Covid-19 FAQ

To protect the wellbeing of our staff, students, and employer partners, the physical office at 620 and 630 Lincoln is not open and walk-in advising is canceled until further notice.  NCA continues to provide full virtual services to all of our students and employer partners.  A full virtual appointment schedule is available through Handshake.  Handshake will also support all of our employer partners recruiting needs. 

The response to many questions that the NCA team is receiving is below.  We will continue to update these FAQs as new information becomes available.  If you have additional questions after reading this page, please contact NCA at nca@northwestern.edu or 847.491.3700 and we will respond quickly.  (Last updated 5/1/2020)

Can I talk with an adviser/counselor?

NCA is available for virtual and phone appointments which can be scheduled through Handshake

I have an immediate concern and can’t schedule an appointment. Is there another option for me?

If you are unable to make an appointment for an immediate concern, please feel free to email nca@northwestern.edu so that we can direct you to the best adviser/counselor that fits your needs.

Resources

Career Ambassadors are available Monday-Saturday for "Career Zoom-Ins" where undergraduate students can ask questions about their resume/cover letters virtually.  Log into Handshake > Events for days/times/Zoom info for the "Career Zoom-ins".

Can I get documents reviewed?

Yes, you can get all documents reviewed by NCA. These include resumes, cover letters, graduate school letters, CVs, personal statements for graduate and law school.

Tips

If you have already been meeting with a career adviser, ask your adviser if they are open to providing you with feedback on your documents via email instead of through an appointment. When emailing an adviser to ask for feedback on a document, always give the deadline (if there is one) because the adviser might not be able to get back to you in the same day.

Resources

  • Use NCA’s Career ZoomIns”.  Log into Handshake > Events for days/times/Zoom info for the "Career Zoom-ins".
  • Utilize VMock to have your resume and LinkedIn profile reviewed in addition to working with your career adviser.
How is Covid-19 affecting hiring?

While there are some industries that have been hard hit by the pandemic (e.g. hospitality, airlines), others may be thriving. In addition, NCA is still receiving new listings within Handshake every day. We encourage you to consider a wide variety of companies and industries in which to gain skills and experience.

Tips

When searching for opportunities, sort by 'Date Posted' to reveal the most recent internship/job postings so you know those are the ones that are still hiring right now.

Resources

I don’t have a summer opportunity. Should I bother looking?

Yes! Don’t assume that your companies of interest are NOT hiring. While it is difficult to make predictions on hiring, many companies are making every effort to preserve their internship and full time hiring.

Tips

In Handshake sort by date posted and on other job boards sort positions posted within the last 7-15 days.

Identify the skills you are hoping to develop this summer and meet with your career adviser to brainstorm 'outside of the internship box' ideas for getting experience using those skills. Employers will care about how you developed skills this summer, not where you developed them.

What should I do if my internship does get cancelled due to COVID-19?

The experience can still go on your resume to highlight that you were chosen (see example below).  You can also follow up with the employer to inquire about remote possibilities, project-based options or just to show interest in being considered for future opportunities.

 

If you have a job description add a bullet or two describing the experience will likely help provide additional clarity and context. Include company name, internship/job title, dates and location.

Example:

XYZ Company, Title - Internship offer obtained and rescinded due to COVID-19 New York, NY June, 2020-September 2020

-Bullet 1: description/overview/key responsibilities

-Bullet 2: If known, you can include information on the selection process: “Selected from over 200 applicants through a three-part interview process”

 

How do I identify companies that are hiring remotely?

Many companies are working diligently to attract and maintain talent by moving internships and jobs remotely.  Expand your list of target companies/organizations to those who are hiring remotely right now through resources such as Handshake and LinkedIn.

Tips

Reach out directly to employers and inquire about summer opportunities.  Sample prospecting email (PDF)

In Handshake go to "Jobs" - "Employers" (top right tab) - see listings of company profiles, which often include a contact email (sort by location, industry, and company size).

Use search terms such as "remote" "virtual" "telecommute" "cyber commute" when using Handshake or other posting sites

Consider past employers - since they already know you and your skills they may be able to provide recommendations to other employers they know are looking for candidates, or identify internal projects you could work on remotely

Resources

These websites were created to help students find remote opportunities during COVID-19:

How do I prepare for a virtual interview?

