Internships, Internship Opportunities and other Alternatives during the Pandemic

If you are graduating year or if you are a recent graduate, this week’s blog is for you. Literally, everyone who understands your situation right is people who graduated during the Great Depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1933. But, here’s the thing, if you are a fresh graduate looking for an internship with a reputable firm to kick-start your career or get an entry into the corporate world and suddenly you’re feeling like your plans gone into limbo due to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are not alone. Internships plans for graduates and students around the world have been disrupted by the spread of the coronavirus. Companies have also noticed that interest in internships have also declined in the past season. In mid-March, number of visits on internship portals, such as has decreased by 21% from the previous year during the same time and internships have been traditionally been the most popular way setting one’s foot in the corporate world.

But as a new graduate, if you are also wondering if there are internships available, you should know that it is not easy to find one as well. Companies are also adjusting to this unprecedented situation. While the trend until 2019 was that the number of available internships would peak from March-April, the same has not been case over the summer. But as the year is coming to a close, there will be opportunities opening up if you know where to look. As companies have moved out of their office spaces and adopted remote working or WFH situations, internships have also moved online and become remote. It means that you should be ready to look for opportunities outside your city or even your country. Also, there are many alternatives to internships, which are just as good. Here are some suggestions as to what you can look for.

Search for remote Internships globally, nationally and locally

Search for internships using the keywords “remote”, “virtual” or “online”. Remote internships are still a great alternative to traditional internships in order to experience and exposure. As the term suggests, the internship is going to be remote and hence your array of options to apply to becomes wider your market now includes non-local jobs as well. These openings very well may set the stage for your future career prospects through internal recruitments and industry connections. Also, if you are considering this, apply for a wider range of roles that you would not normally do pre-pandemic, given that you are qualified for the role.

Find a small-time interim job or for the time being.

If you are comfortable with it, you may also consider applying for small-time jobs for this period of time. Jobs that may not be too demanding but may offer you the chance to learn something new and upgrade your existing soft skills as there might be plenty small-business owners actively hiring for such roles. These part-time or seasonal jobs, as commonly known, may not be what you had planned for after you have graduated, but these can support you financially during this time of uncertainty until you can land an internship. These interim jobs do not have to be something aligns with your intended career path but may provide with a competitive advantage in the future. The willingness to take up any meaningful job during uncertain times shows character on your part and will impress your employers as it will reflect in your resume in the form of no employment-gap during the time. It will show that you are adaptable and ready to overcome any unpredictability. 

Consider taking up professional development short-courses

If your goal for the consecutive 2-3 months of graduation was for developing your professional skills, short term academic courses are a viable option. Expats in the UAE who were laid off or asked to work from home at the beginning of March this year, were given the same advice. As it was a time of uncertainty, and also they were enjoying a lot of spare time at hand, the best use of this time was to improve your academic qualifications. The professional upgrade and achievement of certifications will improve your future prospects and there is no guarantee that you might be able to find this kind spare time during the day for yourself.

Bear in mind that this can potentially add to your debts. Hence, choose only such courses that are affordable to you and has the most advantage to you professionally or personally. The cost factor for these courses varies depending on the platform you would choose. You may want to explore research grants, scholarships, financial aids and/or COVID-19 relief measures offered.

Online networking and making connections

Also, a professional career development also most certainly depends on the connections you have in the industry. This is especially true in the UAE and we cannot stress this fact enough. Explore the different online networking site, specifically LinkedIn, to connect with industry leaders, recruiters and companies. If you do not have one already, create a professional social media account on platforms that are appropriate for your field of interest. Make connections, ask for remote informational interviews and meet people who share your interests and career goals online instead of in-person.