Work from Your Dorm Room: Is a Remote Internship Right for You?

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While classes give public relations students the fundamentals of our industry, it is the hands-on, field experience that defines the quality of a professional and how they understand effective communications. College towns are great for studies but not always for media industry employment if you are far from a major market. For those struggling to find that key internship to fit your interests, there is a way to score big internships from your dorm room.

Remote internships are a great opportunity for those looking to build their resume while at school. Remote internships are opportunities where employee communications and assignments are all completed through digital communications. This includes having meetings via Google Hangouts or Skype, receiving assignments through email, sharing files and asking questions with Slack and saving content in Google Drive among many using many other digital means to run an organization. Interns can work from anywhere they have an internet connection for these opportunities and typical work attire can usually be your sweatpants. Before you jump on your laptop and start sending out applications for these experiences, what is it actually like to work as a remote intern?

Emily Zekonis – West Virginia University

Remote Internships:

New York Minute Magazine (PR Intern), BlendTW (Social Media Editor), ARLG Communications (Digital Intern)

Why did you choose a remote internship?

My first remote internship was my freshman year. I was about one month into my orientation class led by my university’s internship advisor who really expressed how important internships are. I sort of freaked out about having no experience after looking at how competitive internships I knew I would really want in my future seemed to be and new I needed industry experience. I got in touch with the founder of a digital media outlet start-up, New York Minute Magazine and convinced her to give my enthusiasm about working hard and learning a chance.

Morgantown, West Virginia, is not a huge city and internships are limited and competitive. Taking on this remote opportunity allowed me to explore my options and find companies hiring younger students. I am also extremely involved on campus with PRSSA, our school’s Dance Marathon and writing for our newspaper so working remotely gave me more freedom with my hours. I’m a night owl so being able to work on projects at midnight was great for me!

What were the challenges of a remote internship?

Time management is a considerable challenge. It can be easy to get off track when you only have one team meeting a week. Sometimes class and exams get crazy and without having concrete time set aside to go to an office to work, you can often forget deadlines or put off large projects until the last minute and run into issues. Many remote internship managers are very strict on deadlines so you need to be on top of yourself and sure you can handle a self-disciplined opportunity.

Where did you find your remote opportunity?

I found both through but I am sure there are a ton of other ways to find them including Indeed and the PRSSA Internship Center! Search around; there are tons of opportunities out there!

Elizabeth Frenaye – American University

Remote Internships:

I am currently interning for a non-profit, the Travis Manion Foundation. The Foundation has offices across the states. I am interning both for the D.C. office (local and in person) as well as the Texas office (remote).

What are your responsibilities for this internship?

For the remote phase of my internship, I research and develop curriculum and design presentations and one-pagers. There is a research component, as well as a graphic design component.

Why did you choose a remote internship?

In a way, it chose me. The Foundation is one that I knew I wanted to intern for and I was lucky that they had a D.C. office. When I expressed interest, they let me know that the D.C. office would not have enough tasks for me to constitute it as an internship. They brought up the idea of working remotely for another region and I immediately said yes.

Would you recommend working remotely to another student?

To work remotely, you really have to know yourself. It is not for everyone and requires a lot of organization and communication. It can be worth it, you can intern for companies not in your region and boost your resume. But know if you can take on the responsibility and have time to devote to it without being in an office working remotely can be beneficial in many ways.

Madison Noone – Temple University 

Remote Internships:

I worked remotely for BlendTW, a digital media publication focused on connecting the world.

What are your responsibilities for this internship?

I was in charge of interviewing and creating profiles for a campaign focused on humanistic stories, kind of like “Humans of New York” style. I interviewed people, photographed them and then would write the profiles that would be used for content creation.

How do you make sure you are on task/schedule time for your internship?

Our company used Slack to communicate so I made sure to check for messages every day. When I was given assignments, I would be sure to read the requirements right away and mark my deadlines so I always knew what was supposed to be done and when.

What is one pro and con of working remotely?

Pro: You can work on things whenever you want, wherever you want.

Con: You don’t get as much hands-on experience or in-person interaction.

Would you recommend working remotely to another student?

I would recommend working remotely if you do not have the means to work in person. It is a convenient option to work anytime, anywhere, however, it is not the same experience as working in person. I feel you would be closer to a manager and team you saw each day in the office.

Emily Zekonis is a third-year Strategic Communications/Public Relations student at West Virginia University. She currently serves as the Treasurer/Fundraising Chair of WVU PRSSA and Co-Conference Coordinator for West Virginia University’s 2019 Regional Conference. Emily will be graduating in spring 2020 to continue her education at WVU with an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyZekonis or LinkedIn.


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