Work experience is always a great thing to have on your CV. But did you know there are ways to get it without leaving the house? This is where the virtual internship comes in. The good news is that an increasing number of employers are offering these in response to the global pandemic, so now’s the perfect time to try one out! Need more convincing? Let us run you through some of the benefits of virtual internships.
What are virtual internships?
Before we get stuck in, let’s just make it clear what virtual internships are. Basically, they’re very similar to traditional in-person internships in the fact that they are a chance to gain work experience with an organisation. However, as it says in the name, you won’t have to physically go into a workplace for these. You can complete a virtual internship remotely – you’ll be able to communicate with your employer, submit assignments and perform duties using nothing but a laptop and the internet in most cases.
There are different types of virtual internships, so make sure to read the job descriptions to see what will be expected of you. For some internship programmes, you will be working on real-life projects for an organisation, whereas some programmes involve a series of tasks that are designed to simulate the real-world experience of work instead.
So let’s take a look at the benefits, shall we?
They’re more accessible
As you can complete a virtual internship from the comfort of your own desk/settee/bed, it means that you can still get experience without physical or geographical barriers getting in the way.
They’ll help you save your money and time
Hate commuting? Then you’ll love virtual internships. You won’t be expected to travel or relocate to complete one, which means you’ll save money on rent and travel costs. Think of all the extra time you’ll also have which you can instead spend on doing something fun like revamping your island on Animal Crossing.
You’ll be able to widen your search
A huge benefit of virtual internships is that you can do them anywhere in the world – without having to travel! This means you don’t have to be restricted to just looking at opportunities with local employers, which is probably the case when you’re applying for physical opportunities. Instead, you could be working for an international organisation which will help you connect with people from all around the globe.
Your schedule can be flexible
We get it, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You might be juggling your studies along with various other responsibilities, while still trying to fit in some self-care. The beauty of virtual internships though is that you don’t have to work to a set schedule like you would in the office. As long as you complete the tasks you’ve been assigned, you can usually fit them around your other commitments.
You’ll develop lots of shiny new skills
Depending on the type of internship you do, you’ll gain lots of experience and skills that are specific to that type of role or industry. However, you’ll also come away with heaps of handy soft skills such as time management, organisation, adaptability and self-discipline as you’ll need to utilise all of these to complete your work in a remote setting.
You’ll improve your technical skills and gain experience of remote working
Even though you may only be working on your laptop, you will probably be required to work via a variety of platforms such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and email which will help you to hone your digital communication skills. You might also experience video tutorials, virtual networking sessions, training courses through an e-learning platform and online social events. These will all be beneficial for the workplace.
This experience will also help you to learn how to be productive and hard-working from afar which will be extremely useful, particularly as some organisations may be looking to introduce more remote working opportunities as a result of the pandemic.
They’re a chance to explore a certain industry/role/organisation
Virtual internships are a brilliant way to get a sneak-peak at a particular company to see if it – or even the industry itself – is one you want to pursue a career in. You could look for an internship within a sector you’ve already been considering or try something completely different – you never know, it may end up altering your career path for the better!
They’ll give your CV a boost
As well as all the lovely new skills you’ll be able to add to your CV, you’ll also be able to add the experience itself to it – which is especially important at the moment. We’re increasingly getting feedback that employers are asking candidates in interviews about what they’ve done to enhance their employability during lockdown. If you complete a virtual internship, it will demonstrate your initiative, motivation and commitment to developing yourself which will go down well with employers.
Hopefully you are now itching to go out and get a virtual internship. Well, if you take a look at this blog post we prepared earlier, you’ll find a list of websites you can use to search for opportunities. We think of everything, don’t we?
Written by Jodie Carpenter, Careers and Placements.