Roar writer Amiya Johar provides some advice on finding remote internships this summer.
Being a student is hard. Being a student in a global pandemic is even harder. With a turbulent global economy, dwindling employment opportunities, lockdown restrictions, and an increasingly competitive job market, internships have become evasive. In countries with lingering Covid-19 restrictions, students are afflicted with the seemingly endless stretch of idle summer months. Remote internships are the guaranteed remedy to this boredom (even if they’re not how you envisioned spending summer break), but most importantly, they can kickstart your career. Welcome to your guide on how to nab the elusive remote internship this summer.
1. Reflect and research
It’s crucial that you do some self-reflection to determine which field you’d like to pursue an internship in. Align your chosen field with your higher education studies, wherever possible, to maximise your chances of receiving a callback. However, internships are also an ideal opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in an industry divergent from your degree. Peruse job search websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor, leveraging the filter function to narrow your results to remote roles you’d genuinely be interested in. Explore the intern positions offered in your chosen field to identify the transferable skills you possess that employers are searching for – everyone’s got them. Additionally, some employers may not offer monetary incentive, but you might gain invaluable industry experience. Determine beforehand whether you would be willing and able to accept an unpaid internship.
2. Revamp your résumé
If you don’t already have a résumé, this is the ultimate time to create one. If you do have one, review and restructure it to perfectly suit the roles you’re eyeing for. Generally, it’s a good idea to prioritise relevant work experience on your résumé. Include concise bullet points, elaborating each prior role, describing the responsibilities undertaken and skills you have gained. Highlight soft employability skills, structure according to relevance rather than chronology, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
3. Make cold emails your best friend!
The ever-daunting cold email: often discounted as ineffective, it unjustly has a bad reputation. If done right, unsolicited emails to employers that interest you can land you your dream role. First, identify companies and employers that impress you and research the right staff member to contact in order to express your interest in the organisation and their work. Compose a formal email: introduce yourself, elucidate on your achievements and experience, and detail what you can contribute to the company. Don’t forget to state specific reasons explaining why you’re drawn to that particular organisation. Lastly, attach your résumé, along with any recommendation letters you may have previously received.
However, be cautious about sounding pompous; market yourself while also exhibiting an eagerness to learn, explaining why your chosen organisation will help you realise your goals. Be courteous, convey enthusiasm, and express an earnest expectation for a response. With some persistency, cold emails are bound to be rewarding – they demonstrate proactiveness, passion, and confidence. Especially during the ongoing pandemic, some employers may happily welcome an extra pair of hands. Cold emails are particularly useful for aspiring freelancers.
You can also leverage technology to network from home with industry professionals and employers on social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc. You may not always land an internship, but you’ll create a valuable professional connection that can serve your career in the future.
4. Quality control for your application
When applying to an advertised internship, carefully examine the job responsibilities and preferred skills. This will help you determine how to display your employability to an organisation as much as possible. Tailor your résumé to each application. Foreground the advertised skills to ensure your résumé grabs employers’ attention at first glance. The same applies to cover letters, where you should also research the organisation diligently to mention two to three specific reasons you’re inclined to work there. Don’t forget to include valid contact details with each application – the most frustrating rookie mistake!
Finding an internship, especially during these times, is all about patience and persistence. Whether this is your first internship or your fifth, remember that you possess lucrative employability skills; it’s only a matter of identifying them. And, whether you’ve had prior work experience at the BBC or at the local grocery store, it’s all about marketing yourself effectively.