Last updateWed, 18 Nov 2020 1pm


How to Land an Internship During the COVID-19 Pandemic

default article imageThe internship process is something that many students find difficult. Now, with a global pandemic that caused an economic recession, the search has become even more competitive and challenging.

With many students wanting to gain real-world experience in their field of interest, COVID-19 has made the process harder and tedious. When the pandemic first began in March, many companies were forced to shut down their internship programs in the interest of everyone’s health.

“In the beginning of the pandemic, internships were down 75 percent or more. Now the market is coming back and we are seeing more internships posted each week,” said William Hill, Director of Career Services. “[Internships should be approached] the same as they would any other time, except with more enthusiasm and patience. The basics of the job search haven’t changed. It’s the market that has changed”.

Nancy Gallo, Job Placement Coordinator, mentioned one tool students can use when it comes to the internship search called Candid Career, which can be found on the Career Services website. She said, “When you go to the site, there are three to four short minute videos of professionals in a field, and you can narrow it down by their job title, college major, or industry.”

Gallo continued, “What I like to do is find someone who is doing what [you] want to do, and they usually give [you] their name and where they work, and then go find them on LinkedIn.”

One student who has taken advantage of Career services is Naser Haroon, a junior studying computer science. Haroon was a software engineer intern at the financial services company Visa. He was able to land this internship with the help of LinkedIn.

He said, “I applied to about 40 companies and I heard back from three to four for interviews, and I ended up getting accepted into Visa. These applications I found online… LinkedIn is the best job-searching platform.”

With the pandemic, Haroon faced many difficulties when it came to securing his internship for the following semester.  He said, “What made it difficult is that they weren’t doing return offers because of the pandemic...there was so much uncertainty.”

Another student who was able to land an internship during the pandemic is Sabrina Gutierrez. In May 2020, Gutierrez graduated with a Bachelor’s in business administration with a concentration in economics and finance. Now, she is pursuing a Master’s in Business (MBA) and will be graduating in May 2021.

Gutierrez landed an internship at Commvault on the logistics team and mentioned it was very difficult to find an internship during this time.

“Many companies are on a hiring freeze or reduced hiring...this has allowed me to really focus on the opportunities that pertain to my interests and skills,” she said. “I’ve been able to better prepare and devote more attention to the interviews I do have.”

Although Gutierrez believes the internship search is complicated now, there are other ways for students to grow and develop necessary skills. She said, “Although students are missing out on interacting in person with industry professionals and recruiters, there are many webinars or online recruiting events hosted by organizations looking to hire students and recent graduates.”

Both Haroon and Gutierrez encourage students to get involved on campus in order to make themselves more marketable for future internship positions.

Gutierrez said that searching for an internship amid a pandemic has taught her to accept rejection, be resilient, and keep trying. “Because there are not as many jobs/internships available, it has become more competitive to land a position, leading to dozens of rejection letters and low confidence among job seekers,” she said. “People must learn to accept rejection because there may be other times throughout your career that you feel lost, unappreciated, and unmotivated to keep going...This experience has taught me how to deal with those feelings, learn from my experiences, and keep a positive attitude.”

If that internship position does not come right away, it’s important that students continue to do things that will help them obtain a future internship like networking, building their resume, and getting involved with clubs and organizations at school that build experience.

“Just do something,” Hill said. “When this is over and you go on your first post-COVID interview, the first thing employers are going to ask you is, ‘What did you do during the pandemic?’”

Career Services offers career counseling, job search advice, resume assistance and interview coaching. Both Hill and Gallo highly encourage students to make an appointment with Career Services.

Gutierrez said, “As long as you stay positive, motivated, and put your best effort into everything you do, you will eventually get your dream job, build a great career, and make amazing accomplishments along the way.”


PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth University

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