Career Support During Covid - FAQS for Students, Recent Alumni, Postdoc Scholars and Employers
During this challenging time, CAPD continues to provide career development support and resources virtually. You don’t need to be on campus to get connected with CAPD.
These FAQs address questions on career advising, job searches, and recruiting. If you have other questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or view our contact-us page for other details. View up-to-date info and updates on how MIT is adapting to Covid and supporting the MIT community.
- How do I make a virtual appointment with CAPD?
- My graduate/professional schools are not offering in-person visits to prospective or accepted students; how do I decide which school to go to?
- How do I prepare for a remote interview?
- My summer plans are uncertain right now due to the Covid-19 virus. What can I do to identify new opportunities?
- Are employers still hiring?
- I am an alum worried about potentially losing my job and layoffs, or have already been laid off. What resources do you have?
- I am an international student who is searching for an internship or full-time position. Where should I start?
- I am an international student who may need to leave the U.S. prior to starting a full-time job, are there any considerations I need to make when planning travel?
- If I am an international student, can I work for a US company remotely while living outside of the US?
- Can I work and take classes at the same time? How will that impact my tuition?
- How do I find an internship?
- I’m an MIT international student. Can I apply?
- What is the status of recruiting at MIT?
- What changes to recruiting at MIT have been made in light of the Covid-19 virus?
- Now that I am restricted from recruiting on-campus, how else can I recruit MIT students for internships or full-time employment?
- How can I market that our organization is hosting a virtual program or information session?
- What are helpful tips and resources to reference if our organization is considering to offer remote internships?
- How can I support or advise MIT students who are on an F-1 visa to undertake a remote internship with our organization?
- Are there guidelines or legal considerations when offering an unpaid internship or experience?
Appointment availability can be located in your Handshake account under the Career Center tab where you can book a meeting with a staff member in Career Services, Distinguished Fellowships, and Prehealth Advising.
Check to see when the prospective school is offering a virtual tour or admissions event. Contact the admissions office to see if there are additional materials, or other graduate students and professors, they could put you in touch with to ask questions that might help you decide if the program is a fit for you. Use LinkedIn to find and connect with alumni from the graduate program and ask questions about their experience in the program. Identify what your priorities, goals, and values are when considering programs and center your questions around those topics.
CAPD has a Virtual Interviewing Tips resource for students to prepare. Our Career Development Handbook also has additional tips on phone and video interviews on page 56. MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni can schedule a practice interview through the Career Center tab in their Handshake account. If you are in need of an online method for hosting an interview MIT provides Zoom and Webex to all MIT community members. More information can be found at https://ist.mit.edu/telephony/audioform.
In addition to the information found on our Jobs & Internship page, the following are some resources to potentially identify a new opportunity for the summer. For more assistance tailored to your interests, please schedule an appointment with a career advisor through Handshake.
- Update or complete your profile in Handshake and set up your notification preferences to receive notices of opportunities that align with your interests.
- Use job boards such as Builtin.com, Indeed, LinkUp, LinkedIn.com ->Jobs, Engineerjobs.com, EnvironmentalCareer.com
- Explore careers through informational interviews. Use MIT's Alumni Advisors Hub & Infinite Connection Alumni Directory and LinkedIn’s Find Alumni Feature to connect with MIT alums near you.
- Connect with local companies or alums doing interesting work. Propose a project you would like to help them with.
- Complete short term or contract-based projects through Angelist, MIT Orbit or Dice.
- Apply for a Social Impact internship through the MIT PKG Center.
Alternatives to internships:
- Build your skills with free online courses like Coursera, EdX, and LinkedIn Learning.
- Outreach to research labs at local universities to inquire whether they need summer research help.
- Develop an independent project - design and/or build something and add it to your portfolio.
- Begin or update your portfolio. MIT’s MechE Communication Lab offers a helpful overview.
- Volunteer – Idealist & MIT Give Pulse are great resources to find opportunities.
- Explore graduate school programs that align with your interests. How might they help you with your career path planning? Review websites of schools, read research papers that interest you and figure out where the authors teach, send emails to potential PIs, and video chat with graduate students in different programs.
