During this time of change, we are here to support you virtually — whether through career counseling, outreach to employers on your behalf, virtual events, or online resources.
Just a few of the ways you can connect with us Remotely:
- Make a career counseling appointment, via phone or Zoom.
- Build career skills through our virtual workshops.
- To learn more about preparing and logging in for our virtual workshop, Fridays for your Future, via LionSHARE and Zoom, please review info here.
- Connect with employers and alumni through our networking events and employer information sessions.
- Read the latest updates from our employer outreach in Insider Information and the Weekly Roundup, our online newsletter.
- Search for jobs and internships, via our LionSHARE job board. Maximize your LionSHARE profile and job search by following these tips.
- Explore our many online resources, including Design Your Next Steps, our career planning guide.
Be sure to view our constantly-updated list of Frequently Asked Questions we’ve gathered from our continuing conversations in support of students.
Resources to support your career development during this time:
- Employer Updates
- Access a curated list of Employers We Work With, with links to their job postings in LionSHARE.
- View our Insider Info pages for the latest employer news (requires log-in).
- Review our Weekly Roundup for employer opportunities, jobs, and employer networking events.
- Log into LionSHARE to see the latest events and job postings from employers.
- Browse our event listings to find your next opportunity to connect with employers.
- Virtual Services
Virtual Career Counseling
- Connect with a career counselor via Zoom or phone for a virtual session or practice interview.
- Network with employers and alumni through our networking events and employer information sessions.
- Build career skills through our virtual workshops.
- Career Development & Job Search Resources
Tools for Your Job Search
- Tools to Organize Your Job or Internship Search
- Your Job or Internship Search Checklist
- Searching for Jobs/Internships in LionSHARE
- Big Interview can help you practice and prepare for any interview (requires log-in); check out our favorite features.
- Common Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
- How to Prepare for Virtual and Phone Interviews
- Read about how 120+ Students Participated in Virtual Internship Program.
- Connect with Alumni
- Effectively Navigating Your Network During COVID-19
- “Networking from Home” event series
- Informational Interviewing is Key to Your Job Search
Leveraging Social Media
- Design Your Next Steps, our career planning guide
- Take Your LinkedIn Profile to the Next Level
- 5 Things that LinkedIn Groups (Like Columbia Career Connections) Can Do For You
- Design Your Next Steps, our career planning guide
- 4 Steps to Create Your Online Brand Through Social Media
- Reflect on your identities, interests, skills, values, and personality.
- Learn how to connect your self-knowledge to career options.
- Reflect on your career goals using these writing prompts.
- Explore career paths by academic field of study.
- Research industries and job functions using our industry pages and Vault.
- Navigating the “New Normal”
Posts from our Blog, In the Know
- Why It’s Important to Understand, Develop, and Foster Your Professional Relationships
- Our Career Counselors’ Favorite Features on Big Interview
- Effectively Navigating Your Network During COVID
- Virtual Events: How to Excel During and Be Remembered After
- Writing a Stand Out Networking Message Right Now
- CCE Staff Best Practices for Thriving When Working From Home
- So, How Do You Deal With Ambiguity, Anyway?
- The Many Ways You Can Help (From Home)
- Read about best practices for Getting Hired Remotely.
It’s natural to have questions in times of uncertainty. Our career counselors and staff have put together answers for some of the FAQs that we’ve received from students. Please check back frequently as we will be making updates as new information and resources become available.
Navigating Changing Plans
I plan to take a voluntary leave. Do I have access to CCE while on leave?
Students have access to career counseling, events, and LionSHARE job postings while on voluntary leave from the university. Students do not have access to CCE internship and/or mentorship programs, and summer funding if they are on leave during the application processes for these positions or programs.
Please note that some employers require that students be enrolled at the university to apply for and/or participate in their internship or full-time recruiting processes or programs. We see this most often with positions affiliated with on campus interviewing. We encourage students to review job descriptions closely for eligibility requirements.
How does the new summer session affect my summer internship?
The timing of the 2021 summer sessions may overlap with some summer internships. Sometimes internship dates and hours are negotiable, and sometimes they are not. The latter may be the case with formal programs at larger organizations with set timelines.
Given this, it will be important for you to do your research upfront and consider summer internship start dates alongside your academic planning.
Feel free to schedule an appointment to talk to a career counselor about what you are considering, and to make sure you are asking the right questions of employers.
What is happening with the Work Exemption Program in the Fall?
Columbia College and Columbia Engineering will waive all student employment expectations for the fall semester, in recognition that students will not have the typical on- or off-campus work opportunities available. This process will replace the Fall Work Exemption Program.
What is happening with the CEO program? Will it be available in summer 2021?
The CEO program in summer 2020 was canceled due to travel restrictions and uncertainty and concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19.
