COVID-19 Career and Internship FAQ

C3 is constantly curating information to pass along to you about how COVID-19 is impacting internships and jobs, both locally and across the nation.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers.

Impact of COVID-19 on summer internships

Virtual interviewing

Additional information


Coe's policy for summer 2020 internships

Per the April 20, 2020 email from the provost, here are Coe’s parameters:

Parameters for Coe internships and practicum in summer 2020:

  • As always, it remains with individual faculty to determine if internships are rigorous enough to qualify for practicum and/or for credit.
  • Given circumstances, a remote internship will be allowed to count toward practicum and/or for credit. Individual faculty will need to evaluate the viability of these internships just as they would in-person internships.
  • The hours required for academic credit remain the same.
  • As always, students need to work with their faculty practicum supervisor to register. Students need to complete the registration form available on my.coe and send the form to the Registrar's Office at Students need to copy their faculty practicum supervisor for confirmation.

Parameters for Coe student research in summer 2020:

  • At this time only virtual or remote research is approved. Social distancing remains in force. If conditions change and students can work closely with others, go into labs etc., we will notify campus.
  • Students whose primary address is outside the U.S. must live and work on campus to receive pay.
  • Students who are receiving academic credit for research AND are being paid, OR whose research is funded by an external grant (a grant that specifically delineates pay for student research) will be paid stipends through the Business Office. More information is coming regarding this process.
  • Students who are being paid via internal grants awarded by the Faculty Development Committee, Coe-established restricted accounts (Spelman, Mehaffy, etc.) or students hired with departmental funds to support faculty research will continue to be paid via payroll.
  • If a student is paid via payroll, there are restrictions in place regarding where they can complete this work. Due to state tax regulations, we only can pay students to do remote work if they are living on campus or have primary residence in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia or New York. Payroll will determine student eligibility for funding through payroll if hired for research.
If your Coe summer research cannot be done virtually or remotely and has been cancelled, make an appointment via Handshake to discuss your options.
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What to do if your internship was canceled

First, acknowledge the loss and disappointment of losing the opportunity. It’s normal and OK to feel sad, angry and frustrated that this has happened.
Then, take action. Employ the same skills and tactics you used to get that internship in the first place to now pivot and do it again. Good news — you have career specialists in C3 who are ready and able to help you by providing current information about hiring, as well as sound advice on how to pivot and keep yourself moving forward.
Make an appointment via Handshake to discuss your options with a career specialist.

There are things you can do on your own, right now:

  1. Develop a plan — here’s a great article about developing a career action plan to get you started on that.
  2. Explore Handshake and other job boards — and set up alerts. More good news! Employers are still hiring interns. See the next section for more information.
  3. Polish your application materials - click to find resources for: cover letters, resumes, LinkedIn tips, LinkedIn profile checklist and Handshake profile checklist. Then, make an appointment via Handshake to review and get advice.
  4. Read this article about your next steps on Handshake.

Should you include your canceled internship on your resume? YES!

Career services professionals have been discussing this with employers across the nation, and while your resume typically should focus on things you’ve done and skills you’ve gained, we are in unusual times, so there is agreement that the rescinded internship SHOULD be included on your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Check out the full article regarding canceled internships on your resume and/or check out the summary below!
For example: XYZ Company — Internship offer accepted. Canceled due to COVID-19 — Summer 2020

Here’s why:

  • It shows that you had the initiative to seek out an internship.
  • Landing the internship is part of the learning experience. How to deal with a job loss and uncertainty of the future is also a learning experience.
  • The information helps explain the gap in internship experience.
  • The title of the internship would tell what kind of work you are interested in.
  • Internships are competitive and similar to winning an award or accomplishing an honor.
  • It is a critical event in your "story" that you are trying to tell on your resume. By accepting this internship, you took yourself out of the running of interning with any other company.
  • If the internship would be at a very prestigious employer within your discipline, listing the internship offer would be beneficial.
  • Offers of research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) should also go on your resume, especially if you are planning on graduate or medical school. Being selected for something highly competitive like an REU speaks to your abilities.

A few additional notes or caveats:

  • Use "canceled" instead of "rescinded" so the loss doesn't seem like it was caused by you.
  • Get feedback from the internship site on the accomplishments and experience that brought about this offer, including soft skills observed during the interview.
  • Work the offer into a future cover letter or in response to a future interview question.
  • While it shows that circumstances out of your control discontinued the internship, make sure it doesn't sound like the organization did something wrong.
  • Once you accept a new internship or are hired full time, remove or replace it.
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Availability of summer 2020 internships

According to The Center for Research on College Workforce Transitions at UW-Madison, many employers around the country (and the world) are postponing their internships or planning for remote internship assignments. While it appears that some firms and organizations are waiting to make a decision, it is likely that many of the nation’s (if not the world’s) internships will be moving online in the near future. Given the importance of internships to companies as part of their recruiting processes, and the value of work-based learning for college students, some organizations are planning to offer remote or virtual internships, a model that is discussed in detail in this short guide. Faculty or students can reach out to current internship hosts to see if they would be interested in and able to support an online internship or use third-party organizations that broker relationships between students and organizations.
Use all your resources to continue to search for internships. Here are a few to get you started, but also reach out to your C3 career specialist via Handshake to set up a virtual appointment.
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Internship plans for local companies

In addition, C3 is working closely with our Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and ICR to understand what our local employers are doing regarding internships during this time. If you are looking for a summer 2020 internship in the Cedar Rapids area, please reach out to your C3 career specialist and make a virtual appointment via Handshake as soon as possible to learn what local companies are doing and to discuss your options. You can also check out the ICR Career Collective website.

