As a first-time intern and in a virtual setting, no less—I was nervous about what my experience at the DME would be like. At the start of my internship, I felt overwhelmed, lost and unsure of how to maneuver through the program. However, as I adjusted to the virtual environment, I learned some essential lessons that I thought would help other interns and that I wish I would have figured out earlier. As a human resources intern, I have contributed to many projects and developed ideas to help future interns on-board and transition smoothly into the program.
Below, I have created a list of tips to help interns make their virtual internship a success, whether it is their first internship or one of many:
- Establish a relationship with leadership and fellow interns. Introducing yourself to leadership and other interns allows you to form a relationship with your colleagues and get a feel for how to navigate working remotely This will also help you learn about the chain of command and who to contact if any questions or concerns arise.
- Understand your personal goals and what you would like to gain from your internship. If you want your internship to be successful, it is important to think about what you would like to gain from your experience as an intern. Keeping your goals in mind will help you spend your time meaningfully and give you something to write about on your resume or networking platforms like LinkedIn.
- Stay engaged and communicate frequently. Since the DME internship is virtual, it is essential to regularly engage with other interns and communicate via Slack. This will give you the opportunity to form relationships, engage in daily activities on different channels, ask questions and keep leadership updated on your current work, such as working on a priority project or assisting other departments with projects.
- Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In my experience, both leadership and interns were willing to answer any questions I had, whether about projects or more generally regarding the internship.
- Staying organized and managing your time. While working from home, you can set your own schedule and you will not have someone checking in with you at all times. Therefore, it is important to keep track of how many hours you work per week, project deadlines, Slack messages and weekly tasks. I found that keeping a yearly planner helped me keep track of what I needed to do and when I should have it done by.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more work. There will be times when work is slow and you would like to put in more hours. I recommend messaging leadership to ask for more hours or joining the #moonlighting Slack channel, where different departments may be short-handed and advertise for help on projects. This is also a great way to learn new skills and form relationships with interns from other departments.
- Participate in weekly team meetings, if possible. From having different schedules to juggling work, school or internships, it may be hard to attend every team Zoom meeting. However, team meetings are a great place to express any concerns, catch up with department members, update your team on your current projects and have both professional and light-hearted discussions.
- Relax and don’t be too hard on yourself. Your experience is what you make of it. Don’t try to take on more than you can handle and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask for feedback and remember that leadership is there to help you. This internship should both fun and rewarding!
Writer: Brionna Burgains
Editor: Alli Park
Graphic Designer: Katie Rahill