For summer 2021, we will be monitoring and following University travel guidelines and decisions that make the health, safety, and well-being of our student community and employer partners the utmost priority.
You will be able to find updates on our website as we have more information. Should the program move forward, positions will be posted in LionSHARE as in the past.
If you are interested in global opportunities are encouraged to make a career counseling appointment to discuss your goals and develop a plan.
I accepted an offer for an internship/full-time job before COVID-19 but I’m worried now my employer might rescind it. What should I do?
Definitely get in touch with your recruiter or hiring manager to discuss the position. This is a great opportunity to reconnect, express your excitement about joining the team, and inquire if there have been any changes in your start date, internship length, or on-boarding process.
If you need any assistance navigating that conversation, schedule a time to meet with a counselor.
My summer internship/job got cancelled as a result of COVID-19. What should I do now?
During this time of uncertainty, many employers had to make the tough decision to cancel these roles. On our blog, In the Know, you can learn more about factors employers considered when making these decisions.
Though it’s natural to feel disappointed if your previous plans fell through, you can also think of this as an opportunity to rise to a challenge: to build a summer experience for yourself that will help you develop transferable skills.
We’ve created some resources to help you navigate change, activate your network virtually, and build additional skills during this time. If you’re seeking another position, be sure to check LionSHARE and Insider Info (login required) to see who is currently hiring. Also, keep in mind that while some sectors have changed their normal hiring habits, there may be opportunities in other areas that you may have not previously considered.
And you don’t have to do it alone — our career counselors can help support you in exploring possibilities and creating a plan moving forward.
How can I talk to my employer about changing my internship into a remote opportunity?
If you haven’t heard from your hiring manager or recruiter, don’t hesitate to reach out for an update. Many organizations are already considering the switch to a virtual or remote internship and are communicating these changes to incoming interns and employees as quickly as possible. We’re happy to help you draft your outreach language or assist with making those connections.
I’m worried about finding a job and am thinking of graduate school as an option. What considerations should I take into account?
It’s understandable that graduate school may be on your mind—historically when the labor market contracts, more people return to school to build additional skills or expertise.
That said, graduate school can be expensive and time-consuming, so it’s important to understand how it can help you achieve your next steps before diving in. This is especially true in the current landscape, which is different from recent economic downturns in 2009 or 2001. Because of this, you might find that you have additional unique considerations around whether investing further in education makes sense for you right now.
Our online resources can help you begin to think through these factors and timing your decision: Graduate School: Factors to Consider; Finding Your Best-Fit Graduate Program; Thinking of Graduate School? This Timeline Will Help You Plan.
We encourage you to schedule an appointment with a career counselor to talk through the pros and cons of graduate school given your situation.
Hiring & Networking
Are employers still hiring Columbia students? Are there any jobs or internships available?
Hiring for the 2020-2021 recruiting season has started! Employers continue to recruit Columbia students for full-time roles and internships. Check LionSHARE often for a current list of available opportunities.
Additionally, our Employer & Alumni Relations Team is speaking with companies and sharing their hiring details in Insider Info. In Insider Info, you can find additional insights on employers’ recruiting goals, interview processes, and their open positions.
Are there certain industries that I should pursue over others?
It’s important to recognize that economic impacts vary across industries. This might mean that there are more opportunities in some industries over others, right now.
It’s important to keep an open mind and think about expanding your target industries to those that are thriving. For instance, look for creative roles, finance roles, or tech roles in different types of organizations. Take a look at recent hiring trends and sites like Linkedin, FindSpark, and the Muse, which publish updated lists of employers who are currently hiring.
These are not normal times. You might consider working at a company whose product or culture you enjoy, even if it has no relationship to your ultimate career goal. This is just the start of your career. You can build skills, adapt to 9–5 or longer hours, and develop relationships that will help you in future job applications.
How is CCE preparing students for virtual hiring/employer, alumni engagement?
We are here to support you in your preparation for virtual recruiting events in a variety of ways.
Our fall programming will include workshops and programs to help you prepare for connecting with employers in a virtual space. For instance, our Virtual Practice Interview Program with alumni will allow you to practice for behavioral, consulting, or tech interviews.
On our website, you can find many additional resources. On our blog, In the Know, you can read tips on preparing for virtual events, reaching out to alumni, and more. We also recommend using Big Interview to practice interviewing on camera.
Finally, our career counselors are here to help you prepare. Schedule a 1:1 appointment via LionSHARE to do a virtual practice interview or prepare for virtual recruiting, and/or visit our virtual Quick Questions to meet with a counselor without a scheduled appointment.
What else is CCE doing to support students as jobs and internships are scarce?
