Virtual Internships: 8 Ways They Can Benefit You

For many college students, internships are coveted and hard-won. There is stiff competition, an array of challenging factors, and the desire to be the best possible candidate for the role. There is also the challenge of timing. Many students find that the best way to fit an internship into their schedule is to plan it for the summer. This provides about three months of time dedicated to learning the ins and outs of the company, while also allowing for the opportunity to network. However, one of the problems with this is that there are a limited number of summers available for college students to pursue internships. There is also the possibility that one may not even receive an offer for a summer internship. I have faced this problem myself, and, in this case, have chosen to work and gain fashion experience in the retail industry. However, I have recently discovered a way to combat the issue of time without forfeiting my grades or valuable work experience. Enter: the virtual internship.

 

Not many have heard of virtual internships before, and if they have, it is usually seen as a second option to what a “traditional” internship may offer. However, I have to disagree. I find that virtual internships offer students the flexibility needed during fall and spring semesters without casting their academics aside. Personally, I have found that there are more virtual fashion internships to apply to during the academic year because I do not need to leave UVA and my schedule is based on my availability outside of classes.

Virtual internships mainly consist of two things: location and scheduling. Here are some benefits of virtual internships!

  1. They allow students to intern from anywhere; there is no leaving the university in order to gain internship experience.
  2. Virtual internships can last longer than summer internships, thus allowing students to gain even more knowledge of the company and further their networking.
  3. The internship possibilities expand beyond the United States; I am currently interning with an Australian fashion company.
  4. You can intern more than once. Virtual internships allow you to intern during the fall, spring, and even summer months because they do not require you to relocate.
  5. While most virtual internship do not pay, some do! Because the companies do not require you to relocate, many do not offer a salary for the hours spent each week. However, you can most likely receive credit from your university for completing the internship, which is extra credit in your back pocket!
  6. Your skills will grow! Many virtual internships will increase skills you already have, but also introduce you to new ones that can be completed using your computer.
  7. You can try out different areas. Because you have more time with a virtual internship, you can test out different interests. Some of the areas you will find include, but are not limited to: Sales, Marketing, Social Media, PR, E-commerce, etc.
  8. You don’t have to get coffee for anyone except yourself! A nice thing about virtual internships is no coffee runs, which is a downside some interns face with “traditional” internships.

So, knowing these benefits, I encourage you to broaden your understanding of internships and explore the vast options of virtual ones. Check with your university to see if they offer virtual internships through your Career Center, or maybe even within a specific department. Communicate with alumni to see what types of skills they are recruiting in their field today and see if you can gain them through a virtual internship. Overall, I hope you find a virtual internship that suits you and your goals!