By Amber Hunsicker
Currently, many students are facing a major crisis in continuing their journey to success. Due to COVID-19, securing an internship, a helpful tool to prepare for future careers and gain experience, has become much harder.
According to Forbes article, “Covid-19 And the Lost College Internship” by Michael T. Nietzel, “Glassdoor estimated that half of the internships in the U.S. were canceled in the spring, and internship hiring on Glassdoor for April 2020 fell 39% compared to April 2019.”
I, personally, have been searching for a paid internship in real estate law for Summer 2021 or Fall 2021. When I reached out to my professors and the Career Development Center, they confirmed that finding an internship is more difficult now,but it’s not impossible. Still, a plan was formed so that I could hopefully find a position.
If you are looking for an internship and are having difficulties, here are some tips for you to try:
- Find a professor in your major that you currently work with and wouldn’t mind working with in the future: Talk to them and tell them about what you’re searching for, why and ask them if they could help or if they have any advice for finding this type of position. (Try to schedule a meeting with your professor prior to this discussion, so you both can be prepared).
- Reach out to the Career Development Center: The CDC is free to students and their goal is to help you plan and prepare for your future career. They have events posted on their website and on Engage Their events teach soft skills: how to build a resume/cover letter, internship and job fairs, and so much more. You can also schedule a meeting with one of their staff members to help find your career path. Most importantly, the CDC has a very useful resource for all students, Handshake. Similar to LinkedIn, you can use it as an app or in browser, and it provides you with internship opportunities, part-time positions and full-time positions.
- Create a resume and cover letter: I have attached images of the samples that KU provides and highly recommend you create both and post them on Handshake. The Handshake app can be extremely useful throughout the process of searching for an internship, as the CDC uses it to review your resumes and cover letters. (You can also post transcripts and other documents.) Then, they will be reviewed by staff and returned with revision comments.
- Create a list of ten places you would love to work for. Do not worry about if the places are hiring at the moment, just search based off what you are looking for from an internship (e.g., location, size, reputation, etc.).
- Write a letter of inquiry: This is something that the CDC would more than likely be able to help you with, but my professor is helping me, so feel free to reach out and ask people for help. A letter of inquiry is simply a letter for all ten places you picked and telling them you are searching for an internship and would like to know if they have any opportunities. Worst thing that can happen is they all say they are not hiring for internships. You have nothing to lose.
- If you do not hear back from the locations you reached out to in a week, call them to follow up.
- If they all come back and are not providing internships, go back to step one. This time, though, consider putting in for a part-time position (the hours are roughly the same if this is a concern).
- If it is mandatory that you complete an internship, follow steps one and two and make sure to respectfully stress any and all of your concerns.
KU is a family, a very small, tightly connected community. With that, everyone wants to see you succeed. So, do not be afraid to ask for help and utilize all the resources you have on and off campus. After all, you pay for them, so use them while you can. I promise, they will help.