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8 Ways to Learn from Your Cancelled Internship

A guide to navigating your cancelled summer internship 

It goes without saying, this is a difficult time for everyone. Not only for full-time employees who have traded their corner office for their kitchen table, but for those students just like you who had to pack up your entire rooms and flee from college or come home from your abroad programs. From missing your friends to missing those exciting lectures (well maybe you don’t miss them too much), it’s safe to say Zoom University is no match for your beloved college campus. From everyone at Suitably, we’re so sorry this is affecting the supposed “best four years” of your life.

We also feel for those who have had your summer internships cancelled or are unsure if you still have one. We, too, loved our summer internships throughout college and remember working so hard to secure them. Although you may feel like those dozens of emails and hours of interview preparation weren’t worth it, we assure you it was. Every email you send and interview you have is a learning experience and helps you grow. We know you may be feeling anxious about “nothing” to do this summer, but don’t worry, we want to share 8 different things you can do to settle your nerves and grow professionally. 

1. Network, Network, Network!

Now is the time to use your family, friends and their friends. Your network wants to support you in any way they can now, even if that means just giving you someone’s email address. If your friends and family don’t have anyone for you to connect with, use your own LinkedIn to research companies and find people to contact. Also, be sure to use your alumni network to get those emails. Strangers are more likely to help you if they see you’re at their alma mater. We’ve put together a cold email template to help you get started. 

2. Be Bold About Every Opportunity

We know you already put in so much effort to secure your original internship. Although it seems like a lot more work, send your resume everywhere that interests you and tell everyone exactly what you’re looking for. Being confident and being bold is what hiring managers want. Use what you learned from your original recruiting process to make the most out of this impromptu one. 

3. Develop Your Skills

Having “nothing” to do doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use this time to teach yourself a new skill and build out your resume even more. There are so many free classes available online to broaden your knowledge. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite free classes. There are many LinkedIn or Google certification classes you can take advantage of too. Pick any skill or topic and start learning! There’s also virtual industry meetups that you can find and join in order to build specific knowledge.

4. Be Open to Different Experiences

With the economy taking a downturn and many companies in hiring freezes, there are limited jobs available. But don’t worry, you can create a job position that didn’t exist before. Whether that position comes from reaching out to a startup and offering your help or offering a family friend your skills to help run their business, you should be open to anything and everything. Cold emailing will be your savior! 

5. Get Involved in Your Community

If your second internship search doesn’t go as planned, contributing to your local community is the best way to build yourself. Many workforce members never had the time to do philanthropic work, but lucky for you, you have the time! Whether it’s creating a donation fund for your local food bank, making surgical masks out of extra t-shirts, or sending meals to hospital workers, even the smallest thing makes an impact in your community.

6. Remember Everyone’s With You

You’re not alone in this unemployment battle. Not only are other college students in the same boat as you, but even full-time workers who rely on their salary to maintain their livelihood are without jobs. We will all make it out of this together, just like the class of 2008 who could barely get hired during the last economic recession. But, hey, they did it, and so can you.

7. Become Your Own Boss

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own company, but you haven’t found your million dollar idea yet? Well, now is the time to brainstorm! Become your own boss and take charge of your future. Even if you never dreamed of being a founder, use this time to do research or start a new project of your own. Whether it’s launching the world’s next Uber (which was launched during the 2008 recession!) or writing your own book, it’s time to be your own boss.

8. Keep in Touch

If you’re one of the lucky few who still have an internship lined up or are still recruiting for open positions, be sure to keep in touch with the hiring manager. Everything can always change, especially in times like these. Asking for those updates shows extreme initiative. Just be sure not to email them too frequently! 

We hope at least one of these tips resonated with you. It’s such a difficult time for everyone, but that means we’re all going through this together. This will unite you and your fellow students even morewe promise! Facing obstacles like a cancelled internship is frustrating, but the way in which you handle this challenge will set you up for your entire future. Who knowsmaybe a future interview question will be how you handled this summer. :)

Stay strong, stay motivated, and stay positive. Feel free to DM us or chat with us at if you have any questions or just want some advice! Remember that success suits you and we are always in your corner.

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