4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Virtual Internship

Are you ready for your virtual summer internship? Right now you may be planning how can you make an impact and build connections when you can’t be physically present in the office. It’s a strange and challenging time and it requires us to shift our focus and push us to exert even more effort towards navigating these challenges. You can still create a meaningful internship experience from the comfort of your own home, it just involved constant communication and shifting your in-office etiquette to be applied remotely. Here at the Life Design Lab on the Homewood Campus, we recommend 4 Pro Tips to get the most out of your virtual internship!

Be One with The Environment

Do some research ahead of time and ask your manager about the kind of work environment they try to enforce with their employees. Oftentimes, many companies will have this information listed on their website. However, asking your manager shows you care about fostering positive relationships with whoever you will interact with. If you’re part of a cohort or team, add your teammates and connect with them on Linkedin. Start off on the right foot by being familiar with their faces and what they do. Since you will not get to see them around the water cooler or pass them in the hallways, let them know you’re excited to work with them and are available to help in whatever capacity for the next few weeks.

Ask For Help

This is YOUR learning experience. Take ownership of it and always keep in mind, they do not expect you to know everything and they may do things a certain way that you aren’t familiar with. If you are assigned a task, ask your supervisor to set aside some time to walk you through it. Approach your supervisor or team leader with something like, “I just want to make sure I do this accordingly the first time, so I can take it and run with it in the future.” Now you’re a team player! You care about the company and the project enough to be as technically detailed as possible.

Create A Routine…And Stick To It

What time do you clock in/out? Are you opening your emails first thing in the morning? What time do you schedule your breaks? Did you communicate that with your supervisor? Even though they can’t see you, they should still be able to rely on you. Prior to your start day, check with your supervisor to know what hours you should be available to work, and consistently schedule your breaks around the same time. Developing a daily routine helps you stay on top of your tasks. Personally, I like to check my emails and internal chat groups before I dive into my project lists. It’s important to respond to everyone in a timely manner in order to properly prioritize everything they give you.

You Get an A for Effort

You will be in virtual meetings…and so will everything in your work area. So take down the inappropriate posters in the background, clean around your desk area, and maybe put up a brighter light fixture. Take pride in your work area and make it represent you. Additionally, on the days you may not have a meeting, that’s no excuse to skip the grooming process. Let’s say you get a surprise company call, you really don’t want them to catch you in your 5-day-old shirt. Be ready for anything by dressing for success. There is no such thing as over-communication. They can’t see you so build your credibility by letting them know where you are with projects, acknowledge when you received informational items they send you, and let them know when you’re standing by for more instruction. Always keep in mind, companies are figuring out this fully virtual world as well, be patient, and keep yourself on their radar.

For Further Reading

PDF Document:https://careerdevelopment.princeton.edu/sites/careerdevelopment/files/media/how_to_make_the_most_of_a_virtual_internship_students_2.pdf – Make the most of your summer employment https://learn.joinhandshake.com/employers/creative-ways-to-make-your-virtual-internship-a-success/ – Ways to make your experience a success https://www.themuse.com/advice/dos-and-donts-to-ace-your-virtual-internship – Do’s and Don’ts for virtual learning experiences The Life Design Lab will be open to students ALL year! Check-in on your LDE’s drop in hours

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