We know that the job market currently presents unique challenges. We’re working to help you build skills, create connections, and identify opportunities beyond traditional sources.
Over the summer, this has included the atypical creation of continuous summer programming, from Networking from Home events to Virtual Practice Interview Programs to Fridays for Your Future. Additionally, in response to your requests, we launched the Columbia Alumni Mentorship Program (CAMP) during summer to help connect you with alumni mentors.
Fall will include a return to virtual versions of our regularly scheduled programming, including Career Fairs, industry-specific Micro Career Fairs, more Networking from Home events, and Virtual Practice Interview Programs.
We encourage you to check out the opportunities and resources highlighted in our online resources, such as our Weekly Roundup, Insider Info posts, and our In the Know blog posts, to stay up-to-date on the latest workplace developments and opportunities.
Additionally, you should make sure to update your LionSHARE profiles with your current class year and industry preferences so that you can receive tailored industry messaging.
Finally, as a reminder, our career counselors are available to connect with you throughout the year.
Will there be any employers on-campus this fall? How can I stay connected with employers?
We will be hosting a wide variety of virtual recruiting events throughout the fall semester. These include virtual interviews, info sessions, career fairs, and new industry-focused micro career fairs. Visit LionSHARE to apply for interviews and register for upcoming events and fairs.
We are hosting virtual coffee chats, networking events, and practice interviews over the next few months. These are great ways to engage with our employer partners and build connections. You can view a list of upcoming CCE and employer events on LionSHARE.
I am looking to network right now. Can I still do that? Is it awkward to request informational interviews at this time?
Yes, it’s absolutely appropriate to network during this time, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Everyone has been affected by the current crisis, and it’s important to remember that the people you reach out to are also adjusting to the “new normal.”
While some people may be eager to connect, others may be feeling overwhelmed by shifts in their lives and possibly careers. Thus, it’s important to manage your own expectations as well as express empathy, understanding, and patience. In your initial outreach, it’s particularly important to first connect on a human level before asking to connect.
How can I meet alumni who can help me in my search?
Alumni also attend many of our recruiting and networking events throughout the semester. These are fantastic opportunities to learn about their career trajectories and make new contacts.
Participate in the Odyssey Mentoring Program, which is an online community for College alumni and students. Odyssey is a great place to make connections, ask questions, or find mentors.
Additionally, we will be hosting Virtual Practice Interview Nights in September and October aimed at helping you meet alum and while also receiving feedback on behavioral, technical, and case interviews.
Preparing for Virtual Opportunities
Are all internships virtual?
It is possible that employers will offer in-person experiences in locations where local law allows them to do so. That said, many opportunities will remain virtual. In LionSHARE, you can filter your search for virtual positions by typing “remote” in the keyword search.
If you are in communication with an employer and unsure whether or not an opportunity will be remote or in-person, we encourage you to clarify this early in the conversation. If an opportunity is in-person but you would like to do it remotely, you can also propose this to the employer.
Are there any virtual international internships?
LionSHARE is your central career portal for ongoing opportunities with employers and alumni engaged with the Center for Career Education seeking Columbia undergraduate students for open positions. These opportunities are both virtual and in-person across industry and geography and are constantly being updated. In LionSHARE, you can create saved searches in the Jobs tab after you add filters. One of these filters is to put “remote” in the keyword search and the results will include only those jobs that are virtual. For a global, virtual search you can include both the remote filter and location and then save the search. We also recommend setting up a career counseling appointment if you would like support in developing a plan.
I am prepping for a virtual interview and need some help!
Many employers are conducting virtual interviews during this time, and while much of your interview preparation will remain the same, there are a few differences to consider.
We’ve put together some tips in our How to Prepare for Virtual and Phone Interviews resource. We also suggest using Big Interview to practice interviewing on camera and making a 30-minute virtual Practice Interview appointment with a counselor via LionSHARE.
Apply for our Virtual Practice Interview Program to connect directly with an employer or alumni for real-time interview feedback.
Building Skills & Experience
I’m a first year. Can I get an internship?
First, welcome to Columbia! Before jumping into the internship search, we encourage you to take some time to get settled and focus on building your community at Columbia.
That said, there are many ways to gain experience as a first year both on campus and remotely, through internships, volunteering, research, student activities, and more. We suggest getting started by reflecting on what you’d like to learn and the skills you’d like to develop. This reflection can help guide you in identifying opportunities to achieve your goals.
If you do decide to explore internships, keep in mind that while things might look and feel a little different right now, employers are continuing to recruit and hire interns from Columbia. You can check LionSHARE for current listings of internships and learn about what our Employer and Alumni Relations Team are hearing from employers in our Insider Info.
We encourage you to connect with a career counselor in LionShare for a 30-minute appointment to discuss your options. You can also visit us virtually for our Virtual Quick Questions to meet with a counselor without scheduling an appointment.
