Helping your students find virtual internships

January 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What do you tell your students who worry they can’t get an internship because:

  • it’s too late to apply for the spring semester
  • they can’t afford an internship in New York City because of living expenses
  • they have to work to pay tuition and can’t work in an office during traditional hours

The perfect solution is virtual internships, which can be undertaken from anywhere with an Internet connection. Virtual internships enable students to sample different fields while still going to classes and working. More and more employers—especially small to midsize ones—offer virtual internships because they have a larger pool of talented candidates, and they save money on office overhead.

The most common virtual internships are in information technology (IT), software development, research, sales, marketing, blogging, and social media. Companies want self-reliant, self-starters who are comfortable with web conferences, emails, and phone calls. Many traditional internship sites are potential virtual internship sites, too–if your students just ask! When applying for a virtual internship, here are some questions for your students to ask:

  • How much mentoring and feedback will I receive?
  • Who is my key point of contact and how often do we make contact?
  • What is the type of work and what are the expectations?
  • Will I receive payment or college credit?  Will I get a letter of reference?
  • How many hours a week are involved and for how long a period?
  • Could I view the work of former virtual interns?

Virtual internships in all fields can give students multiple opportunities for career-related experiences—and can add experience and skills to strengthen their resume.  They also allow a student to develop time-management skills and autonomy in their work.  While they may not allow for the same level of personal bonding and mentorship, virtual internships can provide the flexibility of working for a great employer while still maintaining a traditional schedule of work and/or classes.


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