Fall Planning

We realize this is an extremely difficult time for all of our students, as you navigate your next steps. We want you to know that we acknowledge your concerns and want to assist and support you in all the ways that we can.

As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we will share relevant information, provide guidance and encouragement, and offer strategies for moving forward. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us individually and to the general Purposeful Work email address (purposefulwork@bates.edu) with your needs and questions.

Virtual Appointments:

We continue to offer virtual appointments for students and alumni. If you can make a virtual appointment on Handshake, please do so directly. (Login to Handshake, go to the upper tab “Career Center” and then click “Appointments”.) If you cannot, please email purposefulwork@bates.edu with your needs and availability (M-F, 9AM-4PM EST). Please include your best phone number in your request and note your preference for virtual contact: phone, Zoom, Google Hangout, or other. You will receive email confirmation of your scheduled appointment. A staff member will follow up with you should we need additional information to coordinate your appointment.

Drop Ins by Email or Zoom:

There will be two PW staff members on call every weekday 1-3 pm to review resumes, cover letters, and answer questions via email. If you send an email to purposefulwork@bates.edu by 3 pm, we will respond by 4:30 pm EST that same day.

Interested in speaking with someone directly? We are also offering Zoom drop-ins (7-9PM ET at https://bates.zoom.us/j/92562630956). We’ll be hosting them every Wednesday from now through the end of August. When you join, you will enter into a waiting room. Please be patient and a counselor will be with you as soon as possible.

To all prospective Purposeful Work interns:

In response to the challenging economic circumstances created by COVID-19, and the difficulties associated with recruitment and hiring during this time, Purposeful Work has made the strategic decision to move almost all internships we are funding in summer 2020 to a virtual format. We will also consider seniors as part of this year’s Purposeful Work Internship Program. Given the limited pool of available funding, this means that we will unfortunately not be able to consider first years this year. 

What’s Different This Year: The 2020 Purposeful Work Internship Program will be almost exclusively virtual, and projects and internships will vary in length and scope depending on the needs of the employer. We are actively working with employers, including many Bates alumni and parents, to imagine new projects and summer internships for you, and to re-imagine internships they have offered in the past. 

What’s the Same This Year: The Purposeful Work Internship Program is unique because of its emphasis on goal-setting, reflection, and cohort-based communication with your peers and Center staff. All of this will stay the same. We will help employers and students carry out these tasks and communications virtually — as we are all expanding our creative, problem-solving, and communication skills in this new shared virtual reality. 

What Steps Do You Take? There are two ways to apply to participate in a Purposeful Work Internship: 

1) Apply on Handshake to work for an employer who has posted a Virtual Purposeful Work Internship (keyword PW 2020). As we secure additional opportunities with alumni, parents, and friends of Bates, they will be continuously shared on Handshake. Continue to search Handshake Jobs for PW 2020 as employers add new opportunities weekly. Application deadlines for these opportunities vary by individual posting.

Eligibility: to be eligible to apply for these opportunities posted on Handshake, students must have completed SkillScan Express and have their resume and cover letter reviewed by staff at the Center for Purposeful Work.

2) If you have secured a meaningful work opportunity of 75-300 hours on your own that is unpaid or low-paying, you can apply for funding here on Handshake.  

Eligibility: to be eligible to apply for PW 2020 Virtual Internship Competitive Funding, students must have their resume reviewed by Purposeful Work staff, and complete the application form posted on Handshake here. As noted, there will be three funding deadlines: April 27, May 11, May 25. 

Events, employer information sessions, workshops:

We have moved as many of our existing events and workshops as possible to a virtual format. In order for us to facilitate communication about events with students quickly and easily, please RSVP to events via Handshake. We will continue to post new virtual events on Handshake, publicizing them through Handshake and other means.

Check out the Purposeful Work YouTube channel for a variety of recorded workshops and alumni interviews!

