Finding summer 2021 internships, even if COVID-19 is still around is something you should start today! Trying to predict, chart or plan anything more than a week in advance seems pointless in 2020, but trust me.
As we see positivity rates go up and down and lock downs are happening on a regular basis, it sucks. On the other side, there are vaccines on the horizon that could change the game this summer. Don’ get caught unprepared if things do turn around!
So, although no one wants to spend summer 2021 on lock down, companies are preparing for remote and/or onsite internships. Since they are looking to hire, you should be looking for an opportunity – now.
The Good News
The good news: companies just went through this last summer. Look, summer 2020 was a dumpster fire and everyone was just trying to survive. Companies scrambled to adapt and convert onsite internships into virtual and remote experiences. Six months later, they’ve been able to step back, evaluate and hopefully improve on their remote internships.
The other good news is that remote internships have opened up more opportunities for you! Gone will be the barriers of housing and travel. Many major brands and companies are located in big cities. Previously, that meant spending your internship pay check on housing and food. Other times, it meant not even applying to an internship because you couldn’t afford it. Right now, major brands and companies like VIACOMCBS and NBCUniversal are looking for fill valuable paid remote and virtual internships!
The internship world has opened up in ways like never before, at least for the short-term. For now, let’s take advantage of this season of COVID that has evened the playing field. So, if you don’t have deep pockets or responsibilities keeping you close to home, it’s time to shoot your shot.
Summer 2021 Internship Search Process
The summer 2021 internship search process itself hasn’t changed much. Every year, students search for internships and do the whole process over the phone and online. So, the summer 2021 internships search process definitely won’t be changing much this year.
Sites like indeed.com, internships.com, LinkedIn, idealist.org, Handshake and internfromhome.com are still the first stop for many students. Daily or weekly, search these sites using keywords like virtual, online, remote, or work from home. You will get many more results than in years past. Also, check to see if your college uses Handshake. Using Handshake will make applying to internships quick, and gives you access to virtual recruitment events.
My Diversity Internship Directory is a free comprehensive listing of internship opportunities specifically for Black, Latino and other traditionally underrepresented college students.
Tools for Your Internship Search
Before you dive head first into things, get the tools for your search ready. Schedule an appointment with your university career services office (probably virtual). Learn about any virtual career fairs, recruitment events, alumni hosted interview days and other resources they provide. Put your tuition dollars to work! Also, career services should be your first stop for getting your resume and cover letter together.
Once you are resume ready, set up your LinkedIn profile and get to work. Don’t forget to create a targeted list of companies and when possible, apply directly to them rather than through job boards. Target companies are teh top companies you plan to research and apply to. Follow those same companies on Twitter, Instagram and other social media outlets. A lot of companies use social media to post about internships, application deadlines and sometimes the offer behind the the scenes internship info.
Network, Network, Network
Networking can really help your internship search. Networking could be the key for you finding an internship or job in the future. It is less intimidating when you understand what networking it is all about. Networking is not about attending an event and collecting all the business cards that you can. Networking is about creating relationships and developing real connections. Start with your existing network that is probably bigger than you think. Your network could include:
- high school teachers
- your parents friends
- your friends parents
- church members
- fraternity or sorority members
- professional organization members
Let them know how things are going, what you are studying, how have you spent your time in 2020, are you in class or remote learning, your future aspirations and the type of internship you are looking for. Even if they don’t have an internship, they will keep you in mind for an opportunity that they may hear about. It’s like having an army of job seekers on the lookout for you. You can also network via LinkedIn.
Keep an eye out and keep your ears open.
The Bad News
The bad news is that there just might be fewer summer 2021 internships around. Small businesses are the life blood of the economy. There is an estimate that as many as 60% of small businesses will close their doors this year and not reopen. Certain industries have been decimated like hospitality and travel. As a result, some smaller, great, local internships will no longer be available. For some companies whose doors have remained open, paying additional staff for summer 2021 internships is not on the table.
The result, there will likely be fewer internships available and the competition for those few openings will be tougher. To stand out, you will need to have your stuff together. The other likely situation, after years of making strides on the need for internships to be paid, we might see a resurgence of unpaid internships.
As you navigate through this process, there are some things that have obviously changed. Remote internships remove the housing and travel barrier, but it also can create barriers for students who fail to demonstrate certain skills. You need at least basic technical skills to work from home.
Remote internships mostly require reliable internet access, assigned times to be online, and can be less interactive and more project based placements. Working from home will still require a quiet place, much like your need for space to study.
New Indsutries, New Opportunities
Think about the new opportunities and the industries that are thriving. Opportunities in social media, marketing, coding, web design, front end and back end development, information technology, research and the list goes on. We’ve seen companies like Zoom explode as an online meeting platform, online gaming is at a high, online teaching platforms, cloud computing, e-commerce, home entertainment, manufacturing and biotechnology.
Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to investigate and discover industries and positions you have’t thought of before. If you can’t fit in a technical class next semester, there are plenty of free online classes to learn new skills from places like Coursera.
A Different Kind of Process
While the initial search and interview process itself may have not changed much, the interview questions and concerns have. You should ask questions about the internship structure, work hours, how often you will participate in meetings and how they will make interns feel included on the team. Will you be working with other interns? How often will you meet with your manager?
Online internships offer the convenience of staying home, but present the challenge of connecting with others. The better internship programs will work hard to ensure that interns can feel as part of the team as possible.
With the fluid nature of life in the next 6-12 months, it will be important to know if or how things could change. If life is closer to normal this summer, could the internship go from remote to onsite? If you are asked to be onsite, what are the rules for social distancing? Make sure you ask when decisions on the in-person vs remote internships will be made. These are not questions anyone would have asked a year ago, but they are part of our reality for the moment.
If you get an internship, make sure you stay in contact with human resources and your immediate manager for any news.
Finding summer 2021 internships doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. If you start searching now, get your resume in order, practice interviewing and do your research, you will have better results. Stay focused and take action!
Download my Internship Tracker with a free resume template to stay organized and maximize every moment of this process!