Barrett internship coordinator offers tips for staying engaged, active and positive in your job and internship search amid coronavirus pandemic

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May 21, 2020

As a university student, summertime is a chance for you to explore and be involved in opportunities directly related to your professional development and career aspirations.  For many of you, it is the only time during the year to focus on opportunities without the distraction of other responsibilities, such as classes. Summer 2020, however, is already proving to shake out differently due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Concerns about coronavirus have forced many industries to rethink and adjust their in-person office environments and move employees to remote work. Employers are adapting or canceling summer internship and research opportunities, leaving you and your fellow students in a precarious position as you are forced to modify your original summer plans. You might find yourself in a position of uncertainty. However, it is important to view the situation as an opportunity – an opportunity to explore options inside and outside of your current professional and academic interests, as well as in a variety of areas and industries. 

If you feel you must start from scratch in your summer internship and employment search, you can refer to this article about the internship search process for guidance on how to get started (or restarted) on the process. You can use many online employment sites as well as campus resources and support services.

For example, students enrolled in Barrett, The Honors College can begin the search process on the college’s internship and research webpages as well as Arizona State University’s Handshake. Beginning this process not only increases the chance of securing an opportunity (whether that be in an internship, research, volunteer, etc.,) over the summer, but also provides an opportunity to rethink your professional and career trajectory and define the proficiencies you are hoping to gain or skills you are looking to refine.

As the internship coordinator for Barrett, The Honors College, I am available to speak with honors students by phone or virtual appointments through Zoom to advise and guide you throughout this process. We can chat about the search process and how to expand lists of possible opportunities. I can review resumes and cover letters, as well as coordinate practice interview sessions. 

Currently, I have a number of weekly appointments available. You can schedule appointments through the MyASU portal (similar to how you make an appointment with your advisor). If none of the days and times listed work with your schedule, send me a direct email with a list of your preferred dates and times.  

In this time of social distancing, interviews will more than likely be conducted using Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangout. The key to virtual interviews is focusing on the camera. You want the interviewers to feel as if your focus is on them.  Additionally, you should set up against a simple backdrop that will not distract the people with whom you are interviewing. You can upload a virtual background - just be sure to test the functionality prior to the interview to work out any kinks. And of course, research the company or organization with which you are interviewing and dress professionally, the way you would for an in-person interview. 

You may feel that you are in uncharted territory. It is important to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Let’s use this time to be active - explore options, manage professional and personal networks, ask for help, and inquire about potential opportunities. 

By Cassie Saenz, Barrett, The Honors College internship and community engagement coordinator. Saenz may be contacted at or 480-727-5169.

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