Remote internships are not for everyone. Some students find it difficult to be productive without a set schedule or someone in-person to go to when they need additional responsibilities. However, given the current world situation, a remote internship may be some student’s only option, especially if they are living at home or cannot commute to a large city. Though internships may not be as hands-on in a remote setting, they are no less valuable in making connections, getting field experience, and improving your resume. As long as you have drive and a working internet connection, you can excel at a remote internship just as you would in person. Here are some tips to get you started.
Prepare Like You’re Going To An Office
Though your internship may be done from your bedroom, you should still be professional. The best way to achieve this is to act like you are going into the office. Wake up at an appropriate time, dress according to the company's guidelines, create an organized office space, and set strict hours for yourself. It is easy to infuse your internship work with your schoolwork and extracurriculars throughout the day. This does not maximize your time. Make sure you are giving the appropriate amount of hours by setting aside times where you will only focus on your internship.
Use A Planner
It is easy to lose track of meeting times, projects, and deadlines when you are not in your normal environment. Keep a planner or calendar handy so you can be confident with your schedule and ready for any last minute changes. Write down anything you need to get done that day and rank the items by priority.
Build A Relationship With Your Point Of Contact
One big pro of an internship in general is having the opportunity to be mentored by a professional. This does not need to change in a remote environment. Maintain active communication with your point of contact, schedule zoom meetings, pick their brains, and be clear on what you would like to gain from the internship. Sometimes over-communication is ideal. The higher ups will see your dedication. If you do not have one specific point of contact, reach out to those working in your department and ask for advice or mentorship. By building relationships throughout the internship, you will be more likely to gain incredible references and letters of recommendations.
Since there is no office space to go to, it is even more important that you go above and beyond in your internship work. Don’t sit around and wait for you to be assigned a project. Give your ideas in team meetings. Highlight your strengths and add input whenever possible. If someone else is working on a project that sounds interesting - ask to be a part of it or at least to learn more. Companies are always looking for feedback, if there is any way you believe your internship experience could be improved, do not be afraid to speak up. By taking initiative, you will prove to be more than an intern - but a valuable asset to the business.
Ask For Feedback
Asking for feedback may be daunting, but it is still necessary. You want to know how well you are doing compared to the company’s expectations. Having weekly or monthly feedback will allow you to reflect on your current work performance and how you can continuously improve.
Receiving an internship is already an incredible accomplishment. Do not automatically think that it is less valuable by being remote. You can gain just as much industry skills, connections, and experience. What matters is how you make the most of your time. Online internships may be the norm for the year. More companies are beginning the see the work-from-home benefits, so working remotely may soon be part of the American lifestyle. Developing a plan to be productive in this environment is key.
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