According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 95% of employers consider previous experience when making hiring decisions. I came across that statistic reading an article titled College Students: You Simply Must Do An Internship. It’s well-known that securing a summer internship weighs heavily on the minds of future graduates. 

In response to COVID-19, many organizations including household names like Disney and Yelp have had to rescind their internship offers. This has undoubtedly caused panic for those affected. 

The good news is, there are still many opportunities to strengthen yourself as a candidate. In his article What To Do If The Coronavirus Cancels Your Summer Internship, Christoper Rim, senior contributor for Forbes suggests starting your own project, conducting your own research, and studying for standardized tests. These are all wonderful ideas, and we wanted to add volunteering as a viable internship alternative.

Volunteering helps develop skills such as leadership and communication and employers know this. According to a survey by Deloitte, 85% of employers are willing to overlook resume pitfalls when a candidate includes volunteer experience. Despite this, only 30% of resumes recruiters see have volunteer experience listed. 

Furthermore, as the need for skills-based volunteering (SBV) grows, it’s easier than ever to gain relevant experience volunteering. Catchafire Enterprise Solution is a platform that connects skilled volunteers to nonprofit organizations that need their expertise. After surveying 450+ nonprofits in response to COVID-19, Catchafire found that the five problems nonprofits need the most help with are: alternative fundraising strategies to in-person events, remote working best practices, email marketing and social media, website updates and configuration, HR. You can find a comprehensive list of projects through Catchafire’s project menu here. Desired skills range from tech-assistance to professional development to marketing and communications. Regardless of your major, there’s a nonprofit that could benefit from your skills.

Even if you believe your skills are not refined enough to offer your services, it’s worth reaching out. COVID-19’s Economic Impact Is Hitting Nonprofits Hard, managers will be able to think of something you can help out with. Additionally, recruiters will like seeing that you found a productive way to spend your time amidst global chaos. Why not use this time as an opportunity to help others while helping yourself? 

Related reading: 9 Places to Volunteer Online

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