I didn’t do an internship this summer. What will I say in my application for future opportunities?
Remember, employers understand that this summer was different than those before it, and that internships may not have been possible for all students.
That said, there are many ways to showcase your experiences in your application materials:
- Consider including any volunteer work, projects, micro-internships, or skill-building activities that you may have done this summer.
- Focus on other past or current experiences, including courses and class projects.
- Indicate on your resume if you had secured an internship or research opportunity that was canceled due to COVID-19.
If you’re invited for an interview, it’s a great opportunity to share examples of how you showcased your creativity in making the most of your summer under unexpected and difficult circumstances.
Our career counselors can help you brainstorm what this might look like for you.
How can I get experience if I’m at home?
There are a variety of ways to gain experience from home. We suggest getting started by reflecting on what you’d like to learn, what skills you’d like to develop, and where you’d like to grow. Use this reflection to help you identify the types of opportunities that best fit your goals.
Some ideas include identifying organizations in your hometown, remote or local volunteer opportunities, tutoring, developing an independent or supervised research project, engaging in a micro-internship, using online courses or platforms to build skills, freelance work, building your network, and working on application materials.
We encourage you to connect with a career counselor for a 30-minute appointment to discuss options.
What if I don’t wind up having an internship this summer? Is this going to look bad on my resume in the long term?
As we’ve discussed above, there are many ways to create a meaningful summer experience even if you’re not doing an internship. So, if you don’t have an internship this summer, that’s okay!
Everyone has been affected by the current situation, including employers, who know that many students may not have had access to the same opportunities as usual this summer.
Even without an internship, there are lots of ways to strengthen your candidacy, whether this summer or beyond. This might include networking, building skills outside of internships, and updating your resume to highlight your skills and engagement with the field. Our career counselors can help you brainstorm what this might look like for you.
What types of volunteer opportunities can I do to build my skills?
There are countless ways you can build your skills by volunteering to help friends, colleagues, or your community. Check out just a few suggestions on our blog, In the Know, or connect with a career counselor for a virtual session via Zoom or phone to brainstorm ways that may work for you.
Finally, remember that you can build your skills even without volunteering; as a Columbia student you have free access to hundreds of online classes and workshops via LinkedIn Learning.
I keep hearing the term “micro-internship.” What is that and where can I find one?
A “micro-internship,” much like the term implies, is a short-term internship. Often, it involves completing a project that can take anywhere from 5 hours to several days. Micro-internships typically involve work that uses a specific skill-set and that does not require significant training. They are usually paid opportunities.
Micro-internships can be a good way to develop your portfolio, hone a skill, or get exposure to a new organization without committing to a full internship. Though they have been around for several years, they are gaining popularity during COVID-19.
There are several organizations that specialize in micro-internships. One of them is Parker Dewey, where any student can sign up to access their database of short-term work.
How will virtual learning affect employer perception of a Columbia education?
It’s important to remember that the entire world looks different right now. For many, including employers and other universities, this “new normal” includes adjusting to remote learning or work. We’re all navigating this new landscape together.
Your semester will likely look a bit different than usual—probably in some ways that you find challenging and others that you really appreciate. Nevertheless, as the university adjusts to a new hybrid model of learning, Columbia has committed to maintaining the quality of its courses and education in new creative ways.
One thing that hasn’t changed: employers continue to be interested in the holistic picture of your experience, which includes both what you learn in the classroom and what you learn outside of it.
Finally, remember that what you have control over are two things: how you take on the new challenge of hybrid or remote learning, and the story you tell about how you tackled this challenge with creativity, persistence, and resilience. We can help you reflect on this experience and practice telling this story.
How can I find a job or internship back home?
There are several resources you can use to help you to identify opportunities back home. We suggest checking out GoinGlobal (login required), one of our free premium resources, which includes a job board that’s searchable by country. You can also connect with alumni in your area using the Columbia Alumni Association Online Community, as well as Alumni Clubs and the LinkedIn alumni tool. Additionally, you can use LionSHARE to identify remote opportunities or search for opportunities in your area.
Do I need to use CPT/OPT for a remote opportunity, If I will be working from home?
Virtual and remote opportunities allow you the flexibility to pursue an internship from anywhere in the world. However, it is important to note that if you plan to do a remote internship or work remotely for a US company while at home, you will still need to use OPT or CPT. Learn more by visiting ISSO’s COVID-19 Resource Hub.
If you will be pursuing an opportunity for a company that is based in any country outside of your home county, we encourage you to research the work authorization requirements of that country.
If you have additional questions that you don’t see addressed here, we’d love to hear from you. Your input helps us understand how to continue developing resources and programs to support you during this time.