Working on a coding internship from the comfort of your home, in your pyjamas! Sounds pretty awesome right? It is! Virtual internships can be great opportunities and a fantastic value-add to your resume. They are flexible and allow you to work around your college schedules while giving you all the perks of working on live projects. Yet, many students fail to make the most of it due to various reasons. We have created a cheat sheet for you with the dos and don’ts to ace virtual internships.
The Do’s of a successful virtual internship
Build a structure
The biggest thing you are losing out on an office internship is the structure of the office. The office space, timings and dress code, all of them contribute towards creating a professional atmosphere. Try to set a structure from wherever you work. Create regular timings to log in, unless it clashes with something related to academics. Clear out a desk and keep things organized. This will ensure you set boundaries and let everyone know the same, be it your parents or roommates!
Clear & Constant Communication
Most companies today work on messaging applications like Slack, Trello, Asana or even Google hangouts and some stick to good plain old WhatsApp. Even if your mentor isn’t available for instant communication, try to keep them informed about your work and what you are doing. Wherever necessary communicate via email as you can refer to it later as well. Don’t delay in communicating, as there are many other interns waiting to jump on any opportunity!
It is up to you to keep asking for feedback on your work. Not all mentors are proactive and some might just give you feedback at the end of your internship. Then it’s too late to make any improvements. Asking for feedback also indicates you are willing to learn and are open to criticism, which are valued traits in employees. So make sure you ask for feedback and take it in the right stride and work on it.
Working remotely, you cannot possibly imagine what’s happening in the office. While you might be waiting for a reply, the whole office might be struck by some client emergency! Give reasonable time for your mentor to get back to you. Be polite and respectful of their time. Don’t call them at ungodly hours! Follow up with them over email.
Network with colleagues
Don’t limit your conversations to just your mentor, you are an official intern which means you should leverage this position. You should add this experience to your LinkedIn and get connected with other colleagues and talk to the people who have interesting profiles. Most people will be glad to help you with work or career advice. If the office is in the same city, then try to go there a couple of times to meet new people.
Don’ts for a successful virtual internship
Your mentors/managers cannot see your excuses! They just have to trust you and sometimes trust wears thin if you keep missing on your commitments and deadlines week on week. Discipline with deadlines is the best quality you can inculcate in yourself. At college you are often used to the ‘last night batting’ but that approach is best left at the college gates itself!
Without the rigours of office and the mandatory attendance, it can be easy to cheat on yourself with your work. You may not put in your best effort or think this is something you are doing just for your resume. But remember, this is a professional opportunity and you will carry this experience with you. There are hundreds of other students who would love to get the same opportunity!
Many virtual interns experience that they are not given time-critical work. This, of course, does not mean it is non-important; it’s just not a priority right away. This can cause delays in communication from your mentor or in the worst case scenario abandonment of the project altogether. Don’t lose heart and keep pitching ideas for more work.
Bite off more than you can chew
Sometimes resumes can be even more imaginative than fairy tales! You may have plugged in trending skills and software but might not have a clue about it. This can be tougher to follow up with when you are in a virtual internship. Just be upfront about what you know, don’t commit yourself to very high goals just to make an impression. Be realistic about your capability and deliver it to make the best impact.
Make sure to follow these dos and don’ts for successful time with virtual internships. Also, are you doing a virtual internship already? Comment below to tell us about your experience and follow the blog for more such career advice.
And, if you are looking for the right virtual internships to come your way, then you know where to look – yes, we are talking about Letsintern. So, get clicking and get applying and get acing the virtual internships.