By Giselle Ormeno
Okay, so you're one of the fortunate ones who could secure a virtual internship. Great!
Virtual internships are currently the safest way to be able to get experience and build your skill set. These kinds of internships offer incredible opportunities to gain new skills and explore what interests you, all from the comfort of your home. With the flexibility of not having to travel, you can have your dream internship even if you don't have means of transportation or are located in a different city or state.
However, just because there's a pandemic doesn't mean that you can't get the most out of your virtual internship. If this is your first time doing an internship or even if you have had a virtual before, these tips can help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed.
1. Set Yourself Up for Success
Having a clean workspace with a notebook and reliable Wi-Fi is essential to succeed as a virtual intern. Zoom meetings or check-ins are common communication methods for a virtual team, so you don't want your manager or supervisor to have any trouble reaching you.
Also, make sure that you look presentable while attending these meetings. Lighting is your best friend when it comes to looking good in a virtual meeting. For optimal lighting, sit by a window or you can even buy a LED light ring to give you a boost.
Even though it's a virtual setting, remind yourself that you need to be as professional as you would be in person.
2. Get Yourself Organized
Start your virtual internship strong by having a place to write all critical deadlines and important dates.
There are many benefits to having a planner. It can help you keep yourself organized and lessen your anxiety when trying to remember deadlines.
A planner is not limited to helping you stay organized for your internship, but iti can be helpful in other areas of your life, such as school. Balancing school and an internship during the pandemic are hard to deal with at times, so help make your life easier by using a planner.
Another alternative is buying a monthly calendar whiteboard and setting it up above your workspace. There you can write crucial and important dates for that month to keep you on track.
3. Communication is Key
Staying connected while being virtual is essential. You never want your manager or boss to wonder what you're working on or if you're not working at all.
Remember to check in with your team at the beginning of your shift with details of what you will work on throughout the day. Even if it doesn't seem necessary, let them know when you are going to take a break or your lunchtime. This in return helps your team know when to contact you or not.
At the end of your shift, I recommend sending a recap to your team, letting them know what you accomplished during your shift. These recap emails are a great way of showing your team your work ethic.
4. Connecting with Fellow Interns
Having a virtual internship can make you feel like you’re alone, but it doesn't have to be like that. Remember that the other interns that you see throughout your virtual meetings might also feel this way.
Make an effort to get to know your fellow interns by following each other on social media or exchanging phone numbers. It's a great way to bond over your internship together and help each other out. Your manager or boss might not always be available to answer your questions, but your intern friend mostly likely will be.
During your internship, connect with other interns professionally through LinkedIn.
Remember that it's all about networking and creating relationships during your internship that can help you in the long run in your career. By connecting professionally through LinkedIn, you and your intern friends will mutually benefit from this.
5. Don't Forget to Give Yourself a Break
With everything being virtual, it's easy to forget to give yourself a break. It's great that you want to accomplish so many things, but you also have to remember that you're only one person. And as much as you want to contribute and help out, if you don't take the time to take a break, you'll burnout.
To prevent burnout, make sure to set a time when you are free from your virtual internship, school, or anything you else taking your time.
A set schedule is a great way to set boundaries when you're available or not available. For example, freelance writer Ashley Jones wrote that setting time limits around checking work emails proved that she was less stressed and still was as productive as when she used to read her work emails without a set time.
Be honest with yourself when your virtual internship is burning you out because denying it is just going to cause your mental health to worsen.
We're still dealing with the pandemic and staying healthy is important, so make sure to give yourself a break when you need it. Remember that above all things, your mental health is the most important thing!
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