This guest blog was written by Kanika Supeyia.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has been a recent graduate’s worst nightmare. With businesses closing and limited jobs, there are very little opportunities being offered to new graduates looking to start their careers. Luckily for me, Byfield Consultancy, where I initially secured an internship in March 2020, not only postponed the internship to August 2020 but also accommodated me as a virtual/remote intern after returning home to Canada due to the pandemic.
My presence for the working day was via email, which was also the primary method of communication for any tasks, instructions, or co-ordination. While the traditional face to face introductions and orientation could not be carried out, I introduced myself to most members via zoom – a very lovely and warm experience and possibly less nerve-racking than in-person introductions as everyone was operating from the comfort of their own homes with a more casual mindset and atmosphere.
With little to no experience in this sector, Byfield has been my first stepping stone in the PR world. With an adequate amount of research done on the firm beforehand, I felt somewhat confident in what I could potentially offer. What truly strengthened my confidence, however, was the team. Working at Byfield is like working with a family. The immense amount of warmth and support the team members provide is unquantifiable. Unlike other intern experiences I have come across, I did not for a second feel incapable, lost, or rushed in any manner - a really big deal for someone who has no background in PR or media.
The various tasks assigned to me were; researching news hooks for social media accounts – such as twitter, creating media lists for clients using a database, consolidating research notes on various firms, and summarizing important articles/reports – to name a few. It is fair to say that I experienced and learned something new every day. This experience has really helped me understand the type of legal and litigation-related work Byfield does. It also exposed the various aspects a Law firm should consider to gain more recognition and growth virtually. In addition to this, the internship has also taught me how proactive and well-equipped a PR firm needs to be to ensure accuracy and efficiency. The work I assisted the account managers and executives only reflects how Byfield embodies these major skills to better serve their clients.
Apart from this, the shift to a virtual workspace has shifted my concerns like “what to wear?” to issues like - “is my wi-fi working?” or “is my laptop charged?!”. Because most of the work being virtual and online even in-person nowadays, I believe that being a virtual intern has not made much of a difference in the quality of work. The most I can imagine I have missed out on is the opportunity to witness or be a part of client meetings, firm culture, and other hands-on work there may be. I have nonetheless extracted many skills from being a virtual intern and would still recommend the position to others. I would love to work with the firm again in the near future and continue the learning experience.