As a national epidemic swept the country and many companies traded their offices for their homes, a lot of businesses canceled their summer internships. However, those who had the resources were able to offer an alternative solution: virtual internships. This past summer, I was a remote intern for The Shark Group, Daymond John of Shark Tank’s agency, in their speaking department, and this fall I will be virtually interning with QC Exclusive Magazine, a lifestyle magazine based out of Charlotte. Being a full-time student with a job, I wanted to share some tips on how I was able to secure these two internships and maintain them despite my busy schedule!
- Apply, apply, apply!
When I was searching for an internship, I applied to anything and everything that had to do with my major and career. Companies are especially looking for interns now that most internships are remote because they are able to pull from a wide range of candidates from all over. You want to narrow your focus to things that you are qualified for and that are similar to your passions and career field, but you also don’t want to rule too much out. For example, I’m a journalism major and want to go into writing; but when applying for internships, I applied to everything from social media management to public relations to corporate communications. Just because it may not be exactly what you want to do, you can still gain valuable experience and even network to find opportunities that you want to get into later on. Plus, it’s always good to have extra skills on your resume.
- Follow-up on previously applied or former internships
If you’re having trouble finding an internship during quarantine, try following up on any internships you applied for or have already had. Former internships may be able to connect with you with other opportunities, or even offer you a position again. If you applied to an internship that maybe canceled its program, reach out to the intern coordinator and find out if they offer any other opportunities that can still give you experience or credit.
- Use your connections
I was able to secure my summer internship because a professor recommended me to a friend of his and got me in touch for an interview. If it wasn’t for that connection, I never would have gotten that amazing opportunity. Reach out to your professors and advisors to see if they know of anybody offering remote internships in your field, and ask if they can connect you with the internship coordinator. Even ask your family if they have any co-workers or friends who would be willing to take you on for a short time. Even if it’s not a full on internship, they still may allow you the opportunity to work in the field and get real-life experience.
Once you’ve secured your remote internship, the next key step is maintaining it along with your other responsibilities. As a full-time student, that’s not always the easiest but here are some tips that I’m using and have used to keep up with my intern duties.
- Stay connected
Because you’re not going into the office everyday or seeing your coworkers face-to-face, it is important to stay connected with those that you work with. I found that during my internship, I would need to check my email almost hourly or I would miss important notes, zoom links, or quick assignments. In accordance with staying on top of your virtual communication, don’t be afraid to reach out to ask questions or get help. Send a quick text if you need clarification on an assignment, or hop on a 5-minute zoom call if you need a demonstration of something. Not being in person can be limiting, so you’ll have to work extra hard to make sure you aren’t missing anything and completing everything correctly.
- Use a planner/calendar
Having a planner or some type of online calendar is key! You want to make sure you are keeping up with your weekly deadlines, and not losing track of anything. I personally like to use a physical planner so I can take notes, but Google calendar is a good alternative as well.
- Balance your workload
One of the most important things for maintaining a remote internship along with your other responsibilities is don’t exhaust yourself! Having time management skills and knowing how to prioritize your work will help you not to overburden yourself with tasks. Use your planner or calendar to keep track of your deadlines, and get your most important stuff done first. If you feel like you have too much to do, communicate that with your supervisor. They may extend a deadline for you, or spread out your workload among other interns. Balance is critical, especially if you know that you have other things that need to get done.
I hope these tips help you to find and maintain a remote internship so you can secure the bag this year!