interning in a pandemic.
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Not even a global pandemic can stop you from getting valuable 'workplace' experience. I spoke to Megan, an intern at a Cyber Security firm, about how she got the role, what she does and any advice she has for others.
how did you find out about your internship?
It was posted on a university Facebook page that I was still part of, and then contacted the poster for more information. Never underestimate how helpful your alumni can be!
how was the application process?
It was pretty routine, I had to write a mini personal statement about why I wanted to work for them, and email it over with my CV. As an English Grad applying to be a marketing intern for an American cybersecurity company, the personal statement was tough, and I definitely took some risks. I linked my degree to communications and narrative, and then linked my interest in US politics to tech news and privacy laws, citing specific news stories. They then followed up with an interview.
what was the interview like?
My interview was casual, and very specific to me as a person, and my experience. My interview invite contained a huge list of expected work areas (SEO, Social Media, Press Relations etc), and I spent a large amount of time researching these and the company, creating a mini-game plan of how I would market them. I also noted down a few criticisms of their current approach, on reserve if I felt like the interview environment suited it. I used very little of this in the interview, but I still recommend it! The work I did was helpful throughout my internship
any stand-out questions?
It’s boring, but the question I was asked that I think everyone needs to be prepared for (I wasn’t!) – ‘Tell me about yourself’. Prepare a short answer without babble! Even if they are forgiving, being unprepared for that first question might throw you off balance for the rest of the interview.
what do you do in an average day?
My internship is part-time, so I work 9-12 before I go to my other job. I start my day checking for emails from my CEO, who lives in New York 5 hours behind, and make a checklist combining any of his tasks with my own plans. I then use the brand twitter account to scan for tech news, and spend about an hour reviewing my social media plans and add a post to the queue if I can. If the post is inspired by the news I’ve seen, I will fast track it and post it that day, or I will add it to the queue if it is ‘evergreen’ – content that will be relevant whenever.
how has the internship differed during the pandemic?
I started my internship in the pandemic, and I do find it very weird that I meet with my CEO virtually but never in person. If I am honest, I do think the experience would be even more worthwhile if I could also work in an office environment. However, it has been nice to shape the internship around my work hours and my needs – I think the pandemic has made it a much more output-based job, rather than a question of staying for office hours.
do you have any advice for people looking for an internship?
Be brave! Apply for things that don’t make perfect sense for you, even if it seems too ambitious, or is slightly in the wrong industry. This weird time is perfect for honing transferable skills.
how can people make the most out of their internship?
Try and tailor it to what you want to do. If you have any flexibility, particularly if you’re working for a start-up, you have room to suggest tasks that you want to have on your CV. Suggest a press release for an exciting company milestone, or hosting a market research group.
are you enjoying your experience so far?
I have really enjoyed it. Remote internships in lockdowns are HARD and even people who love their jobs will confess that. At times, my motivation has been absolute zero, but overall it is a great opportunity and allows you to feel a little jolt of accomplishment at the end of a week.