By: Director of Operations BJ Engelhardt

Like many students during these uncommon times, you may have had a summer internship cancelled, as many employers are worried about not being able to provide a valuable experience for internship candidates due to offices going virtual and uncertainty about social distancing measures that will be necessary this summer.

When it comes to the job search, unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.  There has been a lot of discussion within the community of career services professionals and university recruiters about how to handle lost internships when it comes to a continued job search, either for other internship opportunities this summer or for full-time jobs in the future.

The question being posed is this: should students who have lost internships put that internship experience on their resume?  The consensus to this question seems to be YES. After all, the internship was lost due to circumstances beyond the student’s control and is part of a much larger trend.  The internship offer is also a signal that you’ve gone through a properly vetted interview process and impressed a variety of individuals within an organization with your knowledge, skills, and desire to learn.  

So, what is the best way to promote this on an updated resume?  This is where the art of resume writing comes into play.

Certainly, since there was no internship completed, and thus no knowledge and experience gained, it shouldn’t necessarily be front and center in your resume.  It may make sense to create a separate section at the bottom with mention of the cancelled internship or it could be added to an awards & achievements section at the bottom.  Wherever it is decided to put the mention, it should read something like this:

XYZ Company – Internship offer obtained and rescinded due to COVID-19 – Summer 2020

If you decide to forgo a continued internship search for this summer or do not have any luck with a continued search, it’s VERY important to put on your resume how you are spending your summer and making it a productive one.  Improving your skills, doing personal projects or research, and making professional connections to learn more about your future profession are all things you should be doing to show you are making the most of the lost opportunity.  These activities can then take the place of the description that would have been made for the internship experience. Having a discussion with a Career Services staff member or a Peer Career Coach about the best way to present this would be an important next step.

Best of luck with your search and let us know how we can assist!

Lost Internship? Here’s How to Handle as You Restart Your Search