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What to Expect in a Virtual Internship

Pre-Pandemic Mindset

Flashback to March 2020: The end of Spring semester is approaching, and Summer is just around the corner. Naturally, it’s time to start looking for internships, unless you already started your search in the Winter…like you’re supposed to.

But wait. There’s a pandemic happening, internships are being delayed or worse—CANCELLED, classes have been transitioned into a virtual environment, and I’m trying to finish finals in the middle of all this craziness. Whew…

Lo and behold, there is a light at the end of this vast and warped tunnel, and I can once again see hope in my professional future. The tunnel is leading me to MetroStar Systems.

“A friend of a friend,” told me MetroStar Systems transitioned their internship program into a virtual environment and referred me to their internship page, and I decided to apply. (Who knew that this would be my next big opportunity? (Not me). I hope I can be that “friend” for all you folks reading this blog. I want to share how a virtual internship can be the light at the end of your job-hunting tunnel.

The amazing thing about my entire application process is that MetroStar was not originally looking to hire interns for the marketing department; however, after I turned in my blog submission, they noticed my capabilities and creativity. Due to this, they were gracious enough to create a position for me to be on their team.

Let’s fast forward through the application process to the part where I get hired (YAY), and I’ll tell you how this virtual internship experience has become the best decision I could have made back in April.

Preparing for a Virtual Environment

Throughout my experience, I have come to realize a thing, or two, about how to put my best foot forward in a virtual internship. Instead of waking up extra early to beat traffic or grab my morning cup of Peet’s Coffee, I had to re-imagine a new morning and work-life routine. I’ve created some tips on how to use this new virtual time differently and ways to best prepare for a virtual environment.

Set-up an at-home space

  • Find a nice, quiet spot in your home to place your computer, charger, notepad, pens, and coffee mug. It’s important to note, you should also have good lighting for any Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls taking place throughout the day. Look for space where your face will be facing a window!

Have a morning ritual

  • Wake up 45 minutes before your workday begins and start the day by doing what makes you feel best in the morning. Whether it’s taking a shower, stretching, going on a jog, listening to music, or putting mauve eyeshadow on—it’s important for you to prepare time to just do you.

Practice using communication tools

  • When working at MetroStar, our prime sources of communication are Microsoft Teams and Zoom. If you have any questions or comments to share, then our teammates are always a chat or call away!

Keep important websites open

  • Depending on your internship title, you will have different go-to websites for work. Creating a bookmark or “pinning” the websites to your search homepage will help you stay organized. As a marketing intern, I make sure I always have the MetroStar social media platforms open, along with my virtual task sheet on Monday.com.

Get groovy

girl sitting on a couch with her laptop for her virtual internship

The Virtual Culture

Once my official start date was settled, my work laptop was shipped out overnight along with some MetroStar spirit gear. I logged in, created my password, and entered what I never thought I would experience—a virtual internship. While being onboarded with MetroStar, I was welcomed by a professional, friendly, and diverse team! I tip my hat to MetroStar’s leadership for being quick on their feet and creating a virtual COVID-19 workplace playbook that really works. We got an awful lot done during my internship!

During my first week, I had one-on-one video calls to get the opportunity to meet my marketing teammates. What is certainly not lacking in MetroStar’s virtual work culture is the incorporation of maintaining a sense of social interaction. With the company-wide Weekly Huddles (meetings) to virtual happy hours with the intern team, I have certainly felt as if I am in an alternate dimension where COVID-19 didn’t happen. Despite the virtual setting, I feel I would know my team quite similarly if our internship was in-person.

A great plus to working virtually is that all my team members are just a video call away. It has been a huge time saver to be able to contact them as easily as I have been, so I never worry about having a prolonged period of problem-solving on my own. A bonus to this entire experience is the ability to speak daily to professionals within the company who typically work in entirely different locations!

Things to Look Out for During a Virtual Internship:

  • Company-wide weekly virtual meetings
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual team meetings on Microsoft Teams (or a similar platform)
  • Instant communication with team members (Thank you, Microsoft Teams!)
  • Bonus: The ability to speak to professionals in different company locations

Gain Skills Virtually

No matter if you are a technology intern or a marketing intern (like me), you will certainly be getting hands-on experience in your field! I made a list that shows some of the key skills I have learned this summer [see below].

Yes, if you read down the marketing list, you read correctly. I had the opportunity to coordinate and assemble MetroStar’s (and my) first-ever Twitch Livestream. It was an exciting opportunity to be handed to me and to be trusted to take the lead on launching our first-ever Twitch Livestream! When looking for a virtual internship make sure to find a company that offers unique opportunities for you to tackle and not one that just tasks you with administrative duties. A virtual world should still open the door to new projects and opportunities that will help you grow!

Why You Should Apply for A Virtual Internship

If you are worried about receiving an equally valuable internship experience due to the virtual needs of our world right now, then I hope reading my story will put your concerns to rest. This is my second internship, and I can tell you that I have acquired a greater deal of skills here than I did in my first internship (even back when you could still work in the office).

A virtual internship is about finding a great company to intern with who is more than ready to bring you onto the team rather than an organization that is incapable or unwilling to do so. Also, a benefit to having a virtual internship on your resume, is that you will certainly get ahead in a virtual job market. Being prepared for a post-grad virtual workplace is something important to think about as our world is changing. How companies continue to thrive and operate may be more remote-based than ever before, and you’ll be one-step ahead after your successful virtual internship!

Visit our internship page to learn more about a career with MetroStar Systems

Let’s Go!
By | 2020-08-11T21:03:49+00:00 August 11th, 2020|Categories: Career Growth, Culture|Tags: , |