No internships during Covid-19? Why it doesn’t matter!
According to a recent study by Yello, 35% of all internships were canceled, and 24% went virtual. If you find yourself lost and bummed for losing your internships because of COVID-19, you are not alone. We know how stressed out you might be because you have no internships this summer. Fine, you are in the same boat as everybody, but that means zero growth, zero learning, zero experience gaining! Right? Wrong.
Probably one of the most underrated ways to gain valuable knowledge and make yourself stand out from the crowd, projects are your key to success for precisely this reason. Whatever field you may be in, projects are a surefire way to make the best use of your time nowadays. The key value that projects bring to your resume boils down to the difference between theoretical or bookish knowledge and practical knowledge. Experimenting with real-world applications through projects gives you access to insights that you might not even have gotten in an internship. Here are two possible fields you can experiment in using this approach, but this would give you a good idea of how to extend this to other fields.
This approach is most applicable to the field of computer science. If you are a CS major, then taking on a complex project from scratch will develop your problem-solving skills such that possibly no internship might have been done. Taking a deep dive into online communities, and exploring the vast repositories of knowledge for your specific programming language will expose you to a whole new world that you might have never encountered in your books.
Search alpha and beta
Perform fundamental analysis for the latest IPO. Or maybe delve into the reasons for the failure of Wirecard. If you belong to the field of finance, then you are very likely to have been a victim of the deep divide between practical finance and high-level theoretical models taught in books. The field is also very eventful in that it has a complex relationship with the real world, and that’s why setting out on a journey to understanding the latest finance news around you can be a good starting point to gain knowledge. Ideally, you should then zoom in to specific aspects of real-world news that allow you to acquire the technical knowledge needed to understand these issues.
The right skills can be a game changer
You may be thinking that this is probably the most mainstream way to make use of this time productively, you may be thinking about how it would make you stand out when everybody has access to this information. Well, there’s a catch: everybody can take the time out to learn a skill, but not everybody can have a focus that is so specific that they choose skills that are direct.ly relevant to their focus.
Here’s what this means. You should ensure that there is a direct relationship between your dream job roles and dream companies, and the skills you are accumulating. What this means is that you should carry out research on what technologies are best for performing tasks effectively and efficiently in the field, and then invest your time in learning them.
No internship is better than an irrelevant internship.
Amidst the lack of relevant opportunities you might be tempted by a chance to get into an internship that is irrelevant to your career goals, and learning goals. Maybe the company is badly organized, maybe they want you to perform secretarial tasks only, or maybe the job role is not even remotely related to your field. In such cases, you should resist the temptation to take the easy road, because if you do enroll in the internship, you will be in for a lot of regrets when you look back at it later.
Your network is your net worth
While internships may be a good way to make your resume stand out, your network is ultimately your net worth. You may be thinking about how realistic it is to develop and nurture professional relationships in quarantine. LinkedIn is an excellent tool to supercharge your network, find mentors, and engage in meaningful conversations. Although the returns will be slow and gradual, it only takes one connection to get the job you dreamed of, or the advice you always needed to hear!
Harness the power of LinkedIn
The LinkedIn search tool is an immensely valuable tool at your disposal. Use it to find out individuals working at your dream companies or in your dream roles. Check out their latest posts and activity to get a better understanding of what is going on in the specific industry. It always helps to engage with them through by making thoughtful comments on their posts. Once they start coming across your name in their notifications regularly, you can drop them a little private message to ask more about their industry, or their experience, or maybe just ways to stand out when applying for jobs.
Long term vision vs tunnel vision
A good mental tactic to quell your anxiety over not getting an internship is to put things in perspective for yourself. The longer that your scope of vision is, the less relevant your internships become to your success. Your work ethic, your persistence and your creativity are what ultimately help you outperform your peers. Inculcating habits that help you build these are a better way to strive for long term success than aiming for results in the form of getting internships.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of both the strategic actions and the mental models that you can adopt to get over this period of uncertainty with regard to your future!