Finding opportunities closer to home:
In addition to the above-mentioned resources, investigate remote work opportunities with employers. If you currently have a summer experience lined-up, ask your employer about the possibility of working remotely or working at another office location closer to home. If you are searching for a new opportunity, look for descriptions that include flexible work arrangements or that signal the work would be remote.
Check your local universities for opportunities to conduct research. Look for formal summer programs open to external applicants, or consider sending an inquiry directly to a faculty member who is conducting research of interest to you to see if there is a possibility of working with them this summer.
Yes, employers are still hiring for summer internship and full-time employment opportunities. At the time of updating this article, in Handshake there are more than 2,000 internship and 5,000 jobs posted by more than 2,200 unique employers. Students are encouraged to setup their notification preferences in the system and make sure their profile is complete in order to receive postings.
CAPD has some tips around these areas, which include preparing for a potential job loss, financial resources for a layoff during COVID-19, how to talk about a layoff in an interview, and support in dealing with stress during unexpected transitions.
Alumni can access resources on these topics by logging into their Handshake account and navigating to the Career Center and the Resources section. If you need help creating your alumni Handshake account please email email@example.com or call 617-715-5327. Alumni seeking new job leads can also access the MIT Alumni Job Board.
MIT’s ISO offers online resources and information on navigating US employment related to student visa status. A student must attend an ISO Employment Information Session before they can apply for off-campus employment authorization. Since in-person sessions cannot be held at this time, ISO has moved these Employment Information Sessions online. Please refer to ISO correspondence, as well as links on the “Employment” webpage on the ISO website, for these materials.
For further questions, especially around visas, please contact your ISO Advisor.
The CAPD career team can then assist international students on the aspects of navigating the job search, including topics like resume/CV and cover letter reviews, how to find opportunities, practice interviews, networking in the US, and negotiation. Individual virtual appointments can be booked with our career team in Handshake under the Career Center.
Students should be very cautious about traveling outside the U.S. given current travel restrictions to the U.S. and current suspension/limitations in visa services at U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad. Given these restrictions, students may want to consider postponing any travel outside the U.S.
For students applying for off-campus employment authorization with USCIS, it is advisable to not travel outside the U.S. until the application is approved. If you must travel prior to approval, you are advised to wait to travel until you have received confirmation (text/email or paper Receipt Notice) of your application’s receipt from USCIS.
It is also advised that you speak with your employer to see if they recommend any limitations on travel or to at least have a plan in place if you are not able to return to the U.S. as scheduled.
If you would be required to obtain a new student entry visa from a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad in order to return to the U.S., or your destination country/countries are subject to U.S. travel restrictions, there is a higher likelihood of delayed return to the U.S. that should be considered.
An international student in F-1 or J-1 status requires U.S. employment authorization if your activity/internship/job meets any one of the following criteria:
- Any portion of the activity will be performed inside the U.S.;
- The employer/host organization is U.S.-based;
- Any funding/salary/stipend received for the activity is from a U.S. source.
If you are pursuing an internship/activity for a U.S. employer, even if you are doing the activity abroad you will need to secure proper U.S. employment authorization (F-1 Curricular Practical Training or F-1 Optional Practical Training, or J-1 Academic Training) BEFORE you may begin the activity.
If you will be doing an activity for a foreign-based company, but doing any of the activity within the U.S., you will also need U.S. employment authorization (as the activity is being performed inside the U.S.).
Students may choose to take a lighter load of courses to balance the hours worked in the internship. For instance, if a student is working 20 hours a week, they may opt for a 24-credit course load. You should discuss this with your academic advisor to be sure that you are making satisfactory progress to degree and on track to an on-time graduation, as this has housing and other implications (see below).
If you take a reduced load to make room for an internship for which you are not receiving academic credit, then your tuition would be as follows:
12 units – $830 x 12 = $9,960
24 units – $830 x 24 = $19,920
36 units – full tuition is assessed = $26,725
If you register for an approved internship subject (e.g. 6.922) only, the tuition would be $9,335.
