How to maximize a remote internship

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

his summer I am working as a digital experience intern for NextEra Energy. Due to the pandemic having surging affects on South Florida, it has been a completely remote experience. At first, I was definitely bummed about the idea of not creating personal connections with other interns, full-time employees, and not being able to go through the motions of a typical day at the office. At this point, I had already been doing the spring semester online, so I was looking for a change in scenery. Regardless, I knew it was a responsible decision from the company and I needed to adapt to the new circumstances, which I know a lot of us are doing in different areas of life.

The biggest challenge I predicted coming into the internship were communication and collaboration barriers, and how would I stand out as an intern through the fast-paced Webex meetings.

After a month of working from my bedroom, I have come up with a few hacks to maximize a remote internship experience.

Schedule 1–1's

This is top on the list because it should be a given to do so whether remote or in-person. Any new employee joining the team should initiate introduction meetings to understand each teammate’s contribution to the team and how you, as an intern, can learn from them and lend a hand. To get the most out of this 15 or 30-minute conversation, I would write down a list of questions specific to the role of the person you are inquiring about. For example, if it is a UX designer ask,” What tools do you recommend I familiarize myself with to design efficiently?” or “What has been your favorite project that you have been a part of so far?”

It is important to tend to these relationships by asking relevant questions to the new people you have met or asking them what they’re up to and how can you help throughout the course of your time there. Be a sponge and absorb all the knowledge you can from these resources and supplement your knowledge with articles on Medium!

Update your mentors and managers about what you have accomplished

Since everyone is working in their own space, there is less visibility on everyone’s individual breakthroughs and progress. Weekly or monthly check-ins with your mentor and managers will allow you to shine and serve as an opportunity for them to see your potential and recruit you to be part of more projects. This check-in can be used to ask them how they would approach a certain problem too.

Be curious

No one expects you to know everything about the business or team operations as a fresh intern. Often times, teammates will not take the time to tell you everything there is to know because of the workload they have or they don’t know what parts of the process you are interested in. Interns must take the reins here and question their environment, poke their nose around, and learn the pieces of the puzzle.

This will definitely help stand out from the crowd, allow you to be inspired, and practice confidence!

Form bonds with other interns

Good news — you aren’t going through this alone! It can feel isolating going through this experience without conversations to fellow interns about what you’re feeling and how odd the situation is. Luckily, there are only 4 other interns in the Marketing and Communications department I am working in and we have scheduled weekly catch-ups to talk about work and non-related work things to get to know each other. These conversations have helped with common questions, advice on how to be a standout intern, and how do we help make the processes we interact with more efficient.

On this note, go outside of your department and get to know interns working in different areas. This will help open your eyes to the other moving pieces in the operation.

Internships are a fantastic opportunity for anyone looking to get real-life experience in the workforce. Adding the feature of working from home to the mix is a challenge that we all have to overcome in these times. Adapt to this new normal and squeeze all the resources, nuggets of advice, and knowledge you can from your co-workers. Enjoy this unique experience!

--

--

Self-taught product designer | Creative person practicing problem-solving technology skills

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Katie Hoang

Self-taught product designer | Creative person practicing problem-solving technology skills