CLA's Employer Engagement Team on Finding an Internship in Spring 2021

In CLA Career Services, our Employer Engagement team connects with recruiters and CLA alumni at a wide variety of organizations (e.g., for-profit, non-profit, government) who want to recruit and hire CLA students for internships, full-time, volunteer and other career-building opportunities. The team also engages recruiters/CLA alumni for a wide variety of volunteer opportunities (employer panels, resume reviews, informational interviews, etc.) that CLA Career Services offers so that these valued partners can meet and support the career management of CLA students.

For our March edition of CLA Career Corner, we asked the Employer Engagement team about the state of hiring for internships in Spring and Summer 2021.

Employer Engagement Team

What are you hearing from employers with regards to the state of internships hiring for summer and fall 2021? 

Emily Loudon [Senior Employer Engagement Coordinator] - Acknowledging that this year has been...a lot, and that’s true for everyone including all organizations everywhere. Decisions are taking more time as organizations are being thoughtful about how they’re bringing on interns for the summer. They want to make sure they’re able to provide a quality experience. Organizations are pivoting their internships to meet the challenges of the times — that might look like moving what would otherwise be an in-person experience to a remote environment, working creatively with their teams to find new ways to create a sense of community among interns, and seeking opportunities for innovation in all aspects of their work. Interns have a unique opportunity to contribute in some big ways to how organizations move through and beyond the challenges of this moment. 

Emily Gasperlin [Recruiting Associate] - Just like students, organizations have had to pivot their internships very quickly, in a way they weren’t expecting! This is a time of innovation, and employers are putting a lot of thought into how to make sure their virtual/remote internships are a worthwhile and rewarding experience for everyone involved. This is a good opportunity for students to be creative, provide feedback, and otherwise help employers build their virtual internship programs! Also, the virtual nature of many internships right now provide a great opportunity to pursue an opportunity in a different geographical location — for example, it’s a unique opportunity to pursue that internship in New York while still living on campus or at home, wherever home may be!


Which industries are seeing more hiring? And how should liberal arts students think about ways they might find work in those industries? 

Beth Lory [Assistant Director] - Through our employer/alumni connections and daily work with these stakeholders on behalf of serving CLA students, we’ve identified eight most common broad career fields that CLA graduates pursue: Arts, Business, Communications & Media, Education, Government & Law, Healthcare & Science, Nonprofit and Advocacy, and Technology. While the number of employment opportunities in some of these fields (such as Business, Healthcare & Science and Technology) may be higher than others currently, students can still find opportunities in all of these career fields. Connecting with recruiters and alumni to ask questions, do informational interviews, job shadowing or other networking opportunities are excellent and important ways for students to learn more about employment opportunities in all career fields and get leads on openings that may not even be advertised. Our career counseling staff is available in this virtual environment to help CLA students take persistent and actionable steps to make these connections. 


Could you say a bit more about this idea of getting creative and proposing internships? 

Emily L - If you’ve found an organization or have an interest that you’re really passionate about gaining experience in and haven’t found available internship opportunities, consider proposing an internship. CLA Career Services offers this guide on pitching your own internship. Of course, you’ll want to do your research first to make sure your goals and the organization are aligned. You never know — maybe they’ve been wanting to develop an internship or maybe they’ve been aware of a need but haven’t yet considered how an intern could fit into their organization. Also, CLA Career Services offers an Internship Toolkit for Employers which guides organizations through designing and delivering quality internship experiences. Feel free to share the Toolkit with an organization as part of your proposal! And remember, CLA offers internship scholarships for unpaid opportunities that we encourage you to apply for!


Time is flying, and it’s already March. Is it too late to find summer internships?

Emily L - It’s not too late! It is not uncommon for organizations to recruit on campus very actively during fall semester with the hope of filling their summer positions by spring semester. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to search during spring semester for a summer internship! Not all organizations fill their summer programs during fall recruiting and many organizations don’t even begin recruiting for summer internships until spring semester. A quick search on GoldPASS recently resulted in more than 3,000 active internship postings. If you find something you’re interested in, don’t wait to apply! You can also reach out to recruiters to see if they still have opportunities available. Don’t see anything you’re interested in? Keep searching — new postings are added to GoldPASS daily.

Beth - Employers hire for internships throughout the year, so it’s never too late to find an internship, however, larger organizations that have established internship programs have typically completed recruiting and hiring by now for their summer programs. Recruiters fill internships for these programs by the end of fall semester of the previous year. To find internships use GoldPASS powered by Handshake, network with professionals and CLA alumni and participate in recruiting and networking events that are still being offered virtually on and off campus. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a CLA peer advisor or career counselor to get tips and guidance. 


Any final tips for students? 

Beth - Heed the wise advice of some of our employer/alumni partners! Your choice to pursue a Liberal Arts education is something to be applauded! The critical thinking, communication and other core competencies you develop through your CLA education and co-curricular opportunities are indispensable to organizations. Regardless of your major, seek opportunities that fit your passions, skills, and ambitions; ask questions; and seek others’ support. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer. Engage regularly with staff in CLA Career Services for support and guidance.  

Emily L - Sometimes the job or internship search process can feel a little discouraging, and know that if you’re feeling that way, it’s totally normal! Internship as well as full-time job searches take time and persistence (always...not just during a pandemic!). Apply to many opportunities and reach out. Don’t stop at one application or give up if you hear a “no” or “not right now.” Trust that you have what it takes, and if you want help articulating what it is exactly that you have, CLA Career Services is here to help!

Emily G - We know that talking with a recruiter/employer at a career fair, in an informational interview, or other networking opportunity can feel intimidating — but trust us when we say that recruiters/employers genuinely want to get to know you, answer your questions, and otherwise help you in your job or internship search! An initial conversation with a recruiter is a great way to get your questions answered and learn about opportunities you may not have considered before.


The Employer Engagement Team also includes a number of student assistants. This year’s assistants, Amanda and Madeline, offered some additional perspectives on the team’s work for CLA.

As a student, what have you learned from interacting with employers?

Amanda - As a student working in the Employer Engagement office, my interactions with employers have validated the fact that they are always rooting for students' success. Acting as an Employer Engagement Assistant has given me an opportunity to witness the efforts that employers put in - hosting information sessions, conducting practice interviews, communicating resume tips, etc. - for the benefit of students. From these experiences, I have felt much more at ease when interacting with employers, as I recognize their intent to act as a resource for students, in addition to being involved in the hiring process.

Madeline - From my experience working in the Employer Engagement office, I’ve found that employers are really eager to meet students and help them develop the networking skills needed to succeed. I used to be very intimidated by the thought of communicating with employers, but it turned out to be a really fun and eye-opening experience.


What would be your #1 tip for students hoping to improve their virtual internship search? 

Amanda - I would encourage students to take advantage of the many, many resources provided by CLA Career Services! I have found it helpful to explore opportunities specific to my major, but also specific to the career fields and industries that are of interest to me. In addition to personalizing the filters in GoldPASS, I've also made an effort to sign up for email newsletters related to job and internship opportunities in the areas I'm interested in.

Madeline - I would recommend students utilize the search filters on GoldPASS so that they can filter the opportunities that cater to their needs and wants. I often utilize this myself and even set my notifications so I’m alerted when new opportunities show up!



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