Creating a Purposeful (COVID-19) Summer:


As COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives, we know that many of you are following the news closely, from World Health Organization updates to the status of the markets to the state of political affairs. Regardless of which lens(es) you’re evaluating the pandemic through, make sure to record your impressions. You’re living through a major world event.

Consider the purposeful work being done by healthcare workers, policymakers, journalists, grocery store clerks, custodians, cooks, farmers, and laborers during this difficult time. How might this experience shape what’s next for you?

When we talk about purposeful work, we refer to using your strengths and skills while doing work that aligns with your interests and values. Going forward, you’ll test out many experiences that will help you pinpoint what those strengths, interests, and values are.

Reflect on what you’re experiencing right now and how you’re handling the current situation and all of its challenges. What are you struggling with most? Why? What actions are you taking? Knowing these answers will help you identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses. How you develop and grow during this time will be part of your story to tell — to potential employers, to those you support and mentor, to future Batesies.


We realize that the current global health crisis has put a serious damper on job opportunities, recruitment processes, and hiring timelines. Given the nature of the pandemic, the uncertainty is likely creating significant anxiety. To that end, we’ve identified several articles that offer insight and advice for navigating the job search against the backdrop of the coronavirus unknown.

Business Insider: 8 Industries Hiring Over 1,000 Interns Right Now

Fast Company: Who is Hiring During the Coronavirus? Try These Industries

Forbes: How To Job Search During The Coronavirus Lockdown

Forbes: These Companies Are Still Hiring—Here’s Their Top Advice For Getting Hired

Glass Door: 14 Companies Offering Internships for College Graduates and Students Now

LinkedIn: Coronavirus Drives Demand for These Jobs

LinkedIn: Here’s Who’s Hiring Right Now

The Muse: What Does the Coronavirus Pandemic Mean for Your Job Search?

The Muse: Companies Are Still Hiring During COVID-19—Here Are 89 That Want Your Applications Now

Vault: 9 Job Search Tips for International Students in the Age of Coronavirus

Candor: For live user-generated updates from companies across the country: List of companies freezing hiring (and those that are still hiring)

For those of you actively working on a job search: i) engage with the Vault guides in Handshake for industry knowledge; ii) research employers and industry associations; iii) register on Handshake for information sessions and virtual events with recruiters; (iv) consult with alumni on BatesBridge and LinkedIn; (v) watch out for communications from Purposeful Work regarding internship program updates, project-based opportunities, and online learning platforms; and (vi) collect wisdom from those around you who’ve dealt with job searches in difficult times. Find out what you need to know to make informed choices about your next steps.


This summer, the Purposeful Work Internship Program has gone fully virtual and changed the parameters for funding virtual internships. We’re now allowing students who secure internships of 75-300 hours to apply for Purposeful Work funding.

For those of you considering other short-term opportunities, we wanted to highlight two additional programs that you may wish to explore: Parker Dewey micro-internships (paid) and Paragon One remote externships (unpaid). Both of these programs provide access to short-term professional development experiences. Check out their platforms to see if what they offer matches your personal and professional needs at this time.

With the markets being heavily impacted by COVID-19, companies have had a varied response to the current situation, from shifting all staff to virtual work, to eliminating new hires and interns. Given the impact of COVID-19, what industries and employers are ramping up or pulling back on hiring? It may be helpful to connect with local businesses and community organizations that provide essential services to determine whether there are needs that you can fill. If you can’t secure a full-time position, would you accept a part-time one or volunteer your time? Consider what makes the most sense for your personal and financial situation.

Along with internships and jobs, volunteering can be an especially impactful way to spend your time, have a positive impact in your community, and develop new skills. Are there organizations in your community where you could lend a hand? If you’re politically active, can you lend your skills to campaigning for a candidate or cause you care deeply about? Your local United Way, Idealist.org, and this volunteer search tool from the Commission for National and Community Service can be great places to start. 


