Telling Your Pandemic Story

For many students, the impact of the global pandemic was felt in their career development and planning.  Internship plans once secured were altered; Opportunities to learn via hands-on experience in a professional setting felt more sparse and/or non-existent.  Regardless of the fact that your initial plans may have changed or you did something entirely different, you still have a story to tell.   

Describing cancelled experiences on your resume

Even if your experience was cancelled due to Covid-19, there is still great merit in securing that opportunity.  It showcases that you are perceived by an employer to have a particular skill set and value-proposition.

On your resume, you can include the organization name, organization location, position title, and dates along with an indication that the experience was cancelled or adjusted.  You are not required to include bullet points to describe the experience if the experience was entirely cancelled; you can write bullet points to describe your experience if the experience was altered in any way. You can format the resume as shown below:

(Please note: formatting of examples below may alter based on web browser)

Summer Analyst | Inquisitive, Evanston, IL                            Summer 2020 (Cancelled due to Covid-19)

OR

Inquisitive, Evanston IL                                                                                               Summer 2020
Summer AnalystCancelled due to Covid-19

OR

Inquisitive, Evanston, IL                                                                                              Summer 2020
Summer Analyst

  • Impacted by Covid-19; experience was adapted to a two-week virtual training session with trading simulation

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

Graduate students: similar to a cancelled internship, you can provide an annotation or parenthetical note to indicate conferences or grants impacted by Covid-19.

Describing skills developed during virtual work/internship experiences:

Your story is one that showcases your strengths, your skills, your values, and/or your interests and that is no different even in the midst of the global pandemic. In fact, the circumstances that resulted because of the pandemic may have advanced your skills, highlighted your values, or surfaced interests not previously focused on.

Whether your summer plans consisted of an internship conducted virtually, an independent research project, or a series of training seminars and workshop, you are encouraged to think about the skills the work entailed. Use the Transferrable Skills (PDF) as a starting point for examining your experience.

Ask yourself:

  • What types of problems did I contribute to solving?
  • How did my communication skills contribute to team meetings and relationship development?
  • What opportunities did I take to lead or facilitate tasks or projects?
  • How did a I use my creativity to add value? Did I think outside of the box?
  • What did I contribute to building and contributing to a positive team dynamic in a remote workplace?
  • What tools did I use manage projects and share updates? Did I have a process or order to my work?
  • In times of change, how did I adapt to adjustments in project goals? Initiatives? Priorities?
  • How did I go above and beyond? Did I offer anything new?

As you think about the global pandemic, think about how you used your time and be prepared to share that as part of your career story. Employers and organizations are facing the impact of the pandemic – as such, they are aware and acknowledge that your experiences may look less traditional. What they are most interested in is how you used your times, what impact you made, and how you continued your career development and planning considering these circumstances.