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The Internship Checklist: 5 Things Your Spring Internship Must Provide

The Internship Checklist: 5 Things Your Spring Internship Must Provide
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You probably have an idea of your perfect internship this spring. Maybe it’s working for a fashion powerhouse. Perhaps you want to work for the Googles and Apples of the world. You could even want to work for a non-profit with a cause. The world is your internship oyster; whatever your interests may be, there’s something out there for you.

Before you commit to an internship this spring, there are five things you need to check off your list. No matter if you want to work for a celeb or the president, here’s what you should look for in the ideal internship:

Opportunity for advancement

Before you take an internship this spring, consider this important question: Will the internship provide you with an opportunity for advancement? Studies show that 61 percent of paid interns receive at least one job offer — a number that you should strive to be a part of. Plus, the chance to land a full-time job is especially important as you embark upon one of your last programs while you’re still in school and eligible to intern. This could be your final shot at gaining employment through an internship. You don’t want to take on just any.

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In order to see if the employer will hire you after your program, you have to do a little digging. Check out what people are saying online, talk to past interns, and even ask your employer these questions directly:

  • What are typical rates of hire after an internship?
  • What do I have to do to continue working in the organization?
  • What traits to you look for when transitioning an intern to a full-time hire?

The answers to these questions will help you to navigate through your program a little better, as well as understand what you have to do to get hired in the end.

Competitive compensation

Pay is no joke. While internships have been plagued with negative stereotypes such as errand or coffee running, the fact is, internships are more than menial work. Your spring internship should provide you with an educational experience, as well as at least federal minimum wage. If you’re paid, you also receive the same rights as a full-time employee, such as protection against discrimination, sexual harassment, and arbitrary dismissal. (Unpaid interns are not seen as employees in the eyes of the law, and therefore do not have the same rights.)

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Paid interns are not only happier, they are also more engaged with their work and have a higher chance at getting hired, with the median salary starting at $51,930. Not too shabby for an entry-level job.

Access to professional development

In the end, internships are supposed to be a learning experience. While having a big name on your resume is obviously a huge benefit, if you’re not learning much from a powerful organization, what good is it in the long-run? Plus, it’s what many professionals want as well: 48 percent want professional development through learning new skills. An additional 30.2 percent of young professionals want the chance to do real work.

Here’s what you should gain in your internship experience this spring: The chance to develop as a professional from company leaders, clients, co-workers, and even customers. This can be done a myriad of ways, from attending conferences to having one-on-one training sessions with your boss. You can also acquire important skills that can transfer to multiple professions, such as social media skills, marketing knowledge, content management system aptitude, and business development expertise. Picking up valuable tech skills, including HTML and CSS, will also help you to be more knowledgeable and stay competitive.

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In addition, studies show that 47.3 percent of interns say they’re most interested in access to executives and mentorship during an internship. Access to leaders and managers helps you to learn more about the industry, builds lasting connections, and improves your workflow since you’re receiving constant communication from the people at the top.

Diversity

One of the best things an internship can provide is diverse options, both in the people that are employed by the organization and the tasks that you ultimately perform. If you’re lucky enough to secure a paid internship, that’s even better: Historically, paid internships are more attractive to diverse candidates, which means you’ll have the chance to work with awesome people from different walks of life.

Why is this a good thing? Because receiving knowledge from a variety of backgrounds, education levels, and overall experience will provide you with a more fulfilling program. Plus, it forces you to see how you can improve based on varying opinions from industry leaders.

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Perks

When I say perks, I don’t mean lounging out in front of a fireplace or getting all the free food and drinks you want (although these are great). I mean gaining some additional benefits that can make for a more satisfying internship experience.

For example, 43.6 percent of interns would enjoy a flexible schedule, and an additional 13.7 percent want company culture activities. Location, size of team, project type, and the chance to attend industry events are great perks that can positively contribute to your well-being, effectively enhancing your internship experience. Keep in mind that perks like relocation or housing are typically given to summer interns. If you are looking for this benefit in your spring internship, you may want to re-evaluate your search or wait to take an opportunity in the summer.

While you should have an open mind before starting your spring internship, these five factors should definitely come into play. Do your research and use this checklist as a guide to see if your next internship can provide you with what you need.

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What do you think? What are some other factors that can improve your spring internship experience?

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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