A Recap: Securing Internships amidst COVID-19 – Navigating the Uncertainties

By Lim Ziqian 
 

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented upheavals – almost everyone has experienced some disruptions to long-standing routines. For university undergraduates, they face growing anxieties over how they would fare in an increasingly cutthroat job market that has rendered many jobs non-essential. 

On 15 Oct 2020, NTUSU Integrated Career Opportunities Network (ICON) partnered with Shine Now to host a fireside chat over Zoom sharing some tips and tricks to securing internships amidst Covid-19. The two guest speakers were Mr Edwin Yeo, CEO of Cornerstone Group, and Mr Eric Feng, an author and public speaking coach. The fireside chat was moderated by Shine Now’s Joel Lim. 

Mr Yeo got the ball rolling by sharing some tips on how one can increase their employability during such turbulent times. He reflected that a thorough and honest understanding of yourself sets the groundwork for all career decisions that follow.  

“The first step is to know yourself,” he advised. For instance, it is imperative to discover whether you are driven by what is practical and value-maximising, or by your personal values, which would elicit discussions about purpose and meaning.  

Aside from that, it is also crucial to assess your personality to find out if you will be a good fit for the organisation you are applying to. This self-reflection is crucial in enabling you to find your PET, an acronym which stands for Pride, Enjoyment and Trust, which is where you will ideally land your dream internship. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash | @headwayio 

Mr Yeo then moved on to talk about what employers are looking for in prospective interns or employees. When hiring, bosses are always on a lookout for individuals who can keep the organisation afloat, generate revenue and create growth opportunities, among other things.  

Mr Feng then took over the fireside chat to share with viewers how to ace virtual interviews over Zoom. He began with a thought-provoking quote: “If you work on your job, you’ll make a living. If you work on yourself, you’ll make a fortune.”  

He cited a few common problems that interviewees face when interviews are conducted over Zoom such as overloading their already-exhausted interviewers with information, facing interruptions and the inability to command focus and attention.  

Photo Credit: Unsplash | @cwmonty 

To tackle these problems, Mr Feng suggested delivering your message with clarity, helping your interviewer remember key information about you and engaging them so that they would be open to your influence.  

He also shared some small but powerful tips on how to make a good impression on your interviewers. For instance, pasting post-it notes next to your pinhole camera rather than looking down at your pre-written notes will go a long way in conveying confidence and preparedness. Positioning your laptop well, choosing a neutral Zoom background and ensuring your sound quality are all crucial but oftentimes overlooked by interviewees. Finally, one of the most important tips of all: “Your smile correlates to your confidence!” 

All in all, Covid-19 has intensified competition in the job market. However, there are steps that undergraduates can take to better prepare themselves amid the volatile times.