COVID-19 closes doors on certain internship opportunities, but students may find ways to be proactive

COVID-19 closes doors on certain internship opportunities, but students may find ways to be proactive
While some companies are on a hiring freeze, essential job employers are currently hiring. (Source: wwsb)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - When looking for a job, having experience to put on a resume is invaluable. Students across central Virginia and the country are now worried those crucial experiences are out of reach as the pandemic closes doors on certain opportunities.

Whether students were still applying or already set up with an internship when the pandemic struck, many are in a tough spot.

Students who had internships set up for the summer are now hearing their experience is being moved online or cancelled completely.

“Its not easy," Charlottesville native and Elon sophomore AJ Mincer said. "It’s definitely hard and people are feeling like they are in a hard place dealing with it.”

Even though many students feel derailed by pandemic, Everette Fortner with the University of Virginia’s Career Center thinks it can still be a productive summer.

“Even if you don’t have that internship, this summer can be a time when you can still get experience or build skills,” Fortner said.

He said there are opportunities out there, they just might not be what students originally had in mind.

“We have surveyed and started calling all of our company partners and alumni partners, and identified a couple of hundred projects that are from two to six weeks that a student can work on.”

Mincer worries the pandemic will have a lasting impact.

“It’s not great and I just feel like it is going to make everything more competitive next summer because so many people missed out this summer,” Mincer said.

Fortner advises taking a course or two online or reaching out to alumni who can help students find virtual work. He believes something is better than nothing.

“Employers are gonna look back on a student’s record particularly this summer and say were they productive, did they make use of it," Fortner said. "There’s lots of opportunities for third-years to build skills and get something on their resume”

Fortner still thinks employers will be understanding given the circumstances of this summer.

“Companies are all going to look back on this summer and know that it wasn’t a usual summer for students, so if you didn’t have that blue chip internship that’s okay.”

UVA’s Career Center is launching a series of “Hoos in your Network” events to help students find internship opportunities through LinkedIn and Virginia alumni mentoring.

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