Remote Internships Are the ‘New Normal,’ Be Prepared to Adapt And Leverage it

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Remote work has become the 'new normal' ever since the coronavirus pandemic hit us. The pandemic has forced big companies like Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report, Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report, Facebook  (FB) - Get Report and others to allow employees working from home.

But have you wondered about what's happening in the internship scenario? 

Internships are often considered to be the first step to getting into workforce. Most of the students take up internship during their summer breaks and some go for Fall and Spring internship. But, the ongoing pandemic has caused a massive cut in internship opportunities.

According to the recent CareerUp's survey of over 2,000 internship candidates, over 50% summer internships were canceled around the world. Also, an April survey of 110 employers across numerous industries, by Handshake, a career networking community for US students, found that 60% of companies are offering virtual internships this year.

Mahima Silwal, 19, from Philadelphia, belongs to those lucky students who was able to get the remote internship during this pandemic. A student at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, Silwal is interning at Adhikaar, an organization based in New York City. She shares one of the big challenges of remote internship.

"One of the biggest challenges is I'm kind of drawing the line between what I'm done working. When you have internship or a job in person, you go to the office, you do your work and then you clock out and you are done for the day," Silwal said.

"But when you're working remotely, it's kind of difficult because you get emails after you're done working. I find it hard because I'm not in an office setting and I'm working from home. Even when I'm not supposed to be working, I'm responding to emails or setting up meetings. And I think that's been the biggest challenge," she added.

Interns are finding that networking opportunities are limited in virtual internships.

Jennifer Hernandez-Pina, a student at Brown University in Rhode Island, who is interning at African Alliance of Rhode Island and Nepal Tea, echoed that.

"Networking, I don't know that it's necessarily happening, I guess, because a lot of networking occurs at events that the company holds or just generally kind of mixers, and it kind of takes a lot of planning to do a Zoom meeting and incorporating more people than are just in your organization," Hernandez-Pina said. "But just generally, I've been getting to know my coworkers and my bosses through Slack  (WORK) - Get Report or Zoom  (ZM) - Get Report or just off meetings in general."

"I do think that if I had an in-person internship, then that might have been something that would've occurred a little more naturally," she added.

So, how can interns overcome those challenges? 

Career Expert Emily Miethner says that this is the time where everyone's really had to go outside of their comfort zone.

"Interns should definitely be proactive in terms of looking up other people who are at the company on social media sites like LinkedIn, or even within company directories, finding out who might be an interest for them to connect with over a Skype or Zoom, a phone call, and taking that initiative while they have an internship role to make a connection," Miethner said.

"As awkward as it might feel doing it digitally, it is the only option. And so it's important for people to take advantage of doing that," she added.

Watch the video above to know more.

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