Summer internships are just around the corner and unfortunately, we’re not quite out of the COVID-19 woods yet. This will cause a lot of anxiety for students who were hoping to get their foot in the door of their dream industry this summer, but are not sure what that’s going to look like anymore. We’ve compiled a list of tips and resources to get prepared for remote internships to ease some of those worries!
What opportunities are out there and how do I access them?
COVID has affected NZ’s economy, so lots of students might be worried about how many jobs there will be out there for them. While some companies may decide not to hire interns or grads this year, there are still a lot of companies that are hiring! On the Summer of Tech site, there are over 300 summer internship roles listed! While some industries have been heavily impacted by COVID, others have been under the pump and as a result are looking to hire lots of new employees. Other places to look for internship opportunities are NxtStep and CareerHub.
There are also online resources available to make sure you are super prepared for recruitment season. When you register with Summer of Tech, we review your profile before it gets published, including giving you feedback on your CV! We also hold career bootcamps throughout the year, including career coaching sessions, practice interviews and one-on-one CV reviews. There are also lots of other online resources available on places like the Government Career site. At the start of lockdown, we published an article on job hunting in uncertain times, which has some helpful tips.
What about technical problems?
Having the right technology to successfully find and complete an internship can also be a worry for students, especially if they’ve never had to work from home before.
If you’re worried about finding an internship because you are unable to access online job seeking sites from home, check out this site where you can find free wifi spots all around New Zealand! Your tertiary institution also is likely to be open in Level 2 or lower, but you’ll have to double check the restrictions on who is allowed to be on campus.
Once you get an internship, your employer will likely be responsible for setting you up with the technology you need. Some employers have an ‘own device’ policy, but they will need to specify this when you are offered the role or before. Most companies, especially in the tech industry, will set you up with everything you need when you start remote working. This will include devices like laptops, keyboards and monitors as well as making sure that you have stable internet access. Unless clearly stated beforehand, this responsibility will not fall on you!
If I’m working from home, will I still feel supported? Will it be harder to learn?
At the beginning of your internship, your manager or team will most likely spend a week or so teaching you the specific tools that your company uses. This would be the same if you were working in the office as no employer will expect you to have a complete understanding of every platform or tool they use before you start! For remote internships, it is likely that you’ll also have an introduction to Microsoft Teams, Slack or whatever team support platform your company uses, alongside the more technical training.
If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to ask your team for help! They are likely to be expecting more questions than usual considering the unusual circumstances. Youtube videos are also a great way to learn how to use new platforms and tools. There are lots of step-by-step tutorials on how to use all of the main remote working tools, as well as more technical things that you might be stuck on.
Most companies who offer remote internships will also have plans in place for wellbeing support of their employees. Often there will be virtual ‘standups’ where teams will meet online to talk about what work they have completed and work they are doing that day. There are lots of ways that companies incorporate team bonding into remote working environments, including online daily quizzes and virtual Friday drinks. Chances are, if a company is prepared to offer a remote internship, they’ll have support systems set up to help you throughout your time with them.
How do I manage distractions at home?
Focusing on work for 8 hours a day at home can be difficult, especially if this is your first time working in an ‘office job’. Setting up your home office is a good place to start, as it’s important to have a space where you are able to get work done effectively. Try to find a spot that’s quiet and away from distractions like family or flatmates. If you have to set up your home office in your bedroom, consider getting a room divider to make the space feel separate. If you live with others, let them know when you have meetings in order to avoid background noise or awkward ‘I didn’t realise your camera was on’ moments! They’re more common than you’d think…
There are lots of productivity apps available to help you focus on work! Try out Forest, an app that encourages you to stop using your phone while you’re working. If this one doesn’t work for you, there are loads of similar productivity apps on the App Store or Google Play. Have a look around until you find one that works for your personal work style. You can also check out this YouTube playlist on Productivity & Organisation! It has lots of helpful videos on how to use platforms to stay on task.
Hopefully these tips will help ease your anxieties about remote internships this summer. It’s a time of uncertainty and change for everyone, so remember that asking questions and feeling nervous is absolutely fine and completely normal! Employers will be understanding that not only are you in a new job, but in a strange situation as well and they will do their best to help you.