There is a lot to be said for anyone who is merely surviving this year, whether that means you’ve been holed up alone in a closet-of-an-apartment in insert major metro area or you’ve found yourself back in your childhood bedroom in the same pair of sweatpants you’ve been wearing since March.
We all know it’s been an all-around rough one. So this must go at least doubly so for my fellow entry-level job-seekers who have the misfortune of attempting to enter and navigate the job market in one of the worst times in recent history.
I’ve been there (and still kind of am) so I’m feeling for you right now.
After college in 2018 I had begun working full-time at a big tech co. (rhymes with goober) in a sales role, and while I enjoyed my time there, I realized it wasn’t the best fit for my professional ambitions long-term, and that I wanted a career transition to something more in the realm of content marketing.
When COVID hit I found myself in the unconventional situation of being 22 years old, i.e. a normal-sounding age for entry-level roles, but having graduated from college 2 years prior, put me in a spot where I wasn’t eligible for many internships or entry-level positions in marketing based on technicalities for how long I’d been out of school. Major bummer.
Unemployment can be a wildly disorienting thing, especially if it’s your first time experiencing it. I was so disheartened by the constant roller coaster of feeling this wave of intense optimism while applying, putting a whole lot of hard work into something, and then the defeat of rejection. over. and over. and over again. It’s a major blow to one’s confidence and it’s honestly challenging to spin it any other way when you, personally, are going through it.
Fast forward eight months later and after spending what felt like a lifetime of scanning job boards, submitting countless resumes, and some extensive networking on LinkedIn and Twitter, I scored a content marketing gig at a tech startup that I was stoked on.
Expect cold feet for the first day (or week or month) of remote interning
Immediately after the high of receiving a job offer or internship wears off, the nerves start to kick in. I’m realizing life can be annoying like that. I’m appreciating more and more the importance of finding my intrinsic peace and separating that from my professional achievements because relying on circumstances to bring you that can be pretty exhausting. (But I digress).
I probably don’t have to tell you that imposter syndrome is very much a real thing, even for the most junior of roles. In a best-case scenario, you’re going to be a little intimidated at first to speak up in a meeting or when conveying a new creative idea. You want to gain credibility without coming across as overzealous or annoying. It can feel like a delicate balance.
In a normal year, I would have at least taken solace in knowing that as an outgoing person I would have soon been able to begin to get over those early day jitters once I began to engage with my coworkers. Being able to joke around with your new boss face-to-face, or ask someone in another department a quick logistical question, are remarkably valuable experiences in becoming acclimated to a new workplace and a new setting.
And I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to be convinced otherwise.
A feeling of belonging in an environment with concrete accountability and camaraderie is something I’ve always heavily relied on- and now I found myself starting my first day of a new work experience, isolated in my parents’ poorly lit basement in Kentucky. I wanted to be able to make an early impact and prove myself to my new team, but I feared the difference in time zones and the potential of miscommunication when messaging online making that a tall order.
CloudApp was my WFH saving grace
One of the first tools that I noticed immediately easing my mind about a lot of these remote from work “inconveniences” was CloudApp. It’s quite a nifty tool and now that I’ve become hooked on using it, I’m honestly not sure how anyone is getting by working from home without it. It’s advertised mainly as being a screenshot and screen recorder tool, but that’s only scratching the surface of how I’ve been able to use it as someone interning from home.
If you’re a rookie to the professional world and not a tech pro, it’s crucial that the tools you’re utilizing have an intuitive interface and be quick to use; that is, after all, the point of using the tool in the first place. I’ve worked at places where I felt like I’d spend more time trying to figure out how to work a series of productivity tools than I would have just attempting to accomplish the task without it.
That, fortunately, was not my experience with the CloudApp screen recorder. After watching the quick 3-minute demo I felt ready to dive right in, and immediately saw the benefits of what it could do as far as increasing the efficiency of communication between myself and my new colleagues.
