How to Get an Internship or Job When Hiring is All Virtual

Learn how to navigate virtual recruitment and stand out to employers online.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Recruiting season may look different this year, but luckily thousands of employers are searching for students on Handshake. So, how can you be ready to land your next job or internship virtually this year? Follow these steps to make the most of your online job hunt. 

Complete your Handshake profile

This is always our first piece of advice for student job seekers, because your profile is fundamental to getting hired on Handshake. Employers are searching for students to recruit based on the information in their profiles such as major, graduation date, and interests (job type, cities, roles). And you can highlight all of the things that make you uniquely qualified including your courses, organizations, work experience and skills. When you complete your profile, you’ll be more likely to receive direct messages from employers inviting you to events or to apply for jobs.

The next step is crafting your resume with the information included in your profile. Upload and save your resume to your Handshake account so it’s ready when you’re applying to jobs. You can upload more than one version of your resume—so consider adapting it for different roles that you want to apply for.

Start networking online

You’ve probably heard that networking is important, and it can sound a bit intimidating. But “networking” really just means making a connection with someone from your school, extracurriculars, volunteer groups—or just reaching out to someone you don’t know who shares the same professional interests. There are many different ways to start networking online. 

Find alumni of your school on Handshake who have or had roles that you’re interested in and send them a message. Introduce yourself and tell them you’d like to learn more about their experience. Ask them a question you have about their organization or how they began their career. And don’t forget to thank them in advance for connecting and sharing their advice.

Try looking for online professional interest groups to make connections with people in the fields that you’re exploring. It may take some research; you can also reach out to your professors or club leaders for their suggestions.

Stay up-to date on employers 

When you see an employer on Handshake that you like, click the Follow button on their page. If you’re on the Handshake app, click the star button. Following employers on Handshake is so useful because you’ll receive email alerts when they post new jobs and events. Plus, it helps improve your job recommendations. The more you explore and follow employers you’d like to work for, the more relevant your recommendations become.

Additionally, you can set search engine alerts for your top employers and follow their social media accounts. These are easy ways to learn about new initiatives, jobs, and other notable updates on their organization. 

Attend virtual recruiting events

One of the biggest opportunities to connect with employers this year is at virtual events on Handshake. Employers are hosting group and 1:1 sessions to give students a look at their organizations and to recruit for open jobs and internships. Be sure to check your email for event announcements and log in often to see upcoming events for students at your school. You’ll also be notified when employers you follow are attending virtual fairs on Handshake. 

When you register for a virtual fair, you can sign up early for sessions with the employers you want to meet and learn more about—a major advantage over traditional career fairs. Don’t miss these prime recruiting opportunities! 

Read our guide to virtual events, with tips and tricks to know before you attend.

Practice for virtual interviews

Just like in-person interviews, it takes some practice to get comfortable with virtual interviews. This is the time to call in some reinforcements. Ask a friend or family member to help you practice. Start with your “elevator pitch”—a brief introduction about you, your background and career goals. Then have them ask you a few common interview questions and ask them for any feedback on your answers. While you don’t need to memorize exactly what you’ll say, it’s very important to get more comfortable answering interview questions. 

Check out our post with more ways to impress employers during a virtual interview.

Chat with your career center

Your school’s career center staff are an incredible resource, so take advantage of their knowledge. They can answer your job and internship questions, help you craft your resume and cover letters, or even practice for virtual interviews. They also have insight on employers that are hiring at your school and those that may have strong alumni networks. Call your career center and schedule an appointment—they’ll be happy to help you. 

Apply apply apply

You can’t get a job if you don’t apply, right? It may go without saying, but you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting hired if you apply to a lot of open jobs. And try to keep an open mind, especially if you’re not quite sure what you want to do. Now is the time to gain different experiences and learn what you do and don’t like about a job. 

Luckily Handshake will surface recommendations based on your profile, to help you find the jobs you want to apply for. Once you have your profile filled in and resumes uploaded, you’ll be able to apply to many jobs on Handshake in just a few clicks.

