Alysondra Milano is a Communications/Public Relations Major with a minor in Advertising at UW-Whitewater. She is active on campus through her role as President of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and through her job in the Global Business Resource Center. Alysondra will be graduating in May 2012.
Virtual internships are still foreign to most people. When I tell people that my internship is virtual and that I have never physically met my boss, it can be confusing. Some people even think that I made it up! To share my advice, I must also share the experiences that I have had as a virtual intern.
I am a virtual intern for a nonprofit called Time at the Table. The main focus is to promote healthy eating to families and to reconnect them around the dinner table. It’s all about bringing them together in conversation to make stronger, healthier lives for all of the families that we are able to touch. They have major presence in Brooklyn and in a town in South Dakota.
What is my role in this? I run their social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. I write newsletters, put together press releases, send out texts via an automated text messaging service, and help to monitor the website. The best part? I can do this all from home. There is no need for me to physically commute since everything can be done from my laptop and shared with my boss through emails.
That is the only different between a virtual and a “traditional” internship. I could drive to a building, work on a computer there, and then drive home. My other option is to stay home and save myself some gas money while helping out a cause that I otherwise would not be able to because I cannot drive to Brooklyn to sit and be online in their offices. The choice for me was obvious. Virtual internships benefit the organization because they do not have to have all local talent. Time at the Table has interns everywhere from Florida to Wisconsin who are motivated and good at what they do. We are all able to work together with the use of technology. We have Skype meetings every other week so that we can all relay what we have been working on and make sure we are meeting deadlines.
Virtual internships still require a lot of work. You have to have discipline to stick to your schedule and get your work out on time. I chose to be a virtual intern because of the flexibility it allows me to have. I do not have to commute anywhere so it is saving me money while I learn the skills that I would learn in any other office. Independence is another perk of the virtual realm as I can go online whenever I choose. And I can’t lie – not having to dress up every day for work is a definite perk that I am taking full advantage of!
Next week, meet Gabby Fenzel in the 2011 Confessions of a Summer Intern series!