Career and Outreach Newsletter December 7, 2020

Since the pandemic began nine months ago, nearly all internships available have pivoted to a virtual format. Employers who continue to provide internships for University of Kansas students at the William Allen White School of Journalism note it is important for Jayhawk Journalists to remain well organized and proactive to succeed in a remote setting for the spring 2021 semester.

Here's a look at other best practices and interview tips:

Best Practices

SOURCE: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), May 1, 2020

Start with the basics. Your virtual internship should be similar to an in-person program with meaningful work that has value and provides an opportunity to build professional relationships with other interns and co-workers

Positive onboarding experience. Your internship provider should include detailed information about processes and fresh job descriptions that reflect the change in environment and expectations.

Necessary technology. Request sufficient wifi and a laptop or access to the various platforms needed to get their work done.

Adhere to a schedule. A schedule is fundamental to providing structure and outlining expectations. Internship providers should build in flexibility based on the work and interaction required.

Look for opportunities to interact with other interns, co-workers. Connection with other interns is important. Employers should provide the platforms so you can work in teams as well as connect “socially” and build interactions into their schedules.

Communication. Communicate with your supervisor when you’re overwhelmed and, to prevent that from even happening, only take on what you know you can handle. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Virtual Interview Tips

Greet the interviewer or interviewers with a hello. A wave is fine, too.

Prepare your area (paper, pen & resume) and location (hang sign to warn roommates or other visitors that an interview is in process). Minimize noise. Watch your pets. Speaking of pets ...

Steve's cat doesn't understand professional space.

Get in interview mindset. May help to dress as if you are in an in-person interview.

Sit up straight. Or stand up to help project voice.

Focus on framing. Face should be centered in screen.

Test technology before interview

Confirm time zone

Choose appropriate background

Dress appropriately. Make sure color does not blend into wall behind you.

Lighting is important. Avoid awkward shadows.

Camera should be 3 feet from your face (ensure microphone picks up your voice)

LOOK at camera, not screen


The spring Journalism Career Fair is set for Thursday, March 4, 2021. The fair, scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m., will likely be in a virtual format, similar to the event in late October. Look for more details in early 2021.


Steve Rottinghaus, career and outreach coordinator