You should prepare for a virtual interview much in the same way that you would for an in-person interview. Make sure that you do your homework on the company culture, reach out to peers and alumni that have interned and/or worked at target companies, and be ready to talk about why you are a good fit in terms of skills and goals.

Tips

Schedule a virtual mock interview w/your career adviser via Handshake. You will not only get advice on how to prepare, but can practice conversing in a virtual setting, test out your technology, background etc.

Resources

Should I still reach out to alumni?

It is likely that alumni are trying to navigate the situation as well, both professionally and personally, so you may not hear back from "cold emails" alumni with issues regarding hiring, company, or industry information. However, don't take this personally! We do encourage you to use the Northwestern Mentorship Program to sources alumni who have already agreed to be mentors to current students.

Tips

Consider reaching out to alumni that you have engaged with in the past for advice during this time instead of cold emailing for informational interviews right now. You'll likely get a better response.

Resources

Northwestern Network Mentorship Program: Northwestern Alumni Association-sponsored database of Alumni that would like to mentor current students

If I can’t find an internship this summer, will it look bad?

This is a global phenomenon; therefore, everyone is being impacted in some way. Employers and graduate schools will take into account that every college student at this time may have a gap on their resume or transcript due to the pandemic. It’s also important to focus on the experiences and credentials you do have, not those that you don’t.

Tips

  • Learn a new skill: research skills that are valued by industries of interest (e.g. financial modeling, design, programming, foreign languages)
  • Volunteer: In your own community or remotely, there are volunteer positions where you can gain skills while helping others
  • Explore careers: explore industries and careers through talking with a career counselor, or using online resources such as Vault.
  • Talk with your peers to discuss topics such as how they chose their major, their major(s), skills development, and specific company culture in former internships
  • Explore project based work: take advantage of the gig economy and work on short term projects
  • Start your own project: designing a product, starting a small business, exhibiting your art or music online count as experiences

Resources

Are there other things I can do this spring/summer that are good alternatives to a traditional “internship”?

Employers and graduate schools often look at the many ways in which you have gained skills and industry knowledge.

Tips

Some examples of how to gain experience and skills are:

  • Take a Class: Taking a class will help you to help you learn/develop skills and get projects to add to your resume/portfolio
  • Student groups: Are there opportunities you may not have thought of as a member of a student organization. For example, try a new role, work on a project or develop a career related skill.
  • Volunteer: Activate your value of making a difference and giving back. Now more than ever organizations need talented individuals to step up and help out. Utilize idealist.org and VolunteerMatch, and Chicago Cares to find opportunities
  • Research: Work with faculty on an existing project or think of a problem you wish to solve.
I am worried about the impact of pass/fail on my GPA for internships, jobs, and graduate programs

The NCA employer relations team is in communication with employers who recruit at Northwestern to provide employers context about the academic decisions made in response to COVID-19, including winter and spring quarter grading policies. Northwestern isn’t the only campus that offered or changed to Pass/No Pass options so employers from all industries and graduate/professional schools are developing recruiting guidelines that take into account the varied grading policies for colleges and universities around the world.

Here are some additional considerations to reflect on as you go forward:

  • Reflect on your performance in the course you are considering changing to P/NP- are your happy with your letter grade? Do you feel it is representative of your performance?
  • In considering the potential difference in your GPA if you take a letter grade vs. P/NP: Is there a large difference between the outcome of either decision (keep in mind that most employers only want to see your GPA to the tenth or hundredth i.e. 3.4 of 3.44) ? Which GPA do you feel more confident presenting to an employer? Which GPA sets you up to continue your academic success at NU?
  • Keep in mind that while employers may review your transcript they are often not diving deep into this when you first apply, they are only reviewing your overall GPA. Have you had conversations with employer, graduate school, or alumni in which they mentioned this specific class being critical to the review of candidates for a role you are interested in applying to?
  • Know that this decision, while important will not make or break your future career plans

Resources

LSAC statement on P/F grades and canceled internships in law admission (refer to general questions section)

Does NCA still offer career counseling/ assessments if I am undecided on a path to pursue?
Yes, now is a great time to engage in career exploration and self-assessment. Please make an initial appointment on Handshake and select “Choosing a Career Path” as the appointment type.
What are NCA's offer policies? Have they changed?
Organizations are kindly requested to extend a maximum of three weeks for students to consider offers of full time employment or internships. Given the current climate and rapid changes in the recruiting landscape, NCA strongly encourages students to fully consider any/all offers extended.