Your Summer Plans During COVID-19


Understandably, career-related questions may be at the front of your mind now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to assure you that our staff will continue to offer our services and support while still providing the best and most practical advice possible. We are working very closely with the Notre Dame community, as well as our employer partners, to stay informed about the impact of COVID-19 on the economic climate, hiring trends, and opportunities.

Uncertainty with career plans may have now just become a new reality for you; however,  there are still several ways to practically continue your search for opportunities. Utilize the resources below to create your plan.

What You Can Do Now

Act on the things you can control
You can control outreach to your network, continued work on your professional and skill development, enhance your on-line presence, engage in the internship search process, and explore COVID related remote options. In the coming months, your story of what you accomplished during this challenging time to build skills and help support your community will be most important. 

Adjust Expectations
This is an unprecedented time for a student internship search. Opportunities may come through as planned, but also consider parallel options. Internships that do occur may look different from that for which you interviewed. For internship seekers, your planned idea for a summer experience may not be what you envisioned, but you can still participate in meaningful, skill-building activities.

Keep Career Plan/Goals in Mind
Stay focused on your long-term career goals. Conduct research, know what industries are hiring, know where your skills are best utilized, and keep in mind what experience and skills you want to gain. Consider next year when you are applying for internships - what kind of narrative do you want to tell about what you did Summer 2020? Think about professional development and skills development - what did you learn or cultivate?

5 Action Steps Right Now For All Students

  1. Build your Digital Presence. Now is the time to focus on your online presence. Search for your name in Google. Ask a family friend to review your resume.  Our staff can help with building and refining your online presence.
    • Digital Brand - This is who you are perceived to be online. Ensure that you have fully completed profiles on both Handshake and LinkedIn. Make sure to express your skills and interests for potential employers to see.
    • Digital Shadow - Your shadow is what people find out about you when searching online. Clean up anything you don't want others to see, particularly social media accounts (even if private).
    • Digital Engagement - What are you commenting on? Who are you following? How are you engaging in your professional platforms?
  2. Update and revise your professional marketing materials. Now is the perfect time to update your resume, cover letters, portfolios, etc.
  3. Practice interviewing. Notre Dame provides you free access to Big Interview, an online service which provides you the opportunity to practice virtual interviews with hundreds of questions and options.
  4. Connect with alumni to build your network. The Center for Career Development partners with the Notre Dame Alumni Association in managing IrishCompass, a private networking community where you can search for and connect with more than 12,000 alumni from around the world. Set a goal this summer. If you commit to reaching out to at least one alum starting in May you will have 10 new contacts by the time the fall semester begins. Get started today.
  5. Connect with employers to learn more about their future opportunities. Research employers on Handshake, LinkedIn, Reference USA, Mergent Online, and others on our website. If you are already in a recruiting process, keep in touch on a monthly basis with your contact. Some of the best opportunities are found through networking, not traditional job posting boards. 

General Considerations for Your Summer

Consider the following questions when addressing internship or summer experience possibilities:

  • What experiences do you want to have to build your skills?
  • How will this complement the experiences you want to have each summer before graduation?
  • Do you need to adjust expectations of what this summer's experience looks like?
  • What will your story be as to what you accomplished and how you supported others during this time?
  • If you have already accepted an internship, check on the status of your internship. Not sure what to say? Here's a template you can consider using.
  • If your company cancels your internship, take action and follow up. Here are a few suggestions of how you can respond:
    • Ask your hiring manager if you can work remotely.
    • Ask your hiring manager if you could develop a new project or conduct research for the organization from home.
  • How do you note virtual or canceled internships on your resume
    • If you received an internship that was canceled, place it on your resume for the upcoming year. Here's an example.
    • If your internship has been changed to virtual, insert "virtual" or "remote" on the line where you would put the location of your internship.  Here's an example.
  • General resources regarding hiring during COVID

Consider Traditional Summer Experiences

With the uncertainty of the months ahead, in-person opportunities will likely not be as abundant as last year. The economic environment may change, and some of these opportunities may still exist. Here are a few options:

  • Find an internship - While many employers may have cut back on hiring due to COVID-19, many organizations are still recruiting for summer internships. Investigate opportunities on Handshake, Online Search Resources, specific industry specific sites. 500 Companies Hiring Students on Handshake Right Now.
  • Consider seasonal summer jobs near your home - Many students find work every summer in local businesses as lifeguards, retail clerks, restaurant servers, golf caddies, and child care. These experiences can refine your interpersonal skills and demonstrate your work ethic. While social distancing may limit these opportunities, use your network (family, friends, neighbors, etc.) to ask who is hiring. Also consider contacting local temporary staffing agencies.
  • Conduct research - Some organizations allow you to conduct research online.
  • Volunteer - Non-profits, particularly serviced-focused organizations, rarely turn down volunteer help. In particular, consider organizations which may have been impacted by COVID-19. Many schools may need help with simple tasks such as cleaning rooms, moving furniture, and painting. With the school year ending so abruptly for children, schools may also be seeking support for summer learning initiatives. Contact local school principals or teachers and ask how you can help.
  • Take a class/learn new skills - This summer will be a great time to take an extra class or two through Notre Dame or other universities. Be sure to check in advance with your academic advisor or college dean's office to ensure you can receive credits for any courses you take.
  • Job shadows - Connect with alumni, family, and friends and ask if you can participate in a job shadow for a few days.
  • Create your own internship - Contact an organization of interest sharing your skills and assets you can bring to summer projects/work. If you are able to offer your services without compensation, you can get some great experience.
  • Create your own summer business - Something as simple as lawn care, dog walking, and food delivery may not seem as practical as an internship; however, these experiences show your initiative and work ethic.
  • Fall 2021 Law School Application Tips

Investigate Virtual Summer Experiences

Alternate virtual experience examples to seek include: