Updated: Feb 8, 2021
It has been almost a year since the first outbreak of COVID-19 has spread across the globe. The effects of the pandemic highly varied from health to the economic sectors. In the United States, 13% of students have delayed their graduation, 40% lost a job, internship, and offer. Furthermore, 29% of students expect to earn less at age 35. Consequently, these outcomes cause difficulties to many graduates and students searching to gain professional experiences, such as getting internships.
Internships are well-known to be a stepping stone for gaining new professional experience. Traditionally, it is one of the most popular ways to try on a potential career path and a place to demonstrate your real-life work experience. Since the regulation and protocols of COVID-19 have been limiting employers to navigate work from the office, traditional internship opportunities are getting fewer to arise. However, we’ve put in some thought over this problem by finding other alternative ways for you to gain professional experience. So, here are the five alternatives that you can try to acquire in this unprecedented situation.
Leverage your current job
If you’re currently working, keep in mind that many employers are open-minded about their staff taking on new skills-based projects or providing assistance with tasks outside of your current role’s function. Perhaps you can try taking initiatives within the team by offering them other help. For example, creating an event proposal to be discussed with your coworkers or networking to gain different insights and perspectives about your passion. Building new skills in a current position can also be a time-efficient way to get relevant experience. Plus, it develops your brand at work!
Get familiar with Microinternships
Micro-internships are project-based or short-term professional engagements that can help you build your skills, explore different career paths, gain new experience, and build your network while seeking a full-time job or internship. They can be remote and are often paid. Unlike traditional internships, micro-internships can take place about a year-round, typically ranging from 5 to 40 hours of work. For example, Parker Dewey is one of the most recently known micro-internships. Micro-internships can also be arranged by networking with employers or organizations.
Create your own internship
If you’re having trouble landing an internship or can’t find one that interests you, why not create your own? Yes, we’re not joking. Creating your own internship sounds taboo, but in this way, you could definitely challenge yourself on a much bigger scale of professional experience by standing out and being bold with the knowledge and skills that you already have. We’ve highlighted some tips for you to start making the content for an email you might want to submit to an organization where you would like to intern. The submission can be addressed to a particular staff member, an internship coordinator, or the “info@” email address. Your choice!
• Identify yourself and indicate that you are seeking an internship host.
• Describe what kind of projects you are both equipped and interested in taking on.
• Provide evidence of your capacity to perform these projects.
• Indicate your interest and passion for the specific organization.
• Attach your resume.
• Conclude with an offer of more information and request an opportunity to speak further.
Passion projects or volunteer experience
One of the great alternatives is to building skills through self-driven projects and adding them to your portfolio. You might want to start getting serious with your wild, crazy ideas on a creative project that you’ve been thinking about for a while. Moreover, start being aware of any offers and specific services in a community organization, perhaps developing a logo for a non-profit or helping local charities while gaining more network. Tap into the things you care about, are interested in, and communities you felt comfortable with as a part of generating your project ideas. The tip is to keep yourself accountable and fuel your passions by seeking collaborations or sharing your work on social media!
Learn some new skills
We recommend you conduct some research to get an idea of the kinds of skills that would make you feel more competitive and fueled for a future job. You can try assessing online and free personality tests to gain knowledge about yourself and your interests, such as the Myers-Briggs Indicator Test (MBTI) or the Big Five Personality. After you seek yourself and are aware of what fuels you, start acquiring those new skills to give you an edge in the job market and show your dedication to learning new things. We have some online resources that you might want to check for upskilling.
• LinkedIn Learning
• Professional Organizations
• Khan Academy
All of the alternatives above are just some excellent ways to gain professional experiences while having through a pandemic. Of course, the circumstances can be varied and challenging for certain people. But leaping faith to the uncertainty is better than staying where you are, right? When you still find yourself having difficulties, try networking with your colleagues or ask for remote informational interviews with a professional that shares the same interests as you. If you’re interested in knowing how to start networking, read our previous blog posts, and stay tuned for more career development topics! Don't forget to follow us on Instagram @baikgp & @ayureadypodcast !