Student Life

Discovering Internships during COVID-19

There are three steps to take when looking for an internship.

Student Contributor, Jasmin Kaur

February 11, 2021

Discovering Internships during COVID-19
Finding internships does not have to be an arduous duty.
Internships can be a struggle to find during ordinary circumstances, so it is no surprise they are an unusual dilemma to face during a pandemic. Nevertheless, numerous resources exist to help you discover the right fit. From tailoring results based on virtual or physical positions and area of study, to full-time positions vs. part-time, and many other filters. However, as you begin the hunt for internships, there are three main steps to take: Step 1: Have a clear goal, field of focus, or subject area in mind. Searching for internships without a clear focus is like creating a resume without obtaining data such as grade level, academic highlights, or extracurricular focus(es). Without a firm foundation to build upon, the search for internships is not only more stressful but also less likely to be as successful.
By focusing on a specific niche, you will be able to cast a more expansive “net” while searching. Instead of misusing time filtering through dozens of unrelated or uninteresting searches, with a targeted list, you will be able to spend more energy on focusing on specific positions. Recognize the general field you want to research and learn more about, then target your efforts in that sphere. If you cannot create a narrow list of targeted goals- such as a journalism project or archival studies- I would suggest broadening your search to areas of engagement. Oftentimes, internships align with a student’s declared major- a lab research project for a biology major, for example. If your major is undeclared or you cannot find a niche, try to create a more generalized list that encompasses and reflects upon a variety of possible future careers choices. Discerning the value of an internship, in the long run, is a crucial component of its effectiveness. You may sign up as a marketing volunteer for a summer, but down the road, end up as a teacher or lab scientist.
Emphasize the skills that pertain to your current role and connect how that experience engages with it. Instead of listing duties such as creating social media posts or writing business memos, describe how you grew to better interact with your audience or learned to effectively organize data, for example. Step 2: Look for internships. Once you have a target in mind (or a more general list of interests), seek out companies and organizations that may offer volunteer or internship opportunities in those spheres. For instance, if you are looking for an internship pertaining to chemistry, research local labs or college campuses that may offer related positions. Additionally, explore the opportunities provided by the companies. Sometimes, there may be more than one position available, and separate applications could be required for each one. After you’ve researched your companies, create a list of the types of internships offered by each, the application requirements, as well as the deadlines. Also, recall that oftentimes the prerequisites for a position may seem intimidating, but as long as you fulfill the general requirements, do not hesitate to apply! You never know what the application pool will look like, and perhaps your unique skill set or experience may be the best match for the company or organization.
Once you have organized the information based on specific companies, tools such as Fastweb’s internship finder can help you explore a broader list of employers. Through Fastweb’s internship tool, you can easily create filters that allow you to obtain precise results. Step 3: Apply! It’s happened to all of us at least once, an excellent opportunity for one thing or another, a scholarship or perhaps some program, with the application deadline a solid month or two away. We bookmark the page, assured of our hard work paying off… until it doesn’t. Not because you failed to receive the position, but rather you either forgot to apply or discovered that only one week was remaining to get those teacher recommendations, write the six-page essay, fill out a lengthy and annoying form, all while creating a spotless resume and trying to appear interested in social activities. So finally, you turn in the bare minimum, with the required documents attached and nothing more. The key aspect to remember when applying for positions such as internships—which require resumes, recommendation letters, and even cover letters in some instances—is time is a necessity. Start on your application about a month or two before the deadline, at the very least. Schedule in a few “cushion days” in case of an unexpected incident that takes away from our application work time. You must give enough time to your professors, teachers, and employers to write a proper recommendation letter (Generally, let them know about a month in advance, then remind them about two weeks before the deadline if they have not then completed it.). Also, be prepared to articulate your thoughts well in your essay(s). By creating a reflective and well-assembled application, your chances of a favorable outcome rise significantly. Already, you have displayed your time management and organization skills to the potential employer/internship. A small side note: during a global pandemic, virtual internships are also excellent resources that carry the same value! Fastweb hosts numerous links to organizations offering virtual internships. To get started, check out this Fastweb article featuring more than twelve companies offering remote internships for summer 2021. It also shares how to prepare for the interview process! Finding internships does not have to be an arduous duty. With some planning, research, and resources like Fastweb’s internship tool, it is easier than ever to connect with companies and organizations in your niche! Start considering your goals a few months ahead of time, begin organizing specific targets, and be ready to apply within a month or two of the deadline. Perseverance, organization, and time management skills go a long way in obtaining that much-coveted intern position!

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