Make the most out of this pandemic-wracked summer

This summer is a far cry from the ordinary environment for internships thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Half of student internships have been canceled. Many internships have become remote to accommodate public health concerns. But facing irregularities in the job market does not mean your resume should be empty this summer. This is the time to innovate and show potential employers that you can make the best of any situation by seeking an alternative to your original plan.

The shortfalls of this summer’s promised jobs provide a new type of opportunity. Students now have the chance to work on a venture of their own. Companies understand the circumstances this moment in history presents, and you can improve your chances to land a job by means other than tacking an internship onto your resume.

Students may be able to leverage their competence in technology to help businesses adapt during the pandemic. As companies gear up for extended work from home, students can aid businesses in navigating their increased reliance online and video conference companies like Zoom, which has seen a 222 percent increase in total login events from the end of February to the end of March. Even doctors are now meeting patients virtually for appointments. Technologically savvy individuals are needed to train workers in the use of these platforms as well as help to support people, like patients, trying to make use of them.

College students can create new, previously nonexistent jobs now that businesses face new social media demands. Food and clothing stores are transitioning online and have the challenge of reaching their customers. Clothing boutiques now need websites to sell their clothes and need help with website design. This younger generation is more aligned with this type of technology than any other. It is time to put those skills to use by offering to make Instagram accounts for restaurants and cafes to advertise their offerings, for example.

Those without jobs can also capitalize on new demand for goods and services driven by the pandemic. The elderly, at greater risk of mortality from COVID-19, are much less capable of fulfilling their needs at the moment. Anyone who can drive can create a business in which they buy groceries for the elderly. Companies are also unable to meet the demand for health supplies. Creating masks out of fabric and making your own hand sanitizer have become profitable as many products are on backorder for weeks.

Jobs in a student’s field of interest are not a priority – right now, you should show employers that you were productive during the summer despite the chaos. Various companies have experienced a surge in their customer demand and need more employees to keep up. More people are going to local hardware, grocery and big-box stores carrying essentials that have become overwhelmingly popular. These stores require more staff to stock shelves and help customers. Additionally, as people remain isolated in their homes, more delivery personnel are required. Students should seek these essential workplaces with the understanding that a job is a job.

The ideal job or internship may not be available during the pandemic, but students can use this time to polish the skills needed to land a job after. About 70 percent of jobs are found through networking, according to a 2016 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University, so consider reaching out to your connections to see if they have suggestions for how best you can offer your skills. Online classes also offer another boost to your resume. Getting closer to your degree and taking advantage of this time to focus on learning more is always an option. GW offers several courses over the summer for their students to take while the job market remains sluggish.

Now is the time to be innovative to fill your resume. You could start your own YouTube channel or continue writing for a school publication over the summer. Useful and fulfilling work can be achieved in many ways, and it is the student’s responsibility to find that opportunity.

Jane Cameron, a rising sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication, is a writer.

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