No matter what situation you’re in right now, some aspect of your work life has been altered by COVID-19. Although I was supposed to be in Detroit this summer as Franco’s intern, I was still able to serve in this role virtually. In fact, I’m Franco’s first virtual summer intern! My name is Nicole Blair, and I’m going to be a senior this upcoming fall at Michigan State University where I am pursuing a major in marketing.

Lessons Learned During My Virtual Internship

This has been a learning opportunity of a lifetime. I reflected on the past few months to share my key takeaways from my experience at Franco:

Culture is Important

When starting a job, it’s strange to think you’re going to spend the entire summer working with people you have never met in-person. However, from the first day, I felt incredibly welcomed by all the other employees at Franco. They all made an effort to get to know me and what I’m interested in, and they had a genuine eagerness to help me learn and grow. There was a true effort by the Franco team to get to know my goals, learn my strengths and give me feedback about areas of improvement.

The way the Franco family works as a collaborative team gave me insights on what I see myself doing in the future and the kind of team I want to be part of. Franco is a proactive and progressive team that doesn’t just adapt to changes but takes advantage of them and finds new opportunities. This was something that became prevalent to me throughout my internship and is something I truly would never have learned if there wasn’t a global pandemic.

Company culture is something I and many others see as an important factor when choosing a job. If a company makes you feel welcomed, included and invested in during an all virtual work environment, just imagine the in-person experience. No matter what you end up doing or the circumstance you find yourself in, take advantage of it, and find those learning opportunities.

Pivoting Integrated Communications is Possible

In March, workplaces started moving their employees to the virtual environment and media content started shifting to one thing and one thing only: COVID-19. Every account I was able to work on this summer addressed how their business was pivoting amid the global pandemic.

Shifting entire integrated communications strategies as the COVID-19 crisis went on is an experience I would have never gained if it wasn’t for my internship at Franco this summer. What I most enjoyed about this was embracing new ideas and emerging markets. Placing high importance on companies’ needs for integrated communications and how exactly to adjust to ever-changing circumstances has been a true area of growth and learning for me.

Tips to Make Your Virtual Internship Successful

If you’re a virtual intern now or will be entering the virtual workforce soon, I want to share some ways to ensure a successful virtual experience.

Evaluate the Opportunities You Have

Any internship you have, in any industry, offers you an opportunity, so now you must ask yourself what these opportunities are and how to take advantage of them.

Look at the opportunities this role has provided for you. Maybe they are due to this virtual environment, or maybe not. Regardless, internships provide great insight into what you see yourself doing in the future. Is the thing you saw yourself enjoying the most at the beginning of the internship the same thing you most enjoy at the end of your experience? This is an opportunity to figure out what you enjoy doing, so take time and evaluate these opportunities.

Reflect on Your Projects and Experiences

The projects you are assigned throughout your internship are great ways to figure out what kind of work you do enjoy doing. What does your daily workload look like and do you enjoy the work you’re doing? Reflect on this throughout your internship and then communicate. Take initiative and communicate with your team about wanting more specific tasks and projects that you’re passionate about.

Embrace the Culture

If you’re like me, culture is crucial when choosing a job. In this virtual environment, company culture is more prevalent than ever. If you can see and feel the warm welcoming culture virtually, that means it’s just as strong in-person. How is your company adapting to new changes? Are they taking advantage of a changing marketplace or are they slow and resistant to change? Look for a culture that aligns with your values.

Franco has allowed me to grow and learn these past few months more than I ever expected. Adjusting to a virtual internship among a global crisis has prepared me for my senior year and beyond. The Franco team works together to empower one another, and I feel lucky to have been part of this team.

Learn more about joining the Franco team.

Nicole Blair was a PR coordinator at Franco the summer of 2020.