The COVID-19 pandemic has left countless students and young professionals home without internships and jobs. Many companies have transitioned successfully to remote internship programs and jobs, but not everyone has had the ability to continue working from home. In this indefinite limbo of staying home during the pandemic, here are some ways we have identified to engage your interns professionally and prepare yourself for the post-COVID-19 work environment, research future career opportunities, and build your personal brand.
1. Resume Reconstruction
Encourage interns to reach out to a friend, university career center employee, or another trusted mentor to thoroughly review their resume. Focus on choosing the most important work and internship experience items to display on your resume and using strong action verbs to showcase these items. Be sure to scour the document for any small grammar mistake or inaccuracy, as these are easy ways to have your resume tossed out of the pile immediately.
Have interns create a list of companies that they aspire to work for or top-ranked companies within the industry they desire to enter. Use LinkedIn to find companies and record potential connections you have with any employees at these companies. Interns should send a short message to potential connections and request an informational interview. Industry knowledge and personal networking connections go a long way!
3. Contact List Building
Compile the names, emails, phone numbers, and additional information of former employers, mentors, university faculty, informational interview candidates, etc. into a spreadsheet to keep track of those who have been helpful to your career search and work experience growth. Stay in touch with a few mentors and regularly seek advice for next steps.
4. Build Your Brand
Whether it be financial modeling, journalism, painting, or any other career interest, start to build your brand by working on projects that support your career goals. Start a blog, create a portfolio, design new products or trade stocks – anything to stand out in the internship application process and prove you mean business.
5. Skill Training
Utilize the countless internet certification programs to train yourself in a computer, software, artistic, or professional skill that you have been desiring to better yourself at. Many companies are offering their courses free during the pandemic, so take advantage of these opportunities.
There are many other active ways to stay engaged in professional development, but these five will be a great start. Kickstart your own success and aim for growth in this unprecedented environment.