Struggling with how to make the most out of a virtual internship? Do you feel like you have nothing to do at work? Are you worried you’re just wasting time?
Unfortunately, these kinds of questions hit many students during the course of their internship. And since the pandemic made companies pivot to interning from home, these issues now feel even more pronounced. After all, the separation from home and work has never been so fuzzy.
Luckily, marketing interns can pursue several tasks to regain their focus – from setting up informational chats to starting independent projects. Here are tips for remote internships to help you stand out.
1. Network, network, network – even through Zoom
Networking matters a lot – and interns have the unique opportunity to meet other professionals. Before the pandemic, networking meant stopping by a colleague’s office and chatting. Now, you have to do more work to get people’s attention virtually.
Before diving into your work, set up informational chats with other members on your team through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. During the chat, you’ll learn more about their experience and advice. They might even connect you with other professionals to meet.
If you’re looking for a complete breakdown on how to network as a marketer, check out this step-by-step guide.
2. Set up weekly check-ins with your manager
You will communicate most often with your manager – and you should make an effort to get to know them. Set up weekly check-in calls with them so you can build your relationship and establish goals.
Unfortunately, some interns report having little to do and feeling bored. To alleviate this, ask your manager for additional work and offer to help out. They might not even know you have nothing on your plate, you just need to ask.
3. Reach out to other team members for work
If your manager has no more work for you to do, ask them if you can reach out to other team members. As an intern, you have a lot more flexibility in determining what you can work on.
Other team members might need assistance, but have yet to ask for it. Make it easier for them by offering your help.
4. Talk to colleagues in completely different teams
Even if you have a solid idea on what you want to do, meeting with other colleagues can help you figure out what you hope to accomplish as a professional. After all, marketing has many specializations – and by meeting with professionals on different teams, you can better understand what you want to do.
For example, if you work on social media marketing, reach out to someone on the data analytics team. At the end of the meeting, you might end up wanting to look into a different field.
5. Participate in Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) offer support to professionals looking for a tight-knit community. While the majority of those within ERGs work full-time, they will gladly take in an intern to help them out.
Many companies offer ERGs for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ professionals, parents, veterans, sustainability, people with disabilities, and more. If you find yourself gravitating towards a specific one, reach out to a member to learn more information.
6. Arrange fun virtual get-togethers with other interns
If you find yourself getting tired of feeling isolated at work, you’re not alone. Even before the pandemic, 6 in 10 workers reported feeling lonely. To build connections with other interns, reach out to them to arrange a virtual get-together.
You can drink coffee and chat with each other or even play virtual games. Whatever you do, remember to have fun with each other.
7. Identify a problem and develop a solution
Companies have problems and need solutions – and you can help them even as an intern. While you might feel intimidated to identify a problem with the team’s way of doing things, your professionals will appreciate your advice. Often, managers get so focused on their tasks they have no time to find better ways of operating.
For example, do you find the team’s storage system efficient? Could brainstorming sessions work better? Ask yourself these questions and try figuring out a potential fix.
8. Offer to write social media posts – or even create a social media account
Many marketers want to avoid content creation because it can get tedious. To alleviate this, offer to help write social media posts for the company. Even if you already work in social media marketing, consider upping the amount of posts the company publishes.
Better yet, offer to expand the company’s social media presence into other platforms. TikTok recently hit 1 billion active monthly users – a massive feat – and this space could work well for most companies. This kind of initiative shows great foresite and initiative, especially as an intern.
9. Take company-sponsored virtual classes
As an intern, you’re there to learn – so take advantage of company-sponsored virtual classes. Many firms offer free courses on services such as LinkedIn Learning, which typically requires a monthly subscription. Talk to your manager about allocating time to taking a course – especially if the skill will help you do your job better.
10. Conduct competitive research
Marketers tend to get caught up in executing their work, but taking time to check out your competitors offers great insight. As an intern, you should center your work on conducting high-level, competitive analyses. Take a look and analytically compare how your marketing stacks up against competitors.
For example, how are they doing on social media? Have you seen their advertising recently? Take notes and present your findings in a presentation towards the end of your internship.
11. Brainstorm independent projects
Your manager will typically have semester-long projects for you to focus on. If you find yourself with more free time, think of other independent projects you can pitch to your manager.
Maybe you noticed a trend on social media and want to have your brand engage with it. Perhaps you see an opportunity to increase offline advertising. Regardless of the project, offering to think of something to do shows initiative and autonomy – something your manager will greatly appreciate.
12. Organize your notes
At the beginning of your internship, you typically take notes and write down what you need to do in a notebook. As time goes on, you might stop doing this as you start working more. But don’t forget to keep track of your projects and assignments. Write on sticky notes to remind yourself of deadlines and upcoming meetings.
Aside from keeping up to speed with your work, tracking what you do will help you down the line when applying to jobs. You’ll have a complete list of your accomplishments to reference.
13. Inquire about full-time opportunities
If you intern during your junior year in college, you likely want to convert your internship into a full-time offer. But you need to start the conversation proactively.
Rather than assuming you’ll receive one, talk to your recruiter halfway through your internship about full-time opportunities. Some companies might not even make full-time offers to interns – you just need to ask to make sure.
14. Write a LinkedIn post about your experience
Writing a LinkedIn post about your internship gets you great publicity with other professionals at the firm. Usually, if you make a post and tag the company, other colleagues will interact with it.
Moreover, recruiters will also appreciate your promotion of the internship. Since they deal with giving out full-time offers, you want to show recruiters your commitment to the company.
15. Make a list of primary goals
At the beginning of your internship, you want to figure out your objective. After all, since interns work for a set amount of time, you want to get something out of it.
Make a list of primary goals – and remember to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) ones. You can even show your manager to get their advice on how to achieve them.
Now you have a solid idea on how to stand out in your remote marketing internship. Remember to communicate frequently with your manager to ensure you meet their expectations. More importantly, remember to work hard and have fun – internships are a great way for you to explore different areas and figure out what you want to do professionally.
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