Under US law, international students are subject to special rules and requirements for course enrollment and employment authorization, in addition to being subject to employment and tax regulations in their home country. We strongly recommend that international students consult with the International Students Office prior to applying for this or any other internship.
Thank you for your interest in recruiting at MIT. No in-person MIT-sponsored gatherings or events are permitted, whether on or away from campus, until further notice. At this time, we are planning for virtual recruiting activities only for the Fall 2021 semester.
For a full list of virtual career fairs for the 2021-22 academic year, please visit our career fair page, which we expect to update in July.
In light of MIT initiating a limited access plan for all of MIT's Cambridge campus, visitors to campus are no longer permitted.
We encourage employers to continue to promote internship and job opportunities in Handshake. We have heard a range of concerns from students in regard to participating in internships far from home, abroad, or in locations of concern based on the virus spread. We ask employers to be flexible and consider ways students can work remotely on projects should the COVID-19 virus concerns continue. Please reach out to Employer Relations to discuss possible ideas for projects and remote work opportunities or if you plan to modify or rescind a job or internship offer previously extended to a current student or recent graduate.
- Update Postings in Handshake: We encourage all organizations to review and update their current postings on Handshake. We continue to emphasize to students that they should utilize Handshake as a primary source for their internship and employment search.
- Participate in Virtual Career Fair: Additional details about the schedule for Virtual Career Fairs in the Fall will be communicated as soon as possible. We anticipate to announce more information about Fall Virtual Career Fairs in June.
- Schedule Virtual Interviews: Employers who seek to interview MIT students this coming Fall are encouraged to schedule virtual (phone or video) interviews with candidates. For assistance with scheduling virtual interviews, please connect with a member of the Employer Relations team (firstname.lastname@example.org). Reservations for Fall 2021 will open on July 1, 2021.
If your organization is planning to host virtual recruiting events, programs, information sessions, coffee chats etc., please publish those events in Handshake and extend the programs and events to MIT. By doing so the event will be advertised on the MIT Handshake calendar. More information about hosting a virtual recruiting event is available on our book a company presentation page, including how your organization can benefit from CAPD Sponsored Event Support.
As more companies shift to virtual work arrangements and because of a range of concerns from students in regard to participating in internships far from home or in locations of concern based on the COVID-19 virus spread, remote internship opportunities for college students allow companies to continue their internship programs and maintain a pipeline to recruit top talent. In consideration of how to best deliver a meaningful remote internship experience and program, the National Association of Colleges and Employers provides helpful resources for organizations to reference when planning for a remote internship program. Below are a list of resources we recommend you review:
- NACE COVID-19 page (resources are at the bottom)
- Using Project-Based Remote Work During Covid-19 (presentation)
- The Benefits of Remote Work for Students (NACE Blog)
- COVID-19’s Impact on University Recruiting (article with good links to resources in the body of the text)
- Virtual Internships Checklist for Success (handout)
International students who are on an F-1 visa should be advised to consult with the MIT International Student Office to discuss their specific OPT/CPT requirements and confirm the best approach to set up a remote internship. MIT has in place a few possibilities for students on an F-1 visa to undertake a remote internship through an academic department or the MIT curriculum. In some instances students on an F-1 visa may be unable to undertake a remote internship. Company representatives who are arranging for remote internships are advised to check in with their human resources department to ensure employment conditions exist within their organization to support a remote internship.
Unpaid opportunities are not ideal. Please review the CAPD website for employers and The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for guidelines on what would be considered allowable, and the criteria which should be met when offering an unpaid internship.
In light of the current circumstances, students are not only worried about gaining valuable experience but also their finances. We recommend employers use the criteria provided by NACE to ensure that students are being appropriately compensated for their work. Compensation can come in many forms however, and employers should consider other means of compensation if a salary is not possible. Examples include stipends, housing, travel expenses, etc.
At this time, MIT is planning for career fairs to be held virtually in Fall 2021. To learn more about MIT's event policies visit the MIT Now events guidelines site. Please check on fair details on our career fair page for updated information on about upcoming career fairs and what virtual platforms they will be held on.