Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, many internships are being rescinded. Companies are cutting their labour force to save costs and many people have begun to work from home. For many of us, the outbreak of a global pandemic means that most of our plans have been cancelled or disrupted. In a time of fear and uncertainty, it seems like all these opportunities have been taken away. As the job market is drastically altered, many students have been left asking the question, “what now?”
Many are feeling lost and overwhelmed as they find themselves in a helpless position. To all the students out there, all is not lost. This is the time to pivot quickly and forge a new path. Whether you are a freshman or a graduating senior, do not waste this time. You can use this time for personal reflection and growth. Crises can be a call-to-action to create new opportunities for yourself to enhance your career skillsets. Here are some things you can do to build a bridge towards a successful career:
- Launch your own initiatives
If internship opportunities are not working out, create your own project! Work on that idea that you’ve buried at the back of your head and solve a problem you or people in your community are facing. Turn your passion into action by launching your own projects. This can come in the form of starting your own website, nonprofit, or hosting community-based events. Think about what you are passionate about, and how you can explore it while doing some good in the world. Be your own entrepreneur and gain skills you’ve never thought you would have acquired. Launching your own initiative might give you an edge over others after this pandemic is over. Doing your own projects and creating a new frontier of possibilities might just be the best thing you’ve ever done.
- Adopt a Resilient Mindset
Given that you’ve lost your internship opportunities, it can be extremely frustrating. However, it is not your fault and it is also not in your control. You have the ability to control how you want to map your career trajectory. Take this time to personally reflect on the strengths and skills that you have. Next, explore the skills that you want to acquire as you build your career. Reflect on the goals that you have in mind and work towards them by reinforcing existing strengths, working on areas of improvement, or build a new skillset. Beef up in-demand skills by taking a class through a free platform like edX or Coursera. Take a course in data science, coding, or social media, and add your new skill to your resume. Doing things that you have never done before opens up access to opportunities that you would not have previously.
- Build your Network
Enhance your existing network through Linkedin and online networking sessions. Reconnect with teachers, family friends and contact alumni in careers of interest. Maximize your school’s alumni network and tap people for information about careers. Consider career possibilities by talking to people who have a good understanding of the job and the state of the industry. This is a unique situation where many people are working from home and may have more time and flexibility to provide career advice.
- Identify Rising Industries
Identify industries that are expanding quickly in this uncertain environment, they are the industries that are going to define the post-pandemic world. A few examples include telemedicine, video conferencing, online educational and streaming platforms, digital marketing, cybersecurity, subscription and delivery services, and social networking platforms. Explore if these companies have internships or part-time opportunities available. As avid consumers of social media as well as educational and online streaming platforms, we might bring unique insights and expertise to the table.
- Participate in Virtual Internships
Take part in a remote internship with another company to gain new skills. As the pandemic rages on, many companies are starting to work from home. You may be able to intern in social media, which will let you flex your communication skills and practice event marketing. By focusing on your transferable skills which could be honed remotely, you can still have a great internship experience. Just because your internship is cancelled, that does not mean that everything is unable to go as planned.
As a student, cancelled internship opportunities can have a sense of ominousness. It may feel that the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed our plans. However, that does not have to be the case. A post-pandemic world will bring about a new normal and rising opportunities. We are living in a new world, and it is up to our willingness to embrace it.
Lastly, if you feel too wrung out in these uncertain times, feel free to sit on your couch and relax. There is no harm in taking this time to chill and readjust your goals. Do not ever feel obliged to have to be productive just because others are doing so.
MatcHub matches talents with companies using intelligent job matching algorithm that profiles candidates based on their career aspirations, personality and soft skills, in addition to their CV and experiences. Through MatcHub, recruitment process is more efficient and fairer.