Happy National Intern Day! How to Make Your Virtual Internships a Win-Win

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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:

  1. Be readily available and present when you’re on the clock; working from home can be a struggle when first starting out.
  2. Utilize all possible resources (program training, tools, colleague connections, etc.) to navigate your virtual internship.
  3. Ask your supervisor to help introduce you to co-workers for informational interviews to broaden your network.
  4. Check-in frequently with your supervisor and be transparent if you need help prioritizing projects.
  5. Don’t stare at your screen for eight hours straight; breaks are absolutely necessary.
  6. Create a schedule with your supervisor when you’re taking lunch and breaks throughout the day.
  7. Be upfront with your supervisor about what you specifically want to learn so they can help give you exposure to that line of work.
  8. 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.

Happy interning!

Talent Specialist Jeremy Chau, RPA