It’s that time of year for students to start searching for internships and jobs for the summer. This year’s internships will be a little different than usual. Many internships last summer were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic since they either had to quickly transition to becoming remote or cancel them due to the lack of resources available. Luckily, this summer, companies are more prepared with the increasing amount of collaborative resources, such as Zoom and GoToWebinar. Here are some tips to navigate both the internship and job markets during these challenging times.

Take advantage of the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development and Handshake

One way to start looking for internships and jobs is to utilize BU’s Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development. The Center has hosted several virtual career fairs and networking opportunities. An appointment with a career advisor can direct you to helpful resources to aid in your job search. One such valuable resource is Handshake. Students can access Handshake with their school email and find more than 500 job opportunities. These opportunities can be filtered by location, industry and job role, so you can find one that’s perfect for you.

Work through your network

You can also network with people to find an internship or job. This year it will be especially challenging, since you cannot attend in-person networking events. However, you can reach out to family, friends and even professors to see if they know anyone you could connect with. When reaching out, you should address who you are, your situation and ask for advice. Don’t be nervous about reaching out — the worst they could say is, “no thanks” or not respond. Another way to network is through LinkedIn. Interacting with professional interest groups and social accounts allows you to both expand your connections and improve your online presence.

Keep your resume and cover letters up to date

One important step to applying to jobs is to update your resume and cover letter. Your resume should highlight relevant experience to the job in question. If you do not have prior experience, you can highlight important skills related to your job. Your resume should also include remote skills, such as familiarity with web conferencing software and collaborative tools such as Zoom and Google Docs. You should also detail how you worked remotely, such as collaborating over Zoom to reach a specific goal. Your cover letter should be individualized for each internship or job. You should explain why you specifically want to work there and what you hope to achieve. The Center can help you revise your resume and cover letter to make it professional and to attract employers. Once your resume and cover letters have been crafted to perfection, you should apply to jobs that match your skills, experience and qualifications.

Put your mental health first

While internship and job hunting are a struggle in itself, the COVID-19 pandemic has also greatly affected workers. Instead of commuting to your workplace, all you have to do is log onto Zoom and press the “Join Meeting” button. Although this saves time that would usually be spent on commuting, it’s harder to make connections with your coworkers. In addition, working from home causes the distinction between home and work life to be blurred. Working from home also creates job stress, such as concerns over family needs or difficulty managing your workload.

It’s important to take care of your mental health too. You can talk to people who you trust about your concerns, how you feel and how the pandemic is affecting you. Chances are, you’re not the only one feeling this way. Also, you should set boundaries on your work schedule. Working too much will have a detrimental effect on your health, so you should allot some time for relaxation.

Despite these circumstances, utilizing important resources such as the Fleishman Center, Handshake and LinkedIn will allow you to hone your resume and to network with others in order to find an opportunity that is perfect for you. While job searching is important, balancing work and family lifestyles is important as well to maintain good mental health and well-being.