If you’re looking to get exposure to knowledge and skills that you didn’t get a chance to during the year, there are many online platforms that are available to students for free or low cost. These include Coursera and EdX, as well as Codecademy and Udemy, and even Duolingo and Babbel. Additional opportunities include HBS Online, which has offered to provide its May or June CORe program to Bates students this summer at a significantly lower cost given COVID-19 circumstances. (Contact Hoi Ning Ngai with any questions and to request the promotional code expiring on June 16, 2020.) If you’re looking to register for summer courses at non-Bates institutions, make sure to check in with the Registrar’s Office for any questions regarding degree credits.

Don’t forget to check out our recorded events and workshops available on our Purposeful Work YouTube Playlist. From navigating Handshake, BatesBridge, and LinkedIn functionalities, to searching for jobs during COVID-19, to building an effective venture pitch, to getting into specific fields and industries of interest, our staff and alumni are here to provide you with the tools and insights to make informed decisions about your professional endeavors. As we build out this platform, we’ll continue to add content in response to student needs.


Like Rome, relationships aren’t built in a day. They’re built on expressing interest and care in others over time and engaging beyond introductions and formalities. Reach out to those you’ve crossed paths with briefly but would like to know better. For example, did you meet an interesting alum at one of our Purposeful Work events? Did you connect with them on LinkedIn? Have you reached out to see how they are, especially if their industry has been uniquely impacted by recent events? They may not have time to answer right away, but the outreach conveys initiative, attentiveness, and thoughtfulness — qualities that organizations and teams seek in potential hires. Even if an employer or organization isn’t currently hiring, take every chance to make a positive and lasting impression.

If you’re new to career exploration, that’s OK. There’s plenty of time to consult with alumni on BatesBridge and LinkedIn and learn more about industries from insiders. Don’t feel pressure to narrow your career research yet, but if you’re motivated to start exploring, the summer is a great time to build your relationships and expand your networks so you can gather information and set yourself up well for professional activities moving forward. We at Purposeful Work can help you update your resume, set up your profiles, and figure out how to reach out to alumni with general or specific questions. By the end of the summer, you may be able to expand your professional contacts significantly.


Even if you’ll still be busy over the summer, some rest and relaxation can be beneficial, especially given the strange and stressful way that the academic year ended. Take some time to reflect on the year — on your own, with your family and friends, with teachers and mentors. Reconnect with those you haven’t been in touch with for a while. Listen to your favorite music. Rewatch your favorite movies. Get outside, go for a bike ride, explore your neighborhood with new eyes. While physical travel options may be limited, take advantage of online resources for virtual exploration of sites around the globe. It won’t be the same, but it could inspire you to consider new places to visit once the world recovers.


During times of crisis, it’s critical for you to persist, respond, and be flexible as needed. We know that many of you are experiencing varying degrees of challenge given COVID-19’s negative impact. Similar to those who’ve lived through other global crises, we know that you too will get through this challenging period. Make sure not only to find the helpers, but also to be the helpers. We’ll get through this together.

As always, we’re here for you.

Purposeful Work Partners with Parker Dewey for Micro-Internships:

When you are launching your career, Micro-Internships provide a tremendous opportunity. Not only can you explore different career paths and work on interesting assignments, you can also demonstrate your abilities to potential employers while building your professional portfolio and network. Beyond that, your academic experience will improve as you apply what is taught in the classroom to the real world (and vice versa). Oh, did we forget to mention that you get paid for all of this?

Learn more and create a free account here.

Purposeful Work on Social Media and In the News:

Learn more about Purposeful Work by checking us out on social media and in the news.






On-Campus Jobs with Purposeful Work (2020-21):

To those who may have applied or are planning to apply to the Purposeful Work Fellow, Office Assistant, or Digital Marketing Assistant role: at this time we are pausing all hiring for Fall Semester 2020/21. Like so many, our staff is working to respond to the most current news re: COVID-19 and its effect on our work with Bates students, staff, and faculty. Please know that we look forward to having you back on campus soon and engaging in purposeful work together.