Finding that first job out of college is never easy. Remember those days of wondering whether you have enough experience, contacts and confidence? It’s all the more challenging in 2020 with the onset of Coronavirus and its impact on hiring.
Two George Mason University students are working at ECU Communications as accounting interns. They have been valuable additions to our accounts payable team, and share their insights on what it’s like to hit the job market during these times of social distancing, working remotely, and finding a full-time job in a market that looked promising just months ago.
“With COVID-19, I think there is definitely a huge impact on my future career,” says Masood, a 2020 graduate with a degree in finance. “With a lot of companies on a hiring freeze, and loads of applicants, finding a full-time job will be difficult.”
Romero, who is working toward his finance degree in 2021, agrees. “I haven’t been searching for work because of this position, but my friends have told me that it depends on the company and, overall, it has been quite difficult.”
Learning new skills
Still, the pair are making the best of things to learn new skills and about a new industry to them – marketing and advertising.ECU is a diverse and inclusive workplace, and we value our internship program as an opportunity to build and attract great talent. Similarly, our interns have had opportunities to learn our industry, focus on their specializations, and be mentored.
“In terms of accounting, I’ve learned the importance of consistent accuracy rather than doing things quickly that result in mistakes,” Romero says. “It’s been very interesting seeing how the process of making advertisements nationwide is done and handled, and the accounting involved in making that happen.”
“When I got this internship, it was very exciting considering that this was my first finance-focused internship,” Masood says. “Coming in I was excited to learn new skills and meet everyone. One thing that no one expected was how COVID would change the workplace. I have never worked with others who are working remotely, but despite that I still am learning a lot.”
Romero says the internship is a positive experience in part because he felt welcome.
“Everyone in the office and working remotely has been great, they all welcomed my questions and they provided me with helpful information,” he says. “It made working in a new environment very welcoming.”
In addition to learning how the accounting process works at our agency – and the volume of invoices, insertion orders and receipts that goes with it – the interns say they received valuable experience in how companies are run and projects are completed.
“This internship gave me great insights on what the process is like from start to finish,” Masood adds. “It’s a great learning environment and I think other interns can expect the same.”