How to Find a Job or Internship in the COVID Labor Market

In the rapidly changing COVID labor market, it is more important than ever to make your best first impression and have a comprehensive search strategy. You do not need to navigate the rapidly changing landscape alone. We are in this together.

  • Acknowledge and grieve any loss. The second-half of the semester is typically a time to celebrate graduation and approaching summer applied learning. When the positive events we anticipate do not occur or unfold how we imagined, a sense of sadness or stress occurs. Augustana shares this disappointment and is here to support you. Connect with your Career & Academic Planning Specialist for personal assistance.
  • Stay healthy and keep your momentum. Your well-being is top priority. Employers share this desire and have moved to remote work to protect you. Some employers continue to recruit for positions deemed mission-critical or essential. Employers were leveraging online recruitment platforms before COVID. They continue to do so. Stay engaged. Your search may possibly be harder, but everyone who stops their search is guaranteed to remain unemployed.
         -Browse the list of internships posted at augie.edu/opportunities. While we are unsure if every advertised position will remain available, it is still a good idea to apply. Do not make assumptions.
         -Scan commercial search engines, such as your local Department of Labor, Chamber of Commerce (e.g., Sioux Falls), or Indeed.com. Consider vacancies advertised on remote job boards, such as Remote Jobs, Virtual Internships, and We Work Remotely. Examples of posted remote positions include data clean-up, social media content creation, tech support, online tutoring, loan processing, legal research, and more. When you see positions that interest you, go directly to the organizations’ websites to confirm the opportunity is still available.
  • Look for short-term solutions. Consider opportunities you might otherwise have passed on previously. This is only temporary. If you are currently employed, offer to help however you can. Be flexible. Most jobs provide an opportunity to develop transferable attributes valued by all employers, such as communication, interpersonal, and collaboration skills. 
  • Lead with your best impression. Contact the Success Center for input on your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and interview responses. Your interview will likely occur virtually, and we can help you prepare for it. Browse our online resources and examples on the My.Augie.edu portal page.
  • Introduce yourself. Some employers may need more employees but are too overwhelmed to advertise the opportunity. Take the initiative to introduce yourself. Contact the Student Success Center to write an inquiry cover letter.
  • Engage in ongoing networking. The Augustana Success Center, faculty, Volunteer Services, and Alumni Association are networking on your behalf. Couple this with your own activities. Talk with everyone you know to see what opportunities they know about or who they might be able to introduce you to. Attend virtual networking events, such as those hosted by the Sioux Falls Young Professional Network and the American Association for Employment in Education.
  • Contact your internship coordinator of your respective academic department. Depending on the duration of social distancing, it may be possible to complete internship hours in July and August. For every hour of credit you elect to earn, you need to complete 40 hours of work. You may also take an IP and finish the hours later with either the same employer or another approved employer. You have a year to complete the hours. Some faculty may identify alternative experiential assignments, such as common readings or reflective writing, for you to complete. 
  • Remember that vocation and experience come in many forms. You could engage in scholarship such as case study analysis, literature reviews, policy analysis, and creative projects. Volunteering within your local community (e.g., tutoring or helping elderly individuals in your neighborhood) may also provide a sense of meaning. Demonstrate initiative by learning something new, such as a foreign language, computer code, theoretical approach, or technology program. Thoroughly examine a common debate in your field and formulate a response. Even if you elect not to earn credit or are not paid, stay engaged vocationally. These activities are a source of quality narrative you can share during future graduate school or employment interviews and also restore a sense of purpose.
  • Practice social distancing. Follow state and CDC guidelines. Be prepared to describe your recent activities. Employers have asked us about the ways students are staying healthy and will protect the health of their employees if hired.
  • Communicate safely with employers. Sadly, scamming increases during crisis. Avoid engaging with employers who use chat-only platforms. Do not share personal information or work with recruiters who request money up front. Report any concerns immediately.
  • If you had a job and it abruptly ended, you may be eligible for re-employment assistance. This varies significantly depending on your situation. Contact your local Department of Labor to learn more. View South Dakota requirements.
  • Carefully examine advanced education. Some students have contacted us to inquire about graduate or professional school admission. While some schools continue to accept applications for Fall, this is a complex question. Our answer depends on your vocational clarity, goals, and circumstances. Contact us and your academic advisor for personal consultation.
  • Remember that your skills do not expire. You have an education of enduring worth that empowers you to learn independently, think critically, write effectively, and solve unscripted problems. This labor market is temporary. As it rebounds, you are positioned to excel and advance in whatever position you secure during this time.
  • Stay healthy and positive.  As our motto reflects, Augustana also aspires for you to enter to learn, leave to serve. When we think about service, we may often focus first on the needs of our neighbors. To serve others, however, we must also care for ourselves. We may overlook this or minimize it, especially in the midwest where a "Minnesota nice" mindset is common. Your well-being remains a vocational priority. It is okay if you take some time for yourself, care for family or friends who need assistance, and delay work. Connect with Augustana Counseling if needed and practice self-care strategies.

The pandemic creates a unique context that is also experiential problem-based learning in and of itself. Each day you engage in significant problem solving. While very difficult, transitions transform us. We take pride in the strengths you exhibit. Through this pandemic, you will construct a deeper understanding of technology, your values, self-directed learning, and changes that need to occur in the world. You also will learn ways to persist, adapt, support others, and thrive together in community. We are AU  — we are with you, here for you, and inspired by you. Connect with us today.