As corporate and agency professionals slowly return back to the office, many students have been given the option to work virtually or hybrid in their internships. When sitting behind a Zoom screen (as opposed to that face-to-face work) it may be challenging to connect with your colleagues and show off your personality.
Here are seven ways to stand out in your remote internship.
Within your first week at a new company, you will most likely have a meeting where you meet with your boss, co-workers and other interns. However, you might not have the chance you meet with other departments. In each case, send your teammates a short message introducing yourself, and see if they have a spare 15 minutes on their calendar for a quick get-to-know-you call. Tell them about yourself and ask about their career path and what they love about the company.
Just because no one will see you working in front of your Netflix on the TV or taking an hour nap, it doesn’t mean you should. Even if you feel like you can get away with it, you never know when your boss is going to quickly ask to Huddle and you’ve just rolled out of bed. According to Maven Agency, while it might not always feel like you are “at work” every day, it is crucial to remember that your internship is still a job. Hold yourself accountable, stay professional and create an environment for yourself that will allow you to focus.
Don’t stop reaching out after your first day. Every few weeks, send a quick check-in message to the other interns. Talk to your leader and see if they’d be okay with you scheduling some Zoom coffee breaks or happy hours if they haven’t already been implemented. It’s important to get to know your co-workers on more than just a professional level.
Find out who from your team lives in your area and ask them to get together. Do work at a shared office space if you have access or meet up at a local coffee shop. Sitting at a desk in your bedroom all day can get lonely, especially if you’re working full time. Working together IRL can help avoid hour-long Zoom calls to go over something that can be shown to you in five minutes.
Think about how if you were in an office, you could turn to the person next to you and ask them a quick question. Just because you’re working on your own, you shouldn’t have to figure everything out by yourself. You are never bothering a co-worker with a question. I have sat working on a task for hours trying to prove that I can find the answer myself when I later realize I could have been much more productive if I had just asked someone.
If you’re a PR student, over the course of your college career you have most likely signed up for more newsletters than you can remember. Every morning, my inbox floods with updates from PRSA, Ad Age, SpinSucks and Institute for PR, just to name a few. Read these newsletters! If you find something eye-catching happening in the industry or an article relevant to a project you are working on, send it to your team. Even as an intern, you should be sharing knowledge from other professionals within your chat. Create your own water cooler chat by sending out some conversation starters.
Whether you have a performance review coming up in the future or not, ask your managers and colleagues what you can do better. They will appreciate this initiative – I promise. According to CEA Study Abroad, asking for constructive feedback is another way of showing your interest in the job and proves just how eager you are to succeed.
While the PR industry may look different, figure out your own secrets to thriving. One day, you might have a job that requires 40+ hours a week in person — avoid the shell shock by preparing yourself for it now and not getting too wrapped up in your WFH lifestyle.
Kimberly Hurd is a senior public relations student at the University of Florida. She’s a member of the UF Chapter of PRSSA and the PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee. Aside from PR, she sings in UF’s all-female a cappella group, The Sedoctaves. Connect with Kimberly on LinkedIn.