Virtual Internships: Intern Wherever You Are

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In my meetings with students this semester, I have been talking more and more about virtual internships. In part, this was sparked by Alysondra’s posts this summer. Her positive experience makes it easy to advocate for students’ in certain situations to consider it. For some, a virtual internship would fit perfectly with their career aspirations (think PR/social media work and writing). For others, a virtual opportunity might be the key to having an internship period. No matter your situation, I would begin including virtual internships into your search.

What IS a Virtual Internship?

A virtual internship is an internship experience which allows you to work for organizations all around the country from the comfort of home or your college campus. They have become very popular with smaller organizations and start-ups, especially those that revolve around technology. Thanks to some of that same technology, you may never have a need to set foot into the physical workspace of the employer. Virtual internships are ideal in the following fields:

  • Technology
  • Business
  • Journalism
  • PR/Social Media

Think about the things you need in order to accomplish most work-related projects and tasks: a phone, a computer, email, and the internet. These are all things you have right at your fingertips where you live or go to school.

How to Find a Virtual Internship

Finding a virtual internship is simple – Do the same things you are already doing to find an on-site internship. Online, some job boards are specializing in virtual internships. One such site is YouTern. YouTern focuses on internships with start-ups, and many of the opportunities posted are virtual. In fact, you can select your preference for virtual/telecommuting positions in their Advanced Search feature.

In addition to your online search, be proactive. Reach out to organizations you are interested in working with and ask about the possibility of a virtual internship. Even though they have been around for awhile, virtual internships are only now becoming more common. It’s understandable if an organization has not thought about it as an option. Bring up the possibility of virtual work for an existing opportunity or include the virtual element in an internship proposal.

There are other matters to discuss in the realm of virtual internships, but I’ll save those issues for a future post. In the meantime, consider adding virtual opportunities into your search. You never know what great positions you’ll uncover.

Photo by Johan Larsson