Options on Options
When you open up CloudApp and select the “record” button, you are brought to a window displaying some fairly extensive preferences, something historically lacking from most screen recorders. You have the option to select if your whole screen is being recorded or if you’d like to select a specific region to be recorded, all just with a quick drag and drop. This can be great if you want to hone in on some specific detailed process on your screen, or if you just don’t want your boss to see all of your Twitter and CNN tabs open up top while you’re on the clock. Either way, a very nice feature.
The next setting option gives you the choice of selecting whether your screen alone is being shared, or if you want to screen record while using your webcam. Now, I’m personally not super well-versed in other similar tools, but this seemed like a major upside for CloudApp. Being able to record me explaining a process or give a creative pitch while demonstrating something on my own screen was a game-changer- and not to mention a major confidence boost for me as someone wanting to communicate effectively with people I’d never met in real life before.
This really humanized the e-communication process and I felt so much more adept at clearly and concisely explaining my thought process to my boss. It’s just so easy for nuance and tone to be miscommunicated or misinterpreted while messaging solely through Slack or email. This was a surprisingly refreshing way to communicate and I can’t overstate how beneficial this was for me, especially in the early days when I was trying to gain a little confidence.
Nailing the first impression
We all want to put our best foot forward, especially if you’re an intern hoping to get a contract extension or maybe even a full-time offer. This is where the start-and-pause feature and having the ability to edit after the recording comes in. You know how Zoom has the video setting where you can “touch up your appearance?” CloudApp is basically that but for explaining your thoughts.
If while recording your screen you wish to take a few seconds to transition to a new screen or get a thought together, select the pause option until you’re ready to continue your recording. If after watching your recording you realize you misspoke or want to delete an awkward pause, you can simply edit it out after the fact. A great perk for those of us Gen-Zers with commitment issues.
There are a whole slew of other things I appreciate about CloudApp’s screen recorder- you can choose to record your screen without audio or make a GIF for a short demonstration or if speaking isn’t necessary or you’re not feeling particularly articulate that day. You can increase or decrease the size of your webcam bubble and move around where it’s located on the screen (If I didn’t have time to put on some makeup that day I keep it on the smaller side).
The customization options are the core of what made CloudApp a phenomenal remote working tool. By giving you so much autonomy in how you communicate with your team, you can do whatever makes the most sense for each specific instance. Virtual communication isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Not every ounce of feedback requires a scheduled meeting, you don’t always need to speak with a visual- and now, thanks to CloudApp, I feel like I have these capabilities.
Sharing your CloudApp recording couldn’t be much easier. Upon completion of your screen recording, you are automatically presented with a link you can copy, or you can download the clip as an MP4 and share it that way. If you’re an intern like me, who is worried about bothering your boss for every quick question or intimidated to put time into that busy guy in the SEO department’s calendar to go over something you might feel self-conscious about asking in the first place, having this option feels like such a relief. You know they can watch your clip on their own time and then get back to you. In a lot of ways I like to think of CloudApp as a “get out of jail free card” but for meetings. I’ve yet to come across a time where someone I was collaborating with was bummed to hear that a meeting was canceled in lieu of me sending over a 5-minute screen recording that is just as effective. A win-win for all parties involved.
I’m not going to pretend CloudApp has solved all of my problems while interning remotely. I still have days where I wish I could plan a cool work outfit or where my self-doubt kicks in as I wonder if I’m contributing as much as I would have had I met my team in person on day 1. But “what if” thinking honestly isn’t productive for me and we roll with the punches here. We adapt. We overcome. We improvise. And for me, part of the strategy is using CloudApp.
When interning from home it’s important that you’re setting yourself up for success in every way possible. Control what you can. Every little bit of help can play a crucial role in the impression you’re making as a remote intern. The CloudApp screen recorder gave me some confidence in the early days of my new role and I’m sure it will do the same for you. But, just as a reminder, I am just an intern figuring all of this out too, so you don’t have to take my word for it. Try CloudApp out for yourself today (for free) and see what it can do for you. Good luck and Godspeed my fellow interns. You’ve got this.