So you landed an internship for the spring, congrats! However, remote classes means remote internships. Don’t let the word “remote” or “virtual” get you down though, you still have so much to be excited about!
Being an intern is awesome for so many reasons. Internships add experience to your resume for postgraduate jobs and you get to build relationships with your mentors which could help your networking. Many people in the communications and media field are currently working from home anyways, its a good way to figure out if the “WFH”” life is or isn’t for you.
So you’re probably wondering, how can I shine from behind the screen? Below are five tips to succeed in your remote internship during the pandemic.
1. Be Prepared
Although your internship is remote, you should prepare just the same as if it were in-person. Here are some extra steps to make sure you are prepared from the very first day on the job.
- Understand your role. If you haven’t been given the proper documentation to understand your role, ask questions!
- Have all necessary gadgets charged up, tested, and ready to go. This may include a laptop, headphones, and webcam.
- Set up your dedicated workspace free of distractions. Unfortunately, not all spaces are ideal. Most employers are going to be very understanding of this, for they are probably working from home a couple days a week too. You will see its not unusual to get a sneak peek of their children, pets, or roommates.
2. Stay On Track
If you’re like me, you may have put too much on your plate. Work from home, a full college course load from home, another 1-2 part time jobs – a total mess. However, there are ways to get organized and stay on track with your strenuous schedule.
- Use the tools necessary to keep your schedule organized. This may include an agenda, a large calendar on the wall, an online calendar via email (this is great for scheduled Zoom meetings).
- Keep up with your internship daily logs! I cannot stress this point enough. If your internship is for credit, you will have to fill out a three month long log. As important as it is to stay on track with future dates and meetings, it is just as important to document your completed tasks and projects too. Nothing is worse than going two weeks without filling out your log then trying to remember what you have completed.
- By being responsible and keeping track of tasks you have done and tasks yet to be completed, you are demonstrating your time-management skills as well as your reliability. The expertise needed to be considered for a full-time role with any company.
3. Communicate Often
Communicating often doesn’t only ensure that you are staying on track, but also remaining engaged. Unfortunately, you can’t just pop into your mentor’s office and ask questions anymore. Having the right amount of communication can make all the difference in a rewarding or not so rewarding internship.
- Many companies use platforms like Slack to communicate with one another. Others may just use e-mail or give you their phone number. Figuring out from the get go how your team will communicate is essential.
- Setting up a weekly meeting to touch-base with your mentor is a great way to stay on top of your work and asking questions if you need help.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Mentors were once in the same position as you.
4. Go Above and Beyond
Maybe your schedule isn’t as hectic as you thought and you find yourself bored…now what?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more work. Or less work if it is becoming too much. Mentors would rather you be honest and create quality work than rush to meet the deadline. They know you have other priorities.
- There’s no need to wait for input if you know your next steps. Stay proactive.
I know starting an internship can be scary, especially working from home. Stay honest and open with your mentors. If you feel like changes could be made to improve the internship experience, your mentors want to know because the future of work is remote, and interns are the future of work. If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you will be soon starting an internship. Congratulations and good luck! Follow these easy steps, I promise you will kill it.