This blog is written by Ashley Moncrieffe, our campus ambassador from the University of South Florida. Follow Ashley on twitter @AshFMoncrieffe.
Recently I completed a 6 month virtual internship with an unrestrained college publication called Back\Slash Magazine. Initially, I found out about the Back\Slash internship during my fall 2011 semester while reading the magazine in my management class. The ad said they were looking for spring interns and I decided to get my admission documents together, inquire more information on the program and applied. I did just that in class that same night (I know I should have been paying attention to my professor). About two weeks later I had a phone interview with the Publisher and was well on my way to becoming a part of the Back\Slash family! I must note, in the interview the Publisher really liked how I followed up with a thank you email after the interview (which helped set me apart from other applicants-be sure to follow up. You never know if that will be a deal breaker).
Going into my internship I was excited and nervous at the same time. It was a new opportunity for me and I was going to write again which was exciting, but I haven’t written for a publication in over two years which was nerve wrecking. I had to get back into the groove with writing and becoming that star interviewer I know I could be. The internship program was nicely organized. I had an internship packet which outlined the background and history of Back\Slash, requirements, detailed weekly schedule and other tips for writers. This internship had endless opportunities for growth, creativity and individuality. We chose what our ‘beat’ was and what we wanted to cover on a weekly basis. Because of that, I was able to report on what I actually had more interest in which was entertainment and profile interviews. My articles covered a range of reviews and interviews with the likes of the Intern Queen, cast mate MiMi from hit reality show Bad Girls Club 8, authors, entrepreneurs and artists.
Pros from my internship:
• I knew exactly what was expected of me
• Weekly conference calls (I felt so important and professional)
• Detailed schedule
• Understanding boss
• I chose what I wanted to write about
• Time Management
• My articles were some of the most popular articles of the month
• Allowed me to build a network with those I worked with
• Updated portfolio
• Published online work
• Resume builder
• New references
I thoroughly enjoyed my first virtual internship experience. It wasn’t always easy sending out interview requests and not hearing back, but because of my dedication to my craft and the dynamic of my articles my publisher was impressed and wanted me to stay on and contribute to the magazine.
Thinking about completing a virtual internship? Remember these tips to help you get the most out the experience!
• Know exactly what is expected of you: requirements, schedule, etc
• Be very organized: remember deadlines (planners, calendars and schedules will be your best friend)
• Make sure to have contact information for your boss and others you will be working with
• Keep in mind there may be a difference with time zones
• Communicate with your boss about assignments, ideas, questions or comments
• Check emails daily (maybe even text messages and phone calls too)
• Take pride in your work: go the extra mile (your boss will make note of that)
• Always be professional (email, phone call and even through a text message)