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Virtual internship: 7 benefits for your career

virtual internship

Internships offer a wealth of opportunities and experiences early in your career. Being an intern provides you with a chance to practice what you’ve learned in a physical or virtual work environment.

Virtual internships are not a new concept. But technology accessibility, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, make them a suitable option nowadays. Effective programs combine learning, training, mentoring, and networking.

Here are a few benefits you’ll likely encounter during your virtual internship experience.

1. Take Advantage of Flexibility

Virtual internships solve scheduling issues facing students. Calendars quickly fill up with classes, extra-curricular activities, family obligations, and jobs. Many college students juggle employment and studies at the same time.

The National Center for Education Statistics notes that in 2018, 43 per cent of full-time undergraduate students worked while enrolled.

When you intern remotely, you can often work at your convenience. You just need to log the requisite number of hours per day or for the project.

Instead of a strict Monday-to-Friday schedule, you can choose to utilise your free time and weekends for the internship.

2. Practice Your Communication Skills

Scheduling conflicts and lack of in-person interaction emphasise the need for regular and effective communication.

The virtual environment is very different from the face-to-face environment. So, you will have to master the art of conversation and negotiation digitally.

  • Emails: How do you put your intentions into words? How do you follow up on requests firmly and politely? How do you write a professional response when you are angry?
  • Video conferencing: How do you remain focused while others are speaking? How do you voice out your concerns and suggestions? How do you appear professional on video?

3. Widen Your World and Connections

If you want to explore international companies or organisations, a virtual internship is a great option. It eliminates the usual concerns, such as commuting and limiting your choices because of location.

Aside from work itself, you can build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

Establishing networks is not just for business-minded individuals but for anyone keen on building a successful career.

People you meet at work and school can help you out in the future, and vice versa.

4. Prepare for the Future of Work

It appears the option to work remotely is here to stay. Due to the necessity amid the pandemic, businesses have recognised that the arrangement can work.

Twitter, for one, has expressed openness to employees wanting to work from home permanently.

Your virtual internship prepares for telecommuting and other flexible working arrangements in the future.

Being able to work with technology, as well as tools for project management and productivity, is a must these days.

Plus, you’ll already know what to do if technical issues threaten to disrupt your workflow.

5. Develop How You Work

The flexibility afforded by a virtual internship is not without responsibility. You still need to report to your supervisor, meet project deadlines, collaborate with others, and remain productive while working independently.

Accountability, self-discipline, time management, patience, resourcefulness, and proactiveness are among the values needed for this setup to work. These will also become the foundation of your work ethics moving forward.

6. Discover Where You Want to Go

Interning helps you figure out a lot of things. Do you want to pursue a career in your field of study, develop a specialisation, or explore other paths? Are you productive working from home, or do you like the energy of working in an office?

From business to fashion, virtual internships give you a taste of a practitioner’s work. As an intern, you will experience first-hand the exciting and mundane aspects of the profession.

And work with other teams or departments may spark newfound interests.

7. Enhance Your Employability

As designed, a virtual internship lets you apply what you learned in school to a workplace setting. It constitutes experience, a premium when you look for employment after graduation.

For some colleges, internships are integrated into the curriculum and are required.

Besides experiences, you gain skills and develop qualities from being an intern. Transferable skills, or soft skills, are advantageous because they are relevant regardless of the job, employer, or industry.

You’ll grow in teamwork, leadership, communication, listening, decision making, and problem-solving. And that’s just to name a few.

Work anytime, anywhere. Discover your passion and connect with people from all over the world.

At the same time, increase your employability and future success. For your resume and personal goals, a virtual internship is worth pursuing.

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Aubrey i​s a writer and a regular contributor. She writes on topics on job searching and career development in hopes to provide better tips on job hunting and career development.

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