How to stay connected during a virtual internship  

The pandemic completely changed the way we live, play and work. And while COVID-19 brought countless negatives, the virus also encouraged the world to rethink, revamp and revitalize age-old systems – like putting on real pants and going into an office five days a week.  

As the growing number of remote internships and career opportunities increase, it’s important to learn how to communicate effectively with members of your team in a new way.

Here are five tips I’ve learned for staying connected during a virtual internship.  

Ask questions 

It’s always important to ask questions, however, the virtual world only exacerbates the need to raise your hand when you’re unsure of how to proceed with a project or don’t understand one of the many industry-specific acronyms. When you work remotely, you can miss out on social cues and in-depth explanations that you would get if you were in the office. For this reason, assignments given to you over the computer can sometimes seem confusing. It’s always better to ask questions to clarify the assignment than to waste time doing the wrong thing.

Utilize virtual meeting platforms 

Meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Zoom are there to help you – don’t be afraid to use them. When it comes to building meaningful relationships with team members or simply getting clarification on a confusing email, it’s always best to consult your team. Even if you aren’t working on a project, you can use virtual meeting platforms to set up meet-and-greet calls with your coworkers so you can get to know the team better.   

Establish team check-ins 

Establishing team check-ins goes together with utilizing virtual meeting platforms. Team check-ins help you stay connected with your teammates. Take 10-15 minutes each week to meet with your team and update each other on projects and experiences. This is also a great time for interns to ask to work on a certain project or highlight interest in a specific area.  

Ask for feedback  

Internships are learning opportunities, and the best way to grow is by getting feedback. Make sure to ask for feedback when you submit assignments so you can measure your strengths and weaknesses. Taking the time to look over suggestions or comments and understand how you can improve your skills will teach you a lot!  

Communication is key 

The key to staying connected during a virtual internship is communication. Virtual internships lack the everyday office chatter, halting some communication. When you’re sitting behind a screen, coworkers can’t see how busy or light your workday is. If you’re swamped, ask for help when you need it. If you have ample free time, ask what projects people can send your way. Always facilitate clear communication with your team. It’s okay to let someone know that you’re working on several projects and can’t get to a new assignment until later in the week. Make sure that you communicate to keep from feeling overwhelmed on busy days or bored on slow days.  

As students and graduates pursue career opportunities through internships, remember to use virtual experiences as an advantage by building lasting connections with your coworkers and increasing your knowledge and skills.  

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