Like everything else in 2020, internships have been affected by COVID-19. The typical internship experience is not so typical. While many internships have been canceled, many have also gone virtual. For interns, it can be nerve-racking starting a new internship, to begin with, without the added layer of understanding expectations while working remotely. For many employers, it can also be tricky knowing how to manage interns without face-to-face interaction and hands-on training.
Below are eight tips for succeeding at a virtual internship:
- Be readily available and present when you’re on the clock; working from home can be a struggle when first starting out.
- Utilize all possible resources (program training, tools, colleague connections, etc.) to navigate your virtual internship.
- Ask your supervisor to help introduce you to co-workers for informational interviews to broaden your network.
- Check-in frequently with your supervisor and be transparent if you need help prioritizing projects.
- Don’t stare at your screen for eight hours straight; breaks are absolutely necessary.
- Create a schedule with your supervisor when you’re taking lunch and breaks throughout the day.
- Be upfront with your supervisor about what you specifically want to learn so they can help give you exposure to that line of work.
- Virtual or not, the key to a successful internship is being eager and taking initiative. Remind yourself of that often.
Another challenge with working remotely, especially if you are new, is the lack of in-person socialization. However, social distancing doesn't mean you can't network — just the opposite. Use this time to schedule one-on-ones with different people at work. Aside from reaching out to people on LinkedIn, also try reaching out to a professor you’ve established a relationship with or someone at your career center who has strong connections to the industry and recruiters. Research industry blogs or podcasts related to entry-level talent and share interesting information that you find with fellow interns.