Virtual Internship – NOW!

Borne out of this pandemic, is the notion of practicing social distancing. Initially, it didn’t’ seem that cumbersome – I mean how many of us ‘social distance’ on our daily commute or when we see a panhandler. But, several weeks of ‘social distancing’ have opened up a new way of thinking, a new way living and a new way of working.

What some will notice is that almost certainly the number of persons seeking virtual internships will sharply increase. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible as virtual internships have been around for some time but virtual or remote internships will be in demand this year.

So, what’s a young mind to do? 

First, research. The beauty of virtual internships is that you aren’t limited to any specific geographical area. Now, if you live in California and apply for an internship overseas, it could be very difficult due to the time change.

Consider that many universities have virtual career fairs.  Professional organizations, consortiums and a number of government agencies host virtual career fairs as well. Do no limit yourself, searching on upcoming career events on the career websites could provide very beneficial.

In addition to the career websites, a number of opportunities in both STEM and otherwise are available. Here are a few sites promoting virtual internships for this summer.

Don’t forget ‘social media’ (e.g., facebook, twitter, etc.) and ‘word-of-mouth’ still work. 

What’s next?

Success. The hardest aspect of being a virtual intern is to be impactful. It’s hard to make a ‘real’ connection virtually. It may be a good idea to engage your employer and co-workers more so than if you would in the office. Don’t be afraid to request for a virtual lunch, ask questions – this may be a mentoring opportunity. 

Confirm the communication. As there are a number of methods to communicate, ask both your employer and your team if there’s a preferred method. Who should you contact ‘daily’ or ‘weekly’ – sometimes expectations aren’t conveyed well virtually. This helps both you and your employer in establishing these guidelines sooner than later. You want to leave a lasting impression – that you performed well and you were available. 

Structure your work times. Some employers may suggest working at your leisure but setting up clearly defined times establishes your availability. Perception that you are available is paramount. Be prepared and make sure you are adhering to policies and deadlines. If there’s an issue or concern, it’s always better to ask. Sometimes ideas get lost in translation and confirming assignments as well as deadlines can only assist.

Stay Safe.

~Blog by Dorothy’s Daughter

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