virtual summer internships
You can have a great internship experience, even if it’s virtual.
Virtual interns can still do it all.
If you’ve been looking for a summer internship, but don’t have the luxury of being in a city where there’s a slew of companies hiring interns, or even if you do, there is something to be said about virtual internships. While they may seem like an odd fit for many people, they can offer just as much opportunity and learning as any other type of internship experience. Here are some reasons why:
- You can still get good references from your boss. The most important thing about any job interview is getting good recommendations from someone who knows you well enough to vouch for your work ethic and skillset—and that doesn’t change just because the office happens to be virtual! If you’re interacting with coworkers on Slack or via email, it’s easy enough for them to give an honest assessment of how well-rounded an intern candidate has been throughout their time with them (plus there will often be video calls where everyone gets see each other).
- You’ll still build relationships with people who matter inside and outside an organization. When working remotely over email and chat apps like Slack or Skype (or even Zoom), it’s easy enough to keep up relationships with managers who help guide your growth professionally while also maintaining friendships outside of work hours too; these connections are critical tools when searching out future employment opportunities since they’ll likely come in handy during interviews down the line.*
Be proactive and self-sufficient.
Be proactive and self-sufficient.
It is not the responsibility of your supervisor to ensure that you are doing everything correctly. You must be accountable for your own progress, which means being proactive in seeking out opportunities, communicating effectively with supervisors and other team members, and following through on projects. It’s also important to ask questions if something isn’t clear or if you’re unsure about the next step in a project or assignment.
Be curious and ask questions.
- Be curious, and ask questions.
- Ask about the company culture.
- Ask about your co-workers’ responsibilities.
- Ask about your supervisor’s responsibilities.
- Ask about the company’s history and future plans.
- Ask about its competitors, and how they differ from each other in terms of business model, product or service offerings, target markets, etc.
Do great work.
Now that you’ve got your foot in the door, it’s time to put your best foot forward. Use this platform as an opportunity to show your talent and creativity by producing high-quality work.
Be reliable: Be on time, be committed, and follow through on everything you say—no matter how large or small the task may seem. Take initiative: If there is something that needs doing but hasn’t been assigned to you yet, go ahead and take care of it! You’d be surprised at what opportunities arise when someone steps up like this (and trust me when I say they will). Mind your work quality: Even if no one else sees what you’re doing alone in a room all day long for most of your internship experience (as was my case), remember that a good impression is always made by people who consistently deliver top-notch results at their jobs every single day—no exceptions!
Build relationships with your co-workers.
As a virtual intern, you will be working with other people across the country. This is an excellent opportunity to build relationships with your co-workers and create a strong support system.
- Use chat tools like Slack or Skype to communicate with colleagues on your project teams. Chat conversations are great for asking questions and getting quick answers, but they’re also useful for sharing ideas, brainstorming ways to solve problems, and making plans for upcoming meetings or events.
- Take advantage of virtual team building opportunities like Google Hangouts or Zoom calls where you can share information about what’s happening in your team/department/company as well as get feedback from peers and mentors. It’s important not only that everyone feels heard but also that everyone knows what their role is within the organization so they feel confident going forward in their own work!
Set up virtual “lunch and learns.”
One of the best ways to get up to speed on your virtual internship is to set up virtual “lunch and learns” with your colleagues. In these meetings, you can ask questions about their work, learn from their experiences and build rapport in an informal setting. You’ll also be practicing your communication skills as well as getting feedback on your work—all while never leaving the comfort of your office chair!
If you’re shy or nervous when it comes to making small talk with people at work (or even just talking on the phone), a virtual lunch date could be just what you need. Your boss will appreciate that you’re willing to put yourself out there—and maybe even catch them off-guard by asking some insightful questions about their job or industry that they hadn’t thought about before!
Get feedback on your work frequently and early.
When you’re working on a project, it’s helpful to get feedback from the person who assigned it to you. That way, if your work needs improvement or clarification, they can provide it for you. Feedback should be given frequently and early in the process of completing a task. It’s also important that this feedback is specific and timely as opposed to general or late. For example, if your supervisor says, “The copywriting isn’t great,” then they need more detail-oriented instructions on how exactly what makes up good copywriting and what doesn’t (e.g., grammar errors). If they then tell you that their other intern did a better job with their assignment than yours did but don’t give any specific examples of why so it will be hard for them later when they need proof that there were indeed mistakes made during your work hours spent on each individual project!
Learn new skills!
- Learn new skills.
- Organize yourself.
- Communicate effectively with your supervisor.
These tips can help you get the most out of an internship.
Internships are a great way to gain experience and expand your knowledge, so it’s important to make the most of yours. Here are some tips for maximizing your internship:
- Network. Your internship is an opportunity to meet people who are working in the field you want to work in, so take advantage of it! Get their contact information and follow up with them after the program is over. They may be able to give you career advice or let you know about other opportunities that could be a good fit for you.
- Learn new skills. Think about what skills would help you succeed at this job—for example, maybe writing articles for an online blog requires blogging software that isn’t installed on your computer yet, but learning how would improve both your ability as a writer and your chances of getting hired after graduation (or even just getting more out of this internship). If there’s anything else related to your assignment that might help build up these skills (such as researching topics for articles), try doing those things too!
- Build relationships with other people in the industry who aren’t necessarily part of this particular program but might still have useful information/ideas/connections they’re willing share with people like us: