If you don’t have much experience with internships, let alone remote internships, the idea of interning virtually may seem stressful. For starters, how do you build those valuable networking opportunities everyone is talking about when every interaction takes place online? What if you accidentally rub someone the wrong way on Slack? And is it OK to use the potato filter on Zoom or not?
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding virtual interning. But rest assured that a remote internship can be just as fruitful as a traditional internship, so long as you communicate effectively and put your best face forward. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about remote interning, including how to find an internship and how you can make the most of it.
How to Find a Remote Internship
TBH, finding a remote internship isn’t that much different than finding a traditional college internship. While the coronavirus pandemic may have temporarily reduced the overall number of internships for college students (huge bummer, we know), many companies are making it easier to identify remote internship opportunities by labeling them as “virtual” or “remote” in their postings.
So, how do you score one of these virtual internships? Start by signing up for Tallo, our digital portfolio that lets you humbly brag to companies about your unique talents and skills. Build an eye-catching profile that showcases your skills, and we’ll connect you with internship opportunities that match your skillset and career goals. It’s as simple as that.
How to Make the Most of a Virtual Internship
Secured a remote internship? Nice one! Now comes the tricky part: gaining valuable skills and making connections in a virtual environment. Tough? Yes, but definitely not impossible. Here’s how to get more out of your virtual internship and turn it into a successful experience:
- Establish a Regular Routine – Remote internships offer flexible hours and more freedom. This freedom comes with great responsibility. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself working odd hours because you decided it was a good idea to play Fortnite for two hours straight rather than hunker down and get the work done. To keep yourself on track, set regular “office” hours and stick to them. Not only will this help you stick to deadlines, it will give your supervisor an idea of when you’re working.
- Look Professional – We’ll admit, things are a little crazy right now with the WFH dress code. Even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is wearing pajamas to his board meetings (granted, he did it for a good cause). But unless you’re raising awareness for childhood cancer like Bezos, skip the pajamas and stick to the office dress code. You’ll look professional and be taken more seriously as an intern.
- Keep a Tidy Space – Attending a Zoom meeting with colleagues? Look behind you and make sure that your room isn’t messy AF. No one wants to see your underwear on the floor or last night’s Thai takeout on your desk. Clean up your space before you turn on the webcam. If you room isn’t that inspiring, slap on a cool Zoom background and dazzle them with your creativity.
- Learn to Communicate Effectively – Things can get misinterpreted easily when you aren’t talking face-to-face. If you have something important to talk about, it’s best to do it on a video chat or phone call. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor how he or she prefers to communicate right from the beginning. If they prefer phone calls, suggest a regular check-in phone call so you can update them on your progress. BTW, don’t attempt to be sarcastic on Slack. Someone will misinterpret it and think you’re the world’s biggest jerk.
- Ask for a Letter of Recommendation. This is important! Don’t forget to ask for a professional reference at the end of your internship. If you’ve put in the work and made a good impression on your colleagues, they’ll be more than happy to give you one. Just be careful whom you ask for a recommendation. The difference between a mediocre recommendation and an exceptional one can make or break your job prospects.
Put in the Work
The single biggest piece of advice we can give you is to literally just put in the work. Many interns (and full-time employees) will use their remote time to slack off. This gives you a prime opportunity to go above and beyond. Stay focused, do the work, and you’ll likely get a glowing review from your superiors. Good luck!