COVID-19 Internships Update: What to Know Right Now

by Amanda Asquith, Internship and Experience Manager at UC Santa Barbara
Friday, April 03, 2020 8:49 AM

Below is a recent blog post ​featured in the Gaucho Blog by Amanda Asquith, Internship and Experience Manager at UC Santa Barbara.  

With the recent change of moving to remote learning, and with many companies moving to remote work, you may be wondering how this might affect your spring or summer internships. Below is more information what you can do now and how you can be proactive regarding gaining internship experience:

  • If You Have a Spring Internship or Already Secured a Summer Internship: If you haven’t already, immediately reach out to your Internship Supervisor to touch base.  Questions to ask include:
    • Has your company moved to working from home?
    • How is my internship impacted by recent company changes?

Given the state of California’s orders to stay at home except for essential needs, if the company has not moved to remote work yet we encourage considering your own safety and the safety of others by having a conversation about when that will happen.

  • Some employers may already have plans for how you, their intern, can work from home.  Others may still be scrambling to figure this out. If this is the case for you, we recommend asking:
    • How can I help your company at this time with projects you may need assistance with?  Here are some examples of projects that I can help with…

By asking the question of how you can help provide value to your employer, the employer sees that you are taking initiative.  If you also can provide them with ideas of projects you can assist with, this helps them know how you can still work remotely as an intern. 

  • For some, your internship may have been cancelled.  If that is the case, do not lose hope! There are other ways to gain experience:
    • Career Services has recently partnered with Parker Dewey to offer micro internships!  Micro-Internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns. These projects enable students to demonstrate skills, explore career paths, and build their networks as they seek the right full-time role.  To learn more and to sign-up, visit our website.
    • You can work on personal projects from home that definitely count as experience on your resume!  Personal projects can be anything from writing a research paper, creating an app, building a website, writing a blog post or article, creating a practice business plan or model, you name it?  Looking for more ideas? Feel free to schedule an appointment (select "Career Center," then select "Appointments") with a Career Counselor in your career path of interest.
    • Since you’re already getting used to taking academic courses online, consider building career skills as well!  You can learn business fundamentals, how to code, data science techniques, a new language and more. Most of these courses are free, and some even offer certificate programs.  Learn more about these courses and programs on our website.
    • Perform an informational interview.  This is a great way to build your network while also getting to learn more about a chosen career path AND it can be done virtually or over the phone.

If You’re Looking for A Summer Internship:

  • As of right now, companies are still hiring for summer interns, and many are hiring for remote internships.  While this may have slowed some, there are still many internship positions posted right now.  To look for summer internships, start by checking out Handshake, Career’s job and internship posting board and also check out our Internships section on our website for other search tips.
    • Keep in mind: With remote internships, especially unpaid remote internships, it is important to make sure that you are still getting good experience from it.  Ask yourself:
      • Will I have supervision and mentorship?
      • Will I be given training and feedback?
      • Does this internship seem like a lot of busy work and not a good way to build skills?

The answers to these questions will help you determine if this is a worthwhile opportunity for you to pursue or not.

  1. Use our services and resources to help with your search! You can schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor (select "Career Center," then select "Appointments"), check out our Career Manual or look at our website.
  2. If you are ever unsure of an internship or job, or it seems too good to be true, make sure to know our Job Search Safety Tips by checking out our website.  If you have questions, you can always contact us.

And finally…

If you are planning to get or have already secured an unpaid summer internship, apply for the Graduate Student Internship Fellowship! Career Services is offering upto 5 fellowships for students for Summer/Fall 2020. Make an experience happen for you and apply by April 19th!