Congratulations on landing a summer experience. During the unprecedented pandemic situation, many organizations will have converted their summer internships to virtual experiences. This guide will help you think about how to contribute to the work of your organization while building knowledge, skills, and experiences as you make the most of the summer.
Before you start work
Reach out to your employer to schedule a meeting with your supervisor or internship coordinator to discuss the logistics of your position, as well as mutual expectations and goals for you and for the work to be completed. Be empathetic in your message; employers are dealing with flux and uncertainty too. Confirm your excitement and interest in the opportunity and willingness to be flexible given the current labor market situation.
During the meeting, topics for discussion may include:
- your start and end dates
- daily hours and method for tracking those hours
- technical equipment needed and offered
- identification needed and forms to complete for tax documentation
- and requests for potential time off.
Follow up on your conversation with an email summarizing your discussion and conveying your enthusiasm for the position.
Working Remotely will likely require you to be highly motivated and a self-starter. But you should still expect some level of instruction, support, supervision, and mentorship as a virtual intern, just as you would in an in-person environment. Hopefully your supervisor plans to share work examples and templates, discuss communication preferences, and establish project timelines and due dates. Decide on a weekly check-in day and time with your supervisor to provide updates on your projects, ask questions and get regular feedback on your work. You can also use this time to talk about projects that are nearing completion, and upcoming tasks that you can begin when those are done.
Take the opportunity to learn from everyone you interact with. Consider ways to talk with others on the team, managers, and others. Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or even the phone are all great ways to communicate with and learn from your co-workers. When you meet with individuals, prepare a few questions for them such as:
- What excites you about your work?
- What has been most helpful to you in this position?
- What are some trends in this field?
- How did your educational and career pathway prepare you for your work here?
- What kind of challenges do you face in your position?
- What are important skills for being successful in this field?
Before your internship ends
Ensure you have fulfilled all responsibilities and tie up any loose ends. Prepare a list of your summer accomplishments that you can share with your supervisor. Make sure to say good-bye to everyone you worked with. You may also want to ask your direct supervisor for a recommendation letter or if they would be willing to serve as a reference at a later time.
Finally, don’t forget to update your resume with all of the skills and accomplishments from the summer, and be sure to connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn for future networking!
Want to learn more about how to make the most of your internship? Check out our short video tutorial below!