As we continue to adjust to the new normal, many companies have confirmed that their internship programs will continue to be conducted remotely. Getting prepared for an internship can seem intimidating as is, and with the shift to a virtual setting, it may come with new challenges. Yet, this uncertainty is no reason to not make the most out of these amazing opportunities!
A few months ago, I joined Arctype as a Product Management intern, working on our modern SQL client's growth and user acquisition strategies. Throughout my experience, I have been able to pinpoint 5 tips on how anyone can maximize the positive outcome of a virtual internship!
Do Your Research
In order to feel prepared, begin by reading all of the documentation provided to you by your manager or recruiters! Many companies also have internal wikis on platforms such as confluence, which will provide you with all of the material you will need to learn about the tools and products at your company.
In addition to reading up on the onboarding material, make sure to set up a call with your direct manager within your first week. This will give you a chance to chat about the expectations for the role, your goals, as well as a plan of action on how to achieve them. Developing a good relationship with your manager, especially virtually, will be extremely valuable as they will be your mentor throughout your internship!
Plan Your Week
Being away from an office environment may make it much more challenging to stay focused. Ensuring that you are on track with your tasks, while being away from all of your coworkers, is extremely important. Prior to starting your internship, look into the best ways to stay organized, tools such as Notion and Trello are perfect for planning!
Start each week with a game plan, and make a note of all of the deliverables you aim to accomplish within the week. This will help you stay focused, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed. Being able to accomplish all of your assigned tasks and milestones independently, showcases reliability and grit, which could increase the chances of receiving a return offer.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
With a remote setting, it is crucial to stay in constant communication with team members. This can also increase your chances of feeling connected to your team, even if you are far apart!
As mentioned earlier, in your initial meeting with your manager, discuss the best communication method that they prefer. Whether that is weekly touchpoints, daily messages, or only if needed, clarify those prior to starting your work. It’s better to over-communicate in a virtual setting, as this allows them to track your progress and provide constructive feedback for your improvement.
In addition to setting up a call with your manager, we highly recommend setting up 1:1 calls with every member of your direct team! It becomes much easier to truly interact with each member in a casual setting, to get to know more about them, as this may not happen as organically in a virtual setting.
Be Proactive & Creative
With remote internships, the expectations may be lower due to the constraints, yet this is the perfect chance to learn more about the various engagements at your company. Try to learn about what other teams are working on, what different individuals’ roles encompass, and seek side projects in order to help improve a potential pain point you may notice.
Internships all about learning, so try to make sure that you make the most of them, regardless of your location. Everyone at the company definitely understands the challenges that come with interning remotely, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, information or additional tasks that interest you.
Keep Up Your Healthy Habits
In a remote setting, it becomes easier to get preoccupied with all of the possible projects and tasks that you can tackle throughout the day. Yet, this can get exhausting very quickly. Try to mimic a real work day, only working for the suggested 8 hours, with a 1 hour break for lunch! Avoid doing additional work after work hours, as resting and giving yourself a mental break is crucial. Also make sure to plan in tasks that give you energy, whether that's working out, reading a book or watching an episode of your favourite show on Netflix. Relaxing and taking time to care for yourself is just as important as your career development.
Overall, internships are extremely rewarding experiences as they provide the opportunity to get real work experience and discover what you would like to pursue in the future. Regardless of whether they are remote or not, they are a chance for you to step out of your comfort zone, get feedback and learn from amazing mentors. Make sure to document all of your experiences and achievements throughout your internship, as this could be extremely valuable as you can reflect on your growth!