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Definitions and resources for remote, virtual or micro-internships

What is an online internship? Before we answer this question, it is important to consider the definition of an in-person internship. Several definitions exist — from a one-day field trip to a six-month on-site experience. At C3, we consider an internship to consist of the following features:
  • A position held within an established company or organization while also completing a college degree, certificate or diploma program.
  • Engagement in learning experiences that are the equivalent to being in a classroom or other formal academic learning situation.
  • Working in a position clearly designated as an “internship” by the host organization.
  • Performing tasks similar in nature and skill-level to tasks done by entry-level employees in the organization.
  • Sustained engagement with the physical, socio-cultural and institutional features of an actual workplace.
  • Participation in authentic tasks considered meaningful to the organization.
  • Supervision by staff at the internship host organization who are trained in mentorship.
  • Cultivation of both cultural (i.e., skills, knowledge, professional norms) and social (i.e., professional networks) capital that are valued by a profession and/or discipline.
While some of the in-person aspects above are not possible, virtual internships are a good option during this unusual time.
  • Virtual internships are internships that are done online or remotely anytime of the year. This allows you to work on a global scale but stay local. You are placed with a company and report to a supervisor. You are in regular contact with the supervisor/team via virtual methods such as video call, phone call, email and instant messenger. Learn more about virtual internships.
  • Micro-internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns. These projects enable college students, graduate students and recent college graduates to demonstrate skills, explore career paths and build their networks as they seek the right full-time role. Micro-internships are used by companies ranging from those in the Fortune 100 to emerging startups, and go across departments including sales, marketing, technology, HR and finance. Learn more about micro-internships.

Essays about online and micro-internships

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Resources for remote, virtual and micro-internships

Third-party facilitators of online internships between employers and students:
Other resources on online internships:
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Ways to get yourself ready for the job market

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Advice about the job market during COVID-19

This student guidebook from The Washington Center is an excellent and comprehensive guide that introduces you to a variety of resources, ideas and mindsets you can utilize to manage launching a career in times of uncertainty.
In addition, here are some other great articles sharing advice for how to job hunt during and after a pandemic:
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Find companies that are hiring now

Companies are still hiring! Continue to use Handshake and make absolutely sure your profile is complete as that will help Handshake alert you of new postings that fit your interests. In addition, we offer these other job sites that can help you learn about who is hiring right now.

Cedar Rapids area

  • The ICR Career Collective
    • The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us in different ways. We want to help. The ICR Career Collective is a curated collection of information for job seekers and employers trying to navigate a rapidly changing workforce environment. The collective offers an up-to-date list of employers in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids (ICR) region who are currently hiring, along with workforce news, resources and webinars for employers. In addition to this web page, you can sign up to receive e-news and join our Facebook Group to share and access job opportunities. We may not always know the answers, but our team will find someone who does.
  • C3 is working with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance to further understand what local companies are doing in light of the pandemic. Reach out to us via Handshake or email to learn more.
  • Use staffing agencies — they often have immediate opportunities that can help you achieve multiple goals — earning money, getting experience and getting your foot in the door of a company that offers additional opportunities. Here are a couple staffing agencies to check out:


There are many job boards, of course, but C3 has curated some of the best ones for these uncertain times:
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Ways to find remote or work-from-home jobs

The world of work has changed over the past month. It’s brought to the forefront those jobs that can be done remotely or from home. If you have interest in exploring those types of jobs further, check out these great job boards for remote work:
  • Skillcrush
  • Career Sidekick
  • Flexjobs (Note: This does have a subscription fee to view all job information, but you can get a sense of what types of jobs are posted.) Also, visit the Flexjobs blog.
  • Workplaceless — A great professional development organization for remote work, it helps universities and businesses understand how to best learn, grow and lead remotely.
  • Learn the language and skills of remote work. The Remote Work Dictionary AND the Remote Work Competency Model will help job seekers understand this realm. 


Strategies for working from home

If you do want to explore remote or work-from-home jobs, here is a quick article to get you thinking about strategies for doing so: Strategies for Working from Home During COVID-19.
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Resources to help you get ready for virtual interviews

Interviewing via Skype, Zoom or any other virtual tool is different than interviewing in person. Check out these great tips for preparing for the virtual interview.
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C3 is here to help!

Set up a virtual appointment with career specialists in C3. We are ready to meet with you virtually, and you can request an appointment as you normally would through Handshake. We are gathering information and timely resources amid this pandemic, and we can guide you to making the most of those for your specific situation.
Visit this website often. We will continue to provide relevant and timely information and tools here that you can explore on your own time and at your own pace.
Follow us on social media: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We are posting information and resources regularly.
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Taking care of yourself: FREE services and resources to help you right now

We know you have other things on your mind, and you need to take care of yourself and your families. Check out Handshake's list of free services and resources that can help you right now.
Our Chaplain’s Office and our Health and Wellness Office at Coe are here to help you as well. If you haven’t seen all their great resources, be sure to check those out on Coe’s COVID-19 page.
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It can be hard to stay positive and motivate yourself when so many discouraging things are coming your way. We are here to help — to support you, to give advice, to provide current and relevant information to you. Come back here often, and set up an appointment today on Handshake with a C3 career specialist.