How to Make up for a Virtual, Shortened, or Cancelled Summer Internship

Article by Caroline Winicki

From the moment we step onto Babson’s campus as incoming freshmen, we are thrust into a competitive, rigorous, and career-focused lifestyle. We chose Babson for this reason and are reminded every day that the entrepreneurial spirit of the school (should) never fail us. Yet, here we are, amid a global pandemic, struggling to figure out new social norms, returning to school, and what to do if our summer internships were moved remotely, shortened, or canceled. After months to years of hard work, many of us students have sought out, worked for, and received offers for prestigious internships. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been looking forward to proving yourself at a top company during your internship, with hopes of getting a full-time offer at the end of this summer. But, of course, COVID-19 had other plans for most of us, with many companies moving towards virtual, shortened, or canceled internships. Now, as we near the end of June, Babson students are trying to figure out how to work in this new world. While many students think that just because we’re at Babson, we should have had a backup plan or quickly found a new internship. But, I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly okay if you’re still struggling with how to cope with a career setback. There are so many little things you can do over this summer that will help you fill the void in your resume, build up your skillet, and make yourself ready for this next round of internship and job hunting!

Don’t Get (too) Discouraged/ Upset/ Angry

Not getting too discouraged is easier said than done. Trust me. When my internship was canceled, I felt all these emotions and was left floundering and worried for some time. But, as soon as I accepted the reality of my fate, I began to understand. It is tough for companies to support large internship programs during this time of economic distress and virtual work. Therefore, I had to acknowledge that there was no sound or right way for companies to approach this situation and that it was a difficult decision for them, too. As soon as I was able to comprehend that fact, I moved past my emotions and vowed not to let any disappointment deter me from my future career goals. In this situation, understanding and acceptance let me move past my initial feelings of hurt and move towards finding a way to better myself.

Try to Find an Alternative

Alright, so this step is also easier said than done. Alternative internships were scarce a few weeks ago and are even rarer now. But, no one said that you needed to find a new internship immediately (that is all in your head, trust me). Finding an alternative option for work is something that will keep you busy this summer. Whether it be working at a restaurant, taking a job at a local store, or becoming a delivery driver, there are plenty of places looking to hire young people. Plus, by taking on a new job, you are showing your resilience, flexibility, determination, and work ethic- all things a future employer will be able to tell.

Brush up your Skills

You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times, too. But, I’ll take it upon myself to be more specific for you. Skillset needed for jobs can differ by field. If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s that you will need Excel skills no matter what field of business you are going in to. There are so many free Excel classes online that you can take in your free time. This is an additional skill you can add to your resume and an additional skillset you can brag about in your next interview.

Take Online Certifications

Even if you’re still working your internship remotely or have a late start date, you will have the extra time (commute time!) to take an online certification. Similar to learning new skills, taking online certifications is another thing you can add to your resume and say you did this summer. If you’re passionate about a field of business, there are so many certifications on LinkedIn, HubSpot, and many other platforms that will keep you busy for quite some time, while teaching you valuable business lessons, all for free!

Join Career Webinars

With our lives being conducted in virtual reality, what’s one more Zoom meeting or video recording? I’ve been fortunate enough to have weekly webinars with the company I was supposed to intern with. But, many others may not be as lucky and are looking for a way to gain more in-depth insight into their future career path. So, stay on the lookout for emails from Babson’s career center with invitations to webinars and meetings where you can find industry-specific advice. There are so many resources out there to help students like us, so don’t be afraid to make the most of them- it’ll help you better understand if you want to work in a specific industry, even if you don’t have the first-hand experience to back it up!

Fix up your Resume

While it may have been painful to erase your beloved internship from you’re LinkedIn and Resume, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to do that. If you signed an offer for an internship, feel free to list it on your resume, still! That should look something like this: XYZ Company - Internship offer accepted. Canceled due to COVID-19 - Summer 2020. And, while you’re adding that to your resume, take some time to add new things and clean it up, so that it is ready for the 2021 season!

Start Searching Early

Using your extra free time to find industries, cities, companies, and potential job openings is a great way to start your next job/ internship hunt early. Even if companies don’t have updated offerings out, just yet, you can still familiarize yourself with job and internship requirements so that you can be an excellent fit for that position!

Make the Most of It

Another cliché, here… But, if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far this summer is that there are a lot of life lessons we can be utilizing right now. Take some time to appreciate the simpler things in life: more time at home with your loved ones, the great outdoors, new self-care tactics, or even the power of a good book. Try to take some time off from this hectic and uncertain time by appreciating others around you and what you already have.

I hope these little tidbits of (unsolicited) career advice are helpful to my fellow students. If you got only one thing out of this, I want you to know that you’re not alone, and so many others are feeling the same way you are, right now!