These uncertain times have made virtual internships the new normal. Although working remotely may not be ideal, our current interns tell you how to ace any virtual internships. Here is what Digital Marketing Coordinators Sam, Michelle, Tiffany, Zoe, and Graphic Designer Chloe have to say about their experiences at Major Tom:
Top Left: Tiffany Leung, Michelle Chen, Sam Clarkson, Chloe Reynolds, Zoe Zhang
Your first few days at Major Tom will involve becoming acquainted with the company and meeting a ton of friendly faces (virtually). The welcoming nature of the team makes you feel comfortable fast, helping to make your future Zoom meetings and onboarding tasks a lot more enjoyable. The different training sessions help get you quickly up to speed on how Major Tom functions, the software you need, and the opportunities that are now available to you.
During the first week, interns also have the opportunity to sit in on meetings and explore different committees that aren’t related to their direct department. Once you complete the initial onboarding, your second week will involve introducing you to projects and tasks you will be working on throughout the duration of your internship!
Excelling on the job
Starting a new job can be tough. The mixture of new faces, new processes, and new responsibilities can make you feel like a toddler taking their first steps. Here are a few tips to help you skip that phase and make an immediate impact:
1. Focus on First Impressions
Major Tom fosters a collaborative working environment. You’ll quickly have the opportunity to work with people across the organization — from other interns to the senior leadership team. When working with new people, make a good first impression by going the extra mile with your work. This will help you gain the trust of your coworkers and open up new doors within the company.
2. Take On New Challenges
There may be new and unfamiliar tasks for you to work on. This can be scary at first. Rather than saying “no”, treat these challenges as an opportunity to improve your skills and develop your interests. Tackle them with confidence and enthusiasm — you might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. And don’t worry, if you run into roadblocks, everyone at Major Tom is willing to help.
3. Manage Your Priorities
The work environment of an agency is fast-paced. Turnaround on projects is quick and deadlines frequently loom. To manage this, organizing your tasks by priority is key. One way to do this is by writing a to-do list every morning. Not only will this help clarify your priorities but it’s a calming way to start the day. Meanwhile, be open about your workload and deadlines with your manager. They’re a great resource if you feel overwhelmed or underworked.
While starting a new job can be daunting as is, working completely remotely can be even more nerve-racking; or at least, that was our impression before our first week at Major Tom. We were definitely concerned about our virtual internships and whether we’d be able to integrate into the teams right away or whether this was a good cultural fit. However, right off the bat, we all were pleasantly surprised by how open, warm, and supportive our team members were even if we didn’t work with them directly. After attending several meetings and receiving a very warm welcome to the company, we genuinely felt like everyone’s (virtual) door was open to chat about upcoming projects or topics beyond the world of marketing.
Although we’ve only gotten to experience Major Tom’s company culture online, it’s given us a good idea of what it would feel like in-person. With fun virtual activities like happy hour, escape rooms, and mixology classes, people at Major Tom understand that balancing serious work with lighthearted bonding activities builds a strong team. So far, one of our favourite memories has been our Satellite session where we played trivia games and ordered takeout. It helped us get to know some of our team members better in an informal setting and made us feel like a true part of the Major Tom Team.
Advice for future interns
Starting virtual internships can be intimidating. While you want to give yourself time to adjust, being proactive is the best approach. Here are 3 tips to help you excel in your role:
1. Join the #donut_friends Slack Channel
The #donut_friends channel is a simple way to schedule get-to-know-you chats to connect with teammates across teams. We found it to be a great way to meet new people even though we are working from home due to COVID-19. Whether it is in person or virtually, the biweekly donut dates are great to learn more about their roles, how the different teams work, and their interests.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Bringing a curious mind is crucial to your growth at Major Tom. No matter if it is your first week or fourth month, your willingness to learn will be appreciated in both client projects and team culture. Don’t be afraid to reach out to different teammates and be proactive about your learning objectives.
3. Be Open and Social
Working in a virtual environment can be tough. You don’t get that face-to-face human interaction, and it can get intimidating as everything and everyone is new. Our tip is to be yourself, and to be open and social. Try to get out of your comfort zone and join the virtual happy hours, the meditation sessions or organize a game night with your team! You can even take that initiative to learn a new technical skill or take on a new project.
How to become an intern at Major Tom
If you are interested in becoming an intern at Major Tom, our advice would be to constantly check out the Major Tom career page. The company hires winter and summer interns, so do look out for those postings. For more intern content, check out the Intern Takeover on the Major Tom Instagram page.
What I have is a malevolent curiosity - I do tend to take a different perspective.