For the past three months, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in a virtual internship with RDW Group. Initially, I’d envisioned myself going into the office each day and interacting with many different colleagues. However, when the global pandemic of COVID-19 struck, this changed the dynamic of what a traditional work environment would look like for many people including interns.
At the start of summer, I found myself lucky enough to still be able to complete an internship by working remotely. Even though a virtual internship was not something that I pictured, I can confidently say that RDW Group created an impactful and rewarding experience for me in this process.
Tips for (Virtual) Success
Here are three things to keep in mind while working remotely.
1. Don’t hesitate to ask for regular check-ins with your supervisor.
It’s always a good idea to keep in touch and follow up with your supervisor over the course of your internship, but this is especially true for a remote internship. Typically, I had a scheduled zoom call with my supervisor, Mike Masseur, once a week. Being able to check-in was a great way to help me gain exposure to different things within the company and keep a consistent workload. I also found that my check-ins were beneficial since we had the chance to go over the feedback on the assignments that I handed in. Since you won’t be working side by side with your supervisor each day, making an effort to meet each week can have a far-reaching impact on your experience.
2. Make time to connect with other interns and colleagues in the company.
Use your internship as a way to network with others! Even if you’re working for a different supervisor or in another department, don’t hesitate to reach out and introduce yourself. In my experience, our supervisors coordinated a weekly intern check-in. Having this touchbase meeting gave us the chance to get to know each other, share what we were all working on, and discuss anything that we were interested in learning. As interns, we are all in the same boat, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! You never know, one day you might even collaborate together in the future.
Also, I would definitely take advantage of using other resources in the company. I had the opportunity to be part of a Google Analytics review and LinkedIn training session to gain a new sense of knowledge and understanding in an area I did not directly work in. I was appreciative to learn about topics that I was not familiar with and further my skills.
3. Be sure to plan your days and stay organized.
It’s easy to get caught up in many things throughout the day, so I recommend implementing a structure that you can follow. For me personally, I found it helpful to designate a specific workspace in my home. This gave me a place to work consistently and allowed me to concentrate when working on my assignments.
Additionally, I chose to write down a “weekly look ahead” which mapped out what I needed to get done each week. This prompted me to plan my weeks so I would stay up to date and not fall behind on anything. For example, I had numerous conference calls each week, so I decided to write down what time the calls took place, the phone number to dial into, and the meeting ID passwords. When it came time to call into the meetings, I never had to scramble to find this information and didn’t have to worry about signing in late. I would definitely create a schedule to follow, it helped me out a lot!
Benefits of Working a Virtual Internship:
Becoming more flexible
Life doesn’t always go as planned, and transitioning to a virtual setting is a perfect example of this. In simple terms, we have to expect the unexpected and aim to make the most of the opportunities in front of us. A virtual format will help you be ready for change and adapt to new situations.
Communicating more effectively
Not being in-person makes it a little more challenging to keep those open lines of communication that we’re used to having. While working from home, you become more familiar with several communication platforms. From phone calls, to video chats, to email chains, you will become well equipped with keeping in contact with those you’re working with.
A greater sense of independence.
With a virtual format, it’s not as easy to ask for points of clarification or help when completing assignments. However, this can make you more proactive when searching for your own answers. You’ll be enhancing your skills by seeking solutions on your own and not having to fully rely on your supervisor for everything.
While many people tend to think that working a virtual internship doesn’t provide the same experience as an in-person internship, there are many things that you can take away and benefit from when having a virtual internship.