Confirming the viability of virtual internships

January 31, 2012 at 8:35 am | Posted in Enlarging internship programs | 1 Comment
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Coach Susan Sandberg

Susan Sandberg

Intern Profits, a service of Efficient Enterprises, Inc., just released an industry White Paper exploring the viability of virtual internships. The document, entitled: “A White Paper: The Case For Virtual Internships,” addresses the pros and cons of virtual internships, the types of internships best suited for virtual internships, and how to make a virtual internship effective for all parties, including the employer, intern and colleges and universities.  Virtual internships may be the answer for students who are knocking at your office door, wanting an internship now.

The following tips will help your students have a successful virtual internship experience:

  • Why virtual internships:  “Virtual internships are an innovative new approach to career development that benefits both employers and students trying to juggle school, an internship, and other obligations. This white paper offers, in detail, a look at the importance of virtual internships, and combined with other resources, presents a great background for employers looking to hire students to work virtually,” said Yair Riemer, Vice President Global Marketing,
  • Application process:  The most common virtual internships are in information technology, software development, research, sales, marketing, blogging, and social media. Companies are looking for self-reliant, self-starters who are comfortable with Web conferences, emails, and phone calls.  The process to apply for a virtual internship is the same as for a traditional one—send a resume and a cover letter and participate in a phone interview. As a career services professional, you might do some role playing with students to prepare for phone interviews.
  • Questions:  Students applying for virtual internships should ask the following questions:
    • 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?
    • How many hours a week are involved and for how long a period?
    • Will I get a letter of reference if I do a good job?
    • Could I view the work of former virtual interns?
  • Sample Virtual Internships:  If your students search for virtual marketing internships on, they’ll come up with 2,794 listings. For example, in North Bergen, NJ offers year-round virtual internships to assist in creation of signage, circulars, mock-ups, email campaigns, preparation of marketing materials and more. The internships are unpaid with college credit. Or they might like to go for the paid with college credit internship in Germany with nal von Minden, a health care services/supply company that is looking for students to take part in six-month internships. The company says its internships are not limited to marketing majors.

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  1. Being able to tap into a wider array of talent has been a direct result of forming a virtual internship program. More importantly, we’ve been able to offer students a wider variety of projects to work on, experience to gain, and networks to connect to as a result of the opportunities presented by the Braathe Enterprises Saratoga College Virtual Internship Program.

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