Many of you are seeking or have already secured summer internships. In addition to providing income for the summer, internships can build skills and connections and often lead to future job offers. However, the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal process.
If you have already secured a summer internship, it may be subsequently cancelled or postponed. If you have been affected by the loss of your internship and find yourself scrambling to make alternative plans, here are some suggestions that could help.
Explore Virtual Internships: If an in-person internship offer has been rescinded or postponed, you have a growing number of options for remote internships. For example, Google recently announced that it will be moving its internship program to a ‘virtual model’ this summer. You can search for remote internship opportunities on Handshake (we’ve seen a huge spike in virtual internship postings in recent weeks) and other websites like Indeed, Idealist, LinkedIn and specific organizations of interest.
Alternatively, you can reach out to your rescinded or postponed internships site and talk to them about transitioning to a virtual internship. Ideally, all of the internship could be converted, but if not, maybe there are aspects of the internship, like research, writing, editing, coding, etc. that could be done remotely.
Take Online Courses: As you know, one of the purposes of an internship is to learn new skills, but it’s not the only way to do so. If your internship has fallen through, consider taking courses to learn the skills that might have been gained during your experience. BU has announced it will offer summer session 1 & 2 classes online. Many other colleges will do the same, so you may also want to check out colleges that offer courses where credit transfers to BU. Outside of formal college classes, there are many free online courses from Lynda, Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare, MOOCs, YouTube tutorials, etc. See if you can take certifications for any relevant skills you develop that will look great on your resume!
Volunteer: Employers value volunteer work as it builds skills, and you will be seen as someone who makes a positive contribution to your community. Volunteer work can absolutely be added to your resume! Find remote volunteer opportunities on handshake and in your local community. For example, Bostoncares.org that has posted many months of volunteer opportunities to help get food to Boston Public School students during COVID-19. Check out what is available in your community. Idealist.org is a great place to find opportunities in the nonprofit and NGO sector.
Do Some Networking: Now is a great time to create, update and/or build your LinkedIn profile. Join professional organizations on LinkedIn that match your interests, major or skills. Chances are these organizations will be having virtual meetings this summer that you can join. Network on LinkedIn with BU alumni and other professionals. People have more down-time now and may be more likely to network and do informational interviews with you about their jobs and career field. You can also check out the Career Advisory Network (CAN), a database of 8,000+ BU alumni who have volunteered to speak with BU students and other alums about their careers.
Start A Project: Perhaps you have been thinking about creating a podcast, starting your own small business, creating a website, or starting a YouTube channel, but didn’t have time. Guess what! This is the perfect time to move your idea forward. Websites and blogs can help an employer ‘get to know you’ before they meet you in person; it’s also a way to help you build your personal brand!
Utilize CCD Resources: The CCD website and Handshake offer lots of great resources, information, remote and in-person internship and job opportunities. Some of these resources include VMock, an online tool available 24/7 that will analyze your resume and give real-time feedback, and Candid Careers, a database with thousands of videos clips from interviews with professionals in many fields and roles.
Talk With Experts: Even though we’re all working and studying remotely, the CCD is still here for you. Check out our calendar for upcoming virtual events and workshops, including ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions with CCD staff. You can also make a virtual appointment with one of the Career Counselors at the CCD through Handshake to discuss any aspects of your internship or job situation. Of course, we are also available to discuss any other aspects of your career development at this time as well.
Even if your internship is now uncertain, it is important to stay positive, be adaptable, and be open to new experiences!