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I’ve had several questions come across my inbox about what COVID-19 means for the world of internships, so we’re going to dig into this topic today.

We all know what’s been going on over the last several weeks, so there’s no need to rehash the coronavirus itself. What I do want to make note of though is the fact that as a response to COVID-19, many businesses are now operating with 100% remote team members. 

Although there are some internships that have always been completed remotely, most have been in-person at a company office. 

So, if nobody is going to be in the offices this summer, what does this mean for you and your internship? 

You may also be interested in 5 Best Practices For Working Remotely As An Intern 

How Will Companies Handle Internships If All Team Members Are Still Working Remotely?

Each company is going to handle this differently. However, I expect most businesses to honor their commitments to any interns already hired for the summer. These interns would then complete their internships remotely. 

Although, there is one upfront challenge with interns working remotely in a time of social distancing. If a company doesn’t operate with a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model—where you log into the company’s network with your own computer—then the company will need to find a way to send equipment to their interns. 

If this isn’t possible, then a company may have no choice but to cancel their upcoming internships. 

On the flip side, if companies haven’t filled their internship openings yet, it’ll be much easier logistically for them to put their internship program on hold. 

I wouldn’t agree with this though because I believe companies can make this work. And, what better way to build company confidence than overcoming a challenge like this. Plus, it will show commitment and dedication to the interns.  

What Should You Do If You Have An Internship Lined Up For The Summer Already?

Let’s say you already have an internship lined up for the summer. What should you be doing right now? 

I feel that it’s perfectly okay for you to check-in with your hiring manager and see how things are going with them personally and at the company. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, you can ask about how things may change with the internship you’re scheduled to start this summer.

Ultimately, you want to get a feel for whether your internship may be canceled. The sooner you can find this out the better so you can start searching for another internship opportunity—if necessary. 

If you do end up heading into a remote internship, be sure to check out my post on the 5 Best Practices For Working Remotely During An Internship.

What If You Don't Have An Internship Lined Up Yet?

No internship lined up yet? No problem at all. 

Now is a great opportunity for you to reach out to an endless number of companies and offer to help them out. Many companies are struggling right now in our current economic climate, and this means they may not be hiring.  

So, you may need to work with companies for a very low wage or even offer to help them out for free. 

I’m a big advocate of experience over paycheck as an intern. As I always say, money is infinite, but your time is finite. So, don’t waste your time trading an internship for a paycheck. 

In times like this where you may be working remotely, companies need to ensure the candidate is someone they can trust. This means you need to be a self-starter, highly accountable, and organized.

These are three things to showcase during an interview. 

Be sure to provide examples of how you’ve been a self-starter, how you’ve been accountable, and how you are organized. These examples will help illustrate and prove your value to the organization. 

The Bottom Line

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now due to COVID-19, but this doesn’t need to be a negative. There are plenty of opportunities out there for both intern candidates and companies alike.

If you’re an intern candidate, use this as an opportunity to check-in with your hiring manager and see how they and the company are doing.

If you’re a college student still seeking an internship, then get busy reaching out to companies and offer to help in any way you can. And remember, you need to be open to offering up your services for cheap (or free) because in most cases the experience will far outweigh a paycheck. 

Now is your opportunity to gain an edge on others.


Ryan has been heavily involved in the world of Information Technology and entrepreneurship since the early 2000s. From small business consulting to Fortune 500 IT leadership, Ryan has a wide array of tech industry knowledge. Ryan has his BBA and MBA from the University of Iowa. Connect with Ryan on Twitter or Instagram.

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