COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our daily lives and have brought experiences online that would typically be conducted in person. Internships are no excpetion. These are opportunities for remote internships in Summer 2020.

Changes to employers’ recruiting plans (as of May 1, 2020)

(Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers, n=439)

  • 46% are moving interns to a virtual program.
  • 41% are shortening the length of the internship.
  • 22% of internships have been revoked.

How Virtual Work Can Be Arranged

A virtual internship requires intentionality. Here are some factors to keep in mind.

When a virtual internship succeeds:

  1. Interns have access to management: Receives mentoring from senior-level employees.
  2. Interns feel like they were part of a team.
  3. Interns feel like they were treated like full-time employee.
  4. Interns were formally introduced to the organizational culture. (Lacking access to non-verbal communication by being on-line requires a formal briefing of the work culture so the intern can adapt better.)
  5. Constant feedback is given about performance and project instructions: check-ins on work progress should be frequent. Hourly, if necessary. Maybe, there is an "always-on" video room where the intern is able to see at least one other person working and they can inquire of them with questions.

How an internship can fall short:

  1. Inaccurate job description.
  2. Not having a helpful mentor.
  3. Not having a challenging assignment and tasks personalized to one’s strengths or skills.
  4. Not having enough to do.
  5. Lack of office context. The on-boarding process is insufficient, but it can be rectified with more intentional communication (such as procedures) and more team orientation.
  6. Inclusion issues (a lack of acknowledgement of the differences in each person’s home environment).

When employers are satisfied:

  1. Interns meet goals and finish projects.
  2. Interns are part of multiple projects and receive a full perspective.
  3. Employers learn something new, usually about new technology they weren’t aware of.
  4. Interns contribute to business problem-solving.
  5. Interns manage their manager well. They communicate their needs and tactfully express their opinions.

Additional tips can be found in the University of Wisconsin’s Guide to Virtual Internships during COVID-19 (PDF).

Resources

Handshake: The career management system used by NDMU. There are still thousands of jobs listed.

Riipen: Short-term project-based engagements that complement experiential learning.

ParkerDewey: A job site specialized in micro-internships. These are short-term, skill-based projects such as content development, social media, data analysis, building reports, and marketing.

Is my internship cancelled: A free, crowd-sourced record where students can report the offer status of their internship.

Remote Job Boards

There are several job websites that specialize in remote work. There may be opportunities that can qualify for internships.

Avoiding Scams

Resources to be Successful in Remote Work