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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Where Oh Where Did All the Internships Go?

This is not how high school and college students (or anyone for that matter) imagined their 2020 summer would play out. Internships have been canceled, summer jobs are limited, and social distancing is making networking challenging as everyone works to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this summer may be non-traditional, there are still ways for students to build out their résumés as they prepare to apply for college and/or internships. Outlined below, you’ll find four tips from Eric Oldfield, father of two school-age daughters and chief business officer of Brainly—the world’s largest online learning community with 150 million monthly users.

1. Learn a new foreign or programming language. These days students can take on a new language of any type—foreign or programming—with just a smartphone or computer, and a strong commitment. This is possible thanks to the seemingly endless resources available to them through online courses such as Codecademy or Duolingo, educational apps, and audio programs such as Rosetta Stone or video platforms such as Vidcode. Learning a new computer programming language, such as JavaScript, Python, or Swift, or a new foreign language, such as Spanish, French, or German, will not only add value to a résumé, it will also open up new opportunities and career prospects.

2.  Set up virtual informational interviews. Students should identify a handful of companies they are interested in interning for and reach out via LinkedIn to schedule virtual informational interviews. Doing so will allow them to develop important relationships that will pay off when they go to apply down the line. When mentioned in the extracurricular activities or hobbies section of college applications or résumés, these interviews help students stand out as proactive and ambitious.

3.  Volunteer virtually. While it may seem like volunteering opportunities would be impossible during stay-at-home orders, the reality is that there are a plethora of opportunities that exist virtually. Many organizations have adapted their strategies to include virtual meetings and are making every effort to continue serving their communities and constituents during this new normal. From video chatting with lonely senior citizens and operating crisis call lines for nonprofits, to providing at-risk youth with guidance, or transcribing historical documents for museums, there’s something out there for everyone. Catchafire is a volunteer search tool exclusively for online volunteer projects, and it’s a great place to start.

4. Become a moderator for an online learning community. By becoming a moderator for a peer-to-peer learning community such as Brainly, teens can take on leadership opportunities, discover how easy and rewarding it is to help other students of all ages, and learn about working in a team environment. Teenagers and high schoolers can also gain professional experience in brand ambassadorship, content moderation, and community management; develop lifelong communication skills; and earn the title of Certified Educational Content Moderator.

For more information on enhancing résumés and college applications, go to