Understanding how to be an important asset for the organization that you work for is the first step to demonstrating professionalism and dedication. Take the time to realize what is expected of you when you start your virtual internship. Know that the first step in your journey as a professional starts here, so make the most of your internship with these four tips:
- Prepare your workspace. Meetings are now conducted online, which means you have to find a space that presents the best version of you. Take the time before your day begins to organize your work station which should be a desk or table. Do not take video calls while lounging in bed. Avoid clutter and make sure to have everything you need at your desk so that you can start your day right. Choose a space in your home with a neutral background, free of any distractions. While it’s tempting to stay in your pajamas, be sure to dress for the workday. When you come into your video call dressed in appropriate attire, you are showing how important this internship is to you.
- Make video calls work for you. The various functions on these video services such as ZOOM, Google Meet, and WebEx, are meant to help, not hinder your success. Utilizing tutorials for each of these services will help to ensure that you present yourself in the best way possible. Once you take notes on the tutorials and test out the system, you will be more prepared for the meetings ahead. Practice video call etiquette— Mute yourself when you are not talking to minimize any feedback or background noise while another participant has the floor. When it is your turn to speak, look at the camera to achieve appropriate eye contact. Avoid multitasking and give the meeting your full attention. Participants will notice if you are reading or typing when on the call, so resist the urge to check your email or other tasks while in a meeting. If you are taking notes regarding the meeting ask if that is okay to avoid coming across as rude or inattentive.
- Manage your time effectively. As an intern, you should go into your workday with a plan, before signing in. Make a checklist of all the assignments that need to done by the end of the day. With each completed task done, make sure to take the time to check in with yourself. Note how long an assignment took, notify your supervisor, and stay organized to create a clear work cycle. This allows for a healthy balance of work and breaks while avoiding burn out. Even when you are not working there are ways to professionally enhance your career such as editing your resume with a career coach, planning for the semester, and reading various ways on how to improve yourself. When you go into your workspace with a plan you have a better chance of achieving those goals on time.
- Ask For Help. Keeping a dialogue with your supervisor and co-workers is especially crucial when you are working from home. Learn to understand your supervisor’s communication preference and craft your questions accordingly. Do not feel inadequate because you had to ask a question. Your supervisor knows you’re here to learn and wants to help guide you when needed. Asking questions is crucial to a great internship and will help you to know the importance of your work resources.
Taking the time to make these improvements will allow you to become more successful and confident when looking for your next internship. Building this foundation is the most effective way to keep these skills and by reviewing the resources you have now you will not find yourself in better hands then you were before.