." This got me thinking about how time management and motivation skills are a big issue for not only college students but adults in the professional field too. Now is the chance to improve these skills, and gain new skills you've been holding off! Get that certificate, learn how to use Photoshop, and continue making connections. Take this moment to expand your horizons and remember, it is important to continue to stay positive no matter what!

-Layla Kasymov, Fox School of Business Class of 2022

Marketing Major, International Business Minor

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