COVID made internships harder to come by

Students at FAMU attend a career fair. Photo courtesy

This summer signaled the return to a new normal, with remote and in-person internships — compared to 2020, where an estimated half of all internship programs were canceled altogether.

Yet, some students are having a difficult time securing an internship and gaining necessary professional experience.

According to, most employers require at least two to five years of work experience for entry level employees.

For college students, the already strenuous task of finding an internship became amplified. Students who were able to keep their internships became more valuable to employers, while those whose programs were canceled fell behind.

Now, college students are vying for similar roles to become equally competitive in the professional marketplace, creating a hyper-competitive market for student internships.

This is proving to be especially difficult for upperclassmen  who are close to graduation and need work experience upon graduating.

Angel Larry, a senior allied health student at Florida A&M University, struggled to find an internship during the summer.

“Having a bit of work experience is essential for the allied health cardiopulmonary program. Most previous grads say it’s important … when it comes to doing long hours, being in clinicals or hospital environments,” Larry said.

Larry, who said she applied to numerous internships via Google, Indeed and Hire a Rattler, was unable to attain an internship this past summer.

Instead of letting that get her down, however, Larry supplemented what should have been a working summer by getting a phlebotomy license.

Other students who graduated over the summer said the inability to have an internship affected them in other ways.

Chanelle Brown, a recent interdisciplinary studies major, says her morale to find work post-graduation was “extremely low.”

“Some have it that you have to have internship experience. Some [employers] don’t even want internship experience — which is crazy  — they want it to be actual job experience … how do I need experience for an entry level position?” Brown said. did a poll of over 1,500 students, with 71 percent stating their confidence in job searching post graduation due to lack of work experience.

For recent graduates, this means looking to alternative methods to present themselves to employers as competitive and qualified candidates.

Brown, who was involved in the Reserve Officers Training Corps while on campus, says being a member helped give her resume the boost it needed.

“The military has opened a lot of doors because most of the jobs I’ve applied for consider this internship experience or figure with ROTC I didn’t have time for an internship,” Brown said.

“I also have tons of experience on campus, which can fall under the umbrella internship. My issue is doing internships for the career I actually want,” Brown added.