In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the world are terminating their internship programs which have left many without career development and intern experiences for the foreseeable future. I feel extremely fortunate that my internship with Virtual Internships was not canceled because of the online nature of my admissions intern position. Needless to say, with classes going online and Virtual Internships experiencing many changes, it was definitely a lot to handle for me. Nevertheless, I believe that I will be more prepared than ever after all of these changes, especially when it comes to adapting to a changing environment with limited human in-person interaction. In this blog, I will be sharing with you my top three tips on how to make the most out of your remote intern experiences.
Communication is Key
This sounds so cliche, but it is actually the most important part of a virtual experience. When face-to-face interaction is limited, it is best to proactively communicate with your supervisor and team. Let your supervisor know your work progress often, or reach out if you want to be involved in additional tasks. If you don’t keep in constant communication, you may be missing out on a lot of learning experiences and opportunities from your supervisor. Thus, communication serves as a tool to set clear expectations on both sides, especially with intern experiences.
It’s very important to take initiative and reach out to your supervisor or team if you’re having trouble or questions, but remember that you may not get a response immediately. Therefore, remember to be patient when it comes to virtual communication and learn to be proactive while you wait for a response. If you find it hard to get in touch with your supervisor, especially if you’re in different time zones, try being proactive and work on additional tasks or research until you hear from them! Working autonomously (without a ton of direction or support) is a very important skill to develop through intern experiences which will be useful in any career field.
Know Your Priorities
As a college student, you might often find yourself overwhelmed with classwork and your job (myself included). Therefore, intern experiences can really help you to learn how to best prioritize your workload, and this can apply to other aspects of your life as well (such as schoolwork and exams). This concept of keeping track of your efforts, assignment, and due dates are known as time management.
Having the skill of effective time management will save you from a lot of unnecessary stress, and don’t feel discouraged if it takes some time for you to understand which tasks and projects should be prioritized over others. For me, I usually organize my work based on deadlines and the estimated time that I will spend on that assignment. Of course, some tasks and projects can be completed quicker or may take even more time than you may have initially thought, so keep this in mind too. If you’re having a hard time knowing which projects should take priority, ask your supervisor to clarify their expected deadlines. Ask them when they would like a project fully completed, or perhaps when they want the rough draft completed so they can review it and give feedback.
Expand Your Network
Having various intern experiences not only provides you with opportunities in terms of work but also connects you with the personnel in the company. It is a great chance to get to know people and build relationships that could secure you a full-time offer later on. Don’t hesitate to learn the company’s culture and make connections with your supervisor and team, as these are professionals in your field who can offer advice, support, and even write you recommendations for future opportunities. If there are members of your team who you don’t interact with often, try reaching out and introducing yourself, or ask your supervisor to make the introduction. It is also a very nice gesture to check in with colleagues from time to time, especially in remote work companies.
As for me, I have built many connections with my Virtual Internships colleagues all over the world, because we frequently work with each other in tasks that require cross-cultural collaboration. I hope you will consider these tips and my experiences, in the hopes that they help you better succeed in your own remote intern experiences!
If you are interested in partaking in your own Virtual Internships program, check out our website.
Content contributed by Virtual Internships admissions intern, Zoey Pham.