What’s Next for Students Planning Summer Internships?

Many students who planned on summer internships and the chance to build professional relationships saw those hopes dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But there are new opportunities in virtual internships, and experts say the skill sets gained in these unusual times may come in handy for future jobs.

Data from Glassdoor Economic Research shows one in two internship openings closed since the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. began. Internship hiring fell 39% in April, compared to last year. Internships in travel and tourism industries were the hardest hit with a 92% drop, according to Glassdoor.

Experts say employers across multiple industries are hosting virtual internships and students can still gain valuable experience, even if they’re missing out on in-person coaching.

Christine Cruzvergara is a vice president at Handshake, a platform connecting college students with internships and jobs. She says the flexibility this moment calls for is attractive to employers. “Change is a muscle, and I think the generations that have to enter a workforce that is difficult, they are actually utilizing that muscle, and that will actually set them up very well for the future,” she says.

Cruzvergara recommends students focus on what they can control, like completing online profiles and reaching out to peers and alumni to build a network.

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