It’s no secret COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the globe in many ways. This past summer I experienced something I never could have imagined: a completely virtual internship. Over the course of three months, I interned for Land O’Lakes in their Dairy Foods division in a Customer Insights & Analytics role.
WHAT MY EXPERIENCE LOOKED LIKE
I went into the internship not sure what to expect. Throughout the first week, I attended virtual events hosted by the College Relations team. During these events, I was able to network with 100+ other interns, while also learning about the company. My team was hands-on right away with daily check-ins. Between college relations events, and team meetings, I instantly felt welcomed to the company. Throughout the summer college relations continued to host intern events.
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING A VIRTUAL INTERNSHIP
Set goals. For any internship or job it is important to set goals, but being online makes it increasingly crucial. I went into the internship with a list of goals and action steps on how I planned to achieve them over the summer.
Ask questions. One of my biggest takeaways from the internship is that it is better to ask too many questions than not enough. Any employer would rather you clarify before diving into a task you do not fully understand. Find a few individuals whom you feel comfortable asking lots of questions and establish this open channel of communication early.
Intentionally network. My manager set up “meet and greets” with individuals on my team to learn more about their role and how it correlates with the entire organization. I also set up time with individuals outside of my department. Meeting with people from all across the company helped me to learn more about what I could see myself doing in the future.
Work from a variety of locations (if possible). With my internship being completely virtual, I was able to work from my hometown, my house in Duluth, and multiple cabins. I found that my productivity and energy levels actually increased when I switched up the environment I was working in. Working from a variety of locations kept me engaged and excited about my work. If your employer permits, I would highly recommend switching locations up when working virtually for a long period of time.
Spruce up your at-home office. Before starting my internship I ordered new stationery. One item I ordered was a butter sticky notepad. I also made sure my desk was positioned by a window so I had sunlight and a beautiful view every day. Put photos or quotes that inspire you around your space. Even simple details can go a long way. Check out my butter notepad below 🙂
All in all, virtual internships may seem intimidating at first. Setting goals and staying connected are key to making the most out of the experience. Good luck!
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Photo Sources: Unsplash | Georgie Cobbs & Amanda