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The Covid-19 pandemic is having a major impact on all aspects of the economy including college students seeking summer internships. In response, many employers made a shift so that interns, like full-time employees, could work virtually.

In addition to virtual (or remote) internships, "micro internship" gained traction. A micro internship is generally a short-term, discrete project that lasts between 1 week to 1 month. Last spring as many summer internships were being rescinded, some employers, alumni and others created micro internships for college students to gain some professional experience and enhance their resumes.

With so many college students taking classes remotely, delaying graduation, or taking a gap semester or a gap year, micro internships will likely gain in popularity. Internships are not just for summer anymore!

Read "Why Micro Internships Will Be the Next Big Thing"

How to find a remote, virtual, or micro internship?

Traditional job search sites such as Indeed.com, Monster.com, and LinkedIn.com are great sources for internship postings. There are currently thousands of opportunities listed on these sites, however, the listings are posted inconsistently.

In many cases, the posting includes the words "virtual" or "remote," but is not tagged on the website as such. When you apply the available filters, many of the internship opportunities do not show up. Also, there are inconsistencies across sites. For example, there is no tag or filter for "micro internship" on Indeed.com, but a quick search for this term shows more than 400 listings. Monster.com only list one.

Should college students use traditional job posting sites to search for internship opportunities even if there are inconsistencies?

Absolutely yes. There is a great opportunity for those who are resourceful and willing to spend the time necessary.

Generally speaking the term “personal branding” is the practice of positioning yourself as a commercial brand. Like Nike, Coke, Apple, you (as a professional) are also a brand. The definition of personal brand varies by industry and profession.

In a 1997 Fast Company article, “The Brand Called You,” Tom Peters coined the phrase “personal branding” and declared, “Starting today you are a brand. You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop.” Peters, a business management expert, is also the co-author of the best selling book, In Search of Excellence, which many consider to be one of the most important business books ever written.

To begin thinking of your professional self as a brand, ask yourself the following questions: What differentiates me as a professional? What qualities and capabilities do I want my colleagues and clients to associate with me as a professional? Do my day-to-day actions support my ideal personal brand?

Your personal brand in the workplace is how you define yourself as a professional and how you convey that definition to others. It is the standard you set and maintain for yourself in your career. The key to an effective personal brand is that your colleagues think of your brand in the same way you think of your brand. There may be a gap between how you define your personal brand and how others perceive it. If a gap exists, you must demonstrate the brand you desire to achieve through you actions.

There is never a better time to get started using LinkedIn then while you are still in college. Unlike Facebook, which you’ve probably used primarily for your social life, LinkedIn should be reserved for your professional life.  And even though you are a couple of years away from your first professional job, now is the time to start building your LinkedIn profile and network. LinkedIn is a very powerful business tool and a “must have” for all professionals. 

I recommend that by the beginning of junior year, you already have a finely tuned LinkedIn profile and that before graduation you have at least 100 LinkedIn connections.  It’s’ easier than you think. Here are the 4 basic steps:

  1. Since you will need to have a polished version of your resume before you graduate, you can save yourself a step when creating your LinkedIn profile. Begin with a well written copy of your resume. Many college career offices offer a free resume review service or you can hire a professional resume writer (most qualified resume writers carry the CPRW certification).

  2. Once you have your completed resume, create a LinkedIn account and upload your resume to create your initial profile. Revise your profile as necessary especially in the Additional Information section.

  3. Join at least five professional groups. Don’t know which groups to join?  Start with your college and/or alumni association. Add three others based on the career fields you are considering. Then, add one more based on volunteer work that you’ve done.

  4. Connect with at least 100 people. This might sound like a large number, but if you break it down, the number is manageable. Let’s assume you have four more semesters before graduation and you have five classes per semester. If you connect on LinkedIn with three of your classmates in each of your remain classes, that’s 60 people and be sure to include your professors which is another 20 people. You can easily find an additional 20 connections or more among your friends, roommates, teammates and fellow student group or student club members. That’s 100+!

You will be well on your way to your own professional network.

© 2020 Career Ready Coaching LLC