The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the everyday lives of people around the world, including many college students whose summer internships are being halted as a result of the shutdown. However, applying to remote jobs, making connections on LinkedIn, learning new skills, and utilizing internet resources could be the key to still having hope in securing an internship this summer.
Boost your resume with a part-time remote position.
In the wake of this economic downturn and halting of operations, many companies have shortened or moved their summer programs online; a large number of smaller companies have even canceled their internship programs altogether.
Unfortunately, when business is being compromised, interns and internship programs aren’t the top priority for companies. Despite this, many companies are actually creating more unpaid, remote intern positions, since they need fresh minds and extra hands to help their businesses succeed in this difficult economic climate.
Though most college students may still be on the hunt for paid summer internships, an unpaid remote job is the perfect opportunity to help you fill the time during quarantine and get a step closer to finding something you’re passionate about. Depending on what field of work you’re looking for, a remote position can be a great resume-booster, learning experience, and opportunity to try something new.
The new normal might be a bitter pill to swallow for those still hoping for a paid internship; however, if financially doable, marketing yourself as a remote employee who is willing to put in the effort without the pay could eventually lead you to a full-time, paid position in the future.
Make an extra effort to reach out and connect with potential employers on LinkedIn.
For many college students, LinkedIn is no foreign website. It’s pretty easy to search for employers who are looking for students in your major, or jobs that have titles that appeal to you. However, what many people don’t do is reach out and make connections.
During a time when everyone feels alone and overwhelmed, it’s even more important to seal your online job application with a genuine message to someone who works where you’ve applied.
Showing employers that you care and have done your research is barely demonstrated by just turning in a resume and cover letter.
In addition to these things, you should also go to the company’s LinkedIn page and see which of their employees are alumni of your school, or have jobs in a similar area of interest as you. Once you’ve pinpointed someone, briefly but genuinely message them asking to schedule a call to talk about their position at said company.
Even if they never respond or the call ends up not being useful—which it probably will be—at the very least you have made sure that someone at the company has seen your name before they read your resume.
Choose a new skill to learn from the list of things common employers look for in your field.
Another way to market yourself during a time when acquiring employment is more difficult is to update your skillset. Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill or strengthen old ones! If you’re not sure what to start with, think of your dream job or a sector of jobs you would love to have.
You can also study the list of things employers look for or see as a plus when hiring, such as proficiency in online programming, outlets like Microsoft Office applications, coding, website-building, or anything else you often see on job applications that deter you from applying.
Even just teaching yourself one computer program or skill makes you a stronger candidate. Not only that, but it’s a great talking point and strength to bring up during an interview as well.
Employers want employees who are hands-on and take initiative, so using this time to teach yourself something new can only help you.
Try out different online occupational resources.
Aside from LinkedIn, there are tons of internet resources to help you narrow down what jobs you want and keep you up to date on what’s out there.
Handshake is a great resource for students. The website is similar to LinkedIn, but it is specifically targeted at employers looking to hire college students.
Indeed is also a good option for doing a more pointed job search, as it allows you to do specific searches for jobs in your area and with specific titles that you’re looking for. Unlike LinkedIn, Indeed is not ideal for networking and is really just used for a narrowed job search.
CareerBuilder is perhaps the perfect combination of the two, as it has thorough job search options and networking capabilities, as well as the added bonuses of career advice and a resource center equipped with alerts and articles to keep you informed.
Finally, for students looking for a part-time project or a remote opportunity to help boost their resume during quarantine, Upwork is the perfect resource. Upwork is an online marketplace created to connect freelance workers with employers looking to assign temporary projects and gigs.
Freelancers can search for projects based on categories such as web design or writing, as well as create profiles to market their skills and attract employers looking for their expertise.
While in-person job fairs and networking events are temporarily suspended, using these online resources could help match you with the best-fit job for you.
Get out there (metaphorically) and persevere!
College students are home from school and the future is up in the air, but online resources, remote jobs, the time to learn a new skill, and making meaningful connections with employers on networking websites like LinkedIn could help secure an opportunity for later.
Though losing a summer internship or having your current job suspended or even canceled are devastating obstacles, the main strategy to keep in mind is that persistence is key.