Virtual internships: How to make it work
In this day and age, being technologically savvy is a basic requirement for college students. Living in Generation Y, we are expected to eat, sleep, work, live and breathe technology. Knowing the ins and outs of the Internet is in our genes, right? Well, what better way to prove our generation critics right than by taking on a virtual internship!
Virtual internships are a growing trend, and with good reason! You learn vital time management skills, improve your communication skills and gain valuable experience in the industry, all while having the freedom to do it wherever you want! With so many benefits, it’s no doubt a virtual internship should be an option for you, but it does take personal motivation and focus to make it work!
With so much freedom, a virtual internship allows for extreme flexibility, but don’t stretch too far! It’s important to find a work-life balance, and it’s up to you to make it work. Here’s a few ways to make the most of your virtual internship!
Make a schedule
Even though you don’t have to go into the office from 9-5, you should still put the same amount of effort (if not more) into your virtual internship. When you’re working from your bedroom in your pajamas, it can be easy to get in the habit of doing other things or getting distracted by friends or roommates. Set aside certain days and hours each week that you can dedicate solely to your internship. Make a schedule with consistent hours each day to ensure that you will complete your work on deadline. Having a schedule will keep you organized and get you in a routine so you know when to separate work from play!
Set aside a workplace
In order to focus and get your work done to the best quality, set aside a certain space where you can do your internship work. Whether it be your dining room table, a desk or an office, it helps to have definite space dedicated to your internship. That way, you can have an organized space for all of your papers, calendars and notes. If that’s not enough, you might have to get out of the house! Head to your local coffee shop, bookstore or library if that’s what it takes to get focused! Whatever it may be, having a single space to work will keep your mind clear and concentrated on your internship work and ONLY your internship work.
Stay in contact…ALWAYS!
Staying in touch with your supervisor is the key to success in a virtual internship position. Since they can’t simply walk over to your desk and check in on your progress, it’s important that you keep them updated on your work, so they know that you actually are working and performing. Don’t let yourself get lost in their inbox, so make sure you remain in constant contact. Whether it’s an email, a Skype meeting or a simple text message, making daily contact with your employer will keep them aware of you and the great work you are doing.
Take advantage of extra opportunities
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone or your job description to take full advantage of everything your internship has to offer. Even if you’re a PR intern, if your employer needs extra help with social media or editorial writing, offer to do that extra work! It will only add to your experience and make your virtual internship a memorable and challenging resume builder.
Although your employer may be across the country (or across the world), never hesitate to take advantage of extra opportunities they may throw at you that are right at your back door. It could be an event, a meeting or an interview, but no matter the circumstance, always say yes! Even if you have to show up alone, it will be a great networking opportunity and a chance to showcase that you can professionally and successfully represent their company.