How to Find Internships and Jobs Online During the Pandemic

Andrea Alcid / Find the College Right for You! »

While we are beyond the days of quarantine and lockdown, businesses are still trying to survive the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Many of the safety measures taken to keep their companies afloat are still in place. For students, this means thousands of post-grad jobs and internships have been canceled, postponed, or switched to virtual settings. For those of you who have lost your job or internship, don’t lose hope! There are still employment opportunities out there, even during these troubling times. Take advantage of any strategy that can help you boost your chances of success. For starters, here are a few quick tips!

Make Yourself Marketable

Research the career fields that you’re interested in pursuing and find out what they look for in an applicant. Find internship or entry-level positions and read through their descriptions to find what skills and experiences are required. Get a clear picture of the skills that you already possess and which ones you may want to strengthen. There are countless ways to improve your qualifications, from taking online courses to learning certain software. Taking the time to enhance your expertise can greatly impress recruiters and make yourself stand out.

Make Your Presence Known

Take advantage of your network. You may not realize it, but you have so many resources available to you. Check out your school’s alumni network as well as community boards and social networking groups, and get in contact with people who are currently where you want to be in the future. Reach out to them and ask them if they have time to talk about career paths. It may sound intimidating at first, but the worst thing they can do is not respond! If they do respond, you can learn loads of information and get invaluable pieces of advice. 

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Keep in contact with your professors. Remember that their background isn’t only in education! They are professionals in their respective fields, meaning that their expertise can be greatly beneficial. Send them an email or speak to them during office hours about your job search concerns. You never know, they may even help you discover some opportunities!

Your college’s career services are also an excellent resource that you should take advantage of. Those on staff can help you identify your career goals and develop solutions to help you reach them. Many universities also offer online portals that provide instant access to a list of job postings. They can also keep you in touch with the latest events, including virtual career fairs and networking events. These events are usually restricted to the institution’s students, giving them a better edge with the recruiting process.

One important thing to be conscious of is your online presence. Creating a LinkedIn account is a great way for recruiters to discover you. In fact, 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates! Always make sure that your profile is active and up to date with your latest accomplishments. Use a professional headshot as your profile picture so companies can tell who you are. Remember that your online profiles aren’t only limited to job platforms. Sometimes your social media accounts can also impact the chances of getting an interview. Anything about you that can be found online represents your personal brand, so always keep in mind who may see what you’re posting.

Make Your Application Stand Out

The materials you submit for your job application play a significant part in getting your foot in the door. Most recruiters sift through their first round of applicants through résumés, cover letters, and portfolios, depending on the position and field you’re applying to. In a sense, these documents are what represent your first impression. Make sure that your application reflects what you’re capable of and what you can provide to the company. 

Every company has its own unique set of needs, meaning that the responsibilities of one job may differ from another (even if the job title is the same). Take a look at each job description, noting whatever keywords are emphasized, and tailor your résumé to each company to show the skills and experiences that are relevant to them. If you need assistance with your résumé, your school’s career services department can review your progress and offer tips on how to improve. Your résumé should include areas that focus on your academics, skill sets, certifications and awards, extracurricular activities, and leadership positions.

A portfolio can provide even more opportunities for you to show off your talents. Building an online portfolio is a lot simpler than it seems; a handful of websites have templates available, or you can even build one from scratch using such services as Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. Make sure to include important information like your bio, your résumé, and the purpose of the site itself. Be sure to include samples of your work, if possible. It’s even more enticing when the viewer can see your skills at work!

Secure the Position

Once the application process is complete, you’ll be on your way to the interview rounds. As a result of the pandemic, many companies are switching to virtual interviews, which typically take the form of phone calls or webcam interviews. Although you will be able to meet with recruiters in the comfort of your own home, it’s important always to dress professionally, prepare, and try your best. You can practice interview questions beforehand with the help of the countless guides and practice questions available online. I also recommend researching the company you’re interviewing for in order to gain a better understanding of its business model. 

Taking the time to prepare for your job search can help you increase your chances of acquiring an internship or job. It can also help you build your confidence and recognize all of the accomplishments you’ve already made! During these troubling times, it may feel nerve-wracking to sit by the computer and wait for those company emails. Although you can never be sure of the outcome, remember that there are an endless amount of possibilities that can help you get to where you want to be. You got this!