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How to Turn a Virtual Internship into a Full-Time Job

How to Turn a Virtual Internship into a Full-Time Job main image

Have you landed a virtual internship this summer? You deserve a huge pat on the back for persevering and getting yourself an internship at a time when many employers are having to make drastic changes to their hiring processes due to COVID-19.

The virtual internship format might not be what you envisaged, but remember that a number of your peers will have had their offers rescinded, so you’re lucky to be one of the small group of students whose work plans remain intact.

So, to help you make the most out of your virtual internship – and hopefully land that dream job after – we’ve rounded up some tips to help you out.

Help often

Offering to help will make you stand out from the crowd during your internship.

At present, managers and team members may be more stressed out than usual, so try to find opportunities to help them and take some of their workload off their plates. Not only will you learn a lot more across the business, but people will also love having you around!

Communicate with your team

During your virtual internship, it may be difficult for your manager or team to know what you’re working on and how you’re doing from a distance – so it’s never been more important to keep people in the loop.

Drop your manager a message in the morning to let them know your structure for the day, and you can send them a quick, concise summary of what you achieved during the day too.

Demonstrate the great communication skills you said you had during your interview – even if it’s from afar.

Network strategically

Talking to people is important during your internship, but you should focus on the conversations – and connections – you’d like to have.

Many employees are working much longer hours at home than they would at the office, so they may not want to simply have a chat with an intern. Give someone a reason to want to have a conversation. Make your meeting count!

Always put your work first

Although networking during an internship is important, never put it before completing your work.

The quality of your work demonstrates your work ethic and  shows a lot about your employee potential and who you are as a person.

If you really want a full-time offer following your internship, prioritize the quality of your work – go above and beyond and always strive to do more than expected. Use the internship to earn credibility for your hard work.

Organize your projects and approach

As an intern, it’s very likely you’ll be given a robust project to complete, taking some work off of overworked employees.

It can be easy to get a little overwhelmed with multiple ongoing tasks – especially when you’re working remotely – so the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to organize yourself and your projects.

Be sure you fully understand the project at the beginning, what it entails and what the company expects from you. That way, you’ll have a clear approach to tackle each problem that comes your way.

Utilize digital tools to help you deliver on schedule.

Be swift

When you’ve got your head around your role and what you need to deliver, put together a ready-to-go template which you can then present for feedback at an early stage.

The sooner you get feedback, the more time you have to trial multiple versions before you submit the ‘perfect’ deliverable.

Ask targeted questions

You’ve taken on the daunting idea of asking for help – fantastic! But in some cases, the response may confuse you.

If that’s the case, ask a non-leading/targeted question to get the full information you need.

Mention the parts you understood from the respondent, clarify the information you’ve taken from their answer, and see if that aligns with what they meant.

Together, you’ll get the full picture (and possibly an interesting discussion). The better the follow-up questions, the better the final response you’ll receive.

Ask for help when needed

As an intern, you’re not expected to have all the answers. Of course, you were hired for your skills, but realistically, you’re going to be the least experienced/skilled member on your team.

So, when you’re working on a difficult project, ask for help and guidance if you need it – the team will appreciate your honesty rather than trundling through not knowing where to turn.

There is no shame in asking for help. It’s better to ask for help than waste countless hours trying to figure our how to get around a difficult topic. Have a quick chat with someone for help, it’ll be better for all parties in the long run.

Be resourceful

Time is precious in business, and sometimes your managers and coworkers won’t be able to help you.

Try to find the solution to the problems you come across before asking for help. Do your due diligence.

If you do need to ask for help, show the person you’ve done your research and the resources you’ve utilized. Help yourself first – it’ll make you a better, more resourceful employee.

Add value where you can

You can offer so much more to your company than your internship project.

Find ways you can help your manager or team – automating time-consuming activities like note-taking for example. Or, if your manager is swamped with a project, volunteer to help.

You can also take it upon yourself to keep team morale high by organizing some virtual activities for the team. Use your energy to nurture a happy working environment.

Show enthusiasm and excitement!

Landing a great internship is a privilege – let the company know you appreciate it!

Your enthusiasm will be valued by the company, and you’ll likely be the breath of fresh air a team needs. Let’s be honest, if you’re not excited to be there, no one will likely want to keep you there after the internship either.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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