Be proactive and follow up

No matter where your job search takes you, be consistent and follow up. Whether it’s a message from an employer, an application, virtual event or interview—always consider three p’s: be proactive, prompt and polite. For interviews, whether informational or for an open job, it’s best practice to send a thank you note within 24 hours. In your thank you note, share something specific that you enjoyed learning or talking about, and reiterate your interest in the job, career path, etc. 

If you discussed an open job or internship with an employer during a virtual event, make sure to apply as soon as possible. If the employers shared their contact information with you, send them a note thanking them and letting them know you’ve applied.

Your online actions are especially important when recruiting is virtual. If you can’t make a great impression in person, it’s best to be extra responsive and appreciative to the connections you make online. 

Log into Handshake now to get started on your virtual job search!

DePaul Career Center Remote Resources

We know the world can seem like an overwhelming place at the moment. We are here to help. Schedule an appointment to meet with us virtually and check out the resources included below.


Career Advising Appointments

Worker using computer

Career advising appointments are still available and currently being held virtually via phone or Zoom. Schedule an appointment to review your resume, discuss your career pathways, prepare for an interview and more!

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.45.32 PM


Zoom Drop-In Coaching

Incoming video call, A portrait of a young female character on a mobile phone screen, Millennial lifestyle

Mon: 9:00am -5:30pm, T/W/Th: 9:00am-7:00pm,
F: 9:00am-5:00pm, Sun: 12:00-4:00pm
Our Peer Career Coaches are now offering drop-in coaching sessions for DePaul students and alumni. Peers can review your resume or cover letter, provide general career guidance, and answer questions about Handshake, LinkedIn and other Career Center resources.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.45.44 PM


Searching for a job or internship?

1500-0-

Handshake is our career platform and employers are posting there every day! 80% of students with updated profiles get contacted by recruiters.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.45.53 PM


Career Resource Library
Screen Shot 2020-03-30 at 5.06.52 PM

Check out our library of over 50 handouts on a wide variety of career topics, ranging from preparing for a video interview to tailoring your resume and cover letter for a specific role. Our most popular handout is Resume Basics!

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.46.06 PM


Website Chat
chat3_cm-

Have a quick question about how to make an appointment? Need help locating a resource? We’re available to chat on our website Monday – Friday from 9am – 5pm.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.46.20 PM


Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK)

Screen Shot 2020-03-31 at 11.47.13 AM

Social distancing doesn’t mean disconnecting! Search for and connect with over 1,500 alumni volunteers for career, academic and life advice on the DePaul ASK network.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 4.46.29 PM

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Career Center Intern

By: Renee Radzom, DePaul University graduate, former University Internship Program (UIP) assistant

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.


While working in the DePaul Career Center as a receptionist, Alex Nguyen, DePaul University mathematics major, was given an advancement opportunity to assist with the overall operations of the Loop office. This opportunity gave Alex more responsibilities and allowed him to further his professional development while helping students do the same.

Alex said he has the opportunity to oversee and create the schedule for the receptionist team and train new staff. “I assign daily tasks and give them regular feedback as to how they can improve their customer service skills.” The managerial opportunities have proven invaluable to Alex who “never thought it would be something [he] would be good at.” Along with supervising and training, Alex keeps inventory for the Loop office.

During the internship, Alex decided to take a UIP class offered through the Career Center’s University Internship Program; Alex took the class titled UIP 250: You, Your Work, and the World. One of his favorite aspects of the class was that he created his own career portfolio, which allowed him to think about what professional skills he already has and which ones he wants to work on. “The class encouraged me to go outside of my comfort zone and think about what other capabilities I have within my current internship,” Alex said.

The biggest piece of advice Alex has from his experience: “…Step out of your comfort zone and responsibilities and see what else you can do. Just because it isn’t in the job description, doesn’t mean you can’t take initiative and give yourself more opportunities.”

Alex’s story is an example that you can gain new responsibilities and even move up to a new position at an internship when you work hard and push yourself above and beyond your daily routine.


Want to learn about DePaul’s University Internship Program? Check it out, here, or send inquiries to UIP@depaul.edu. Need help finding an internship? Visit depaul.joinhandshake.com, or come into DePaul’s Career Center to meet with an advisor.