Nowadays there are a lot of opportunities for students and literally, everyone to develop some skills, gain professional experience in your career goals and succeed in every sphere in your life. The Internet and its possibilities help in this area. You can find almost everything you need online. That is why it is essential to build your online presence and to understand how you can gain benefits from all of the opportunities which are laying in front of you. And let me tell you, that there are a lot of them, but some people can skip them unintentionally while focusing on real-world experience, which is not quite right. Of course, it is very important to gain real-world experience, but you also should give remote work a chance.
What is an internship?
An internship is a way of learning professional skills directly at the workplace, subject to the prescribed procedure. It is also a great opportunity for college students and young professionals to gain precious work experience. Usually, when it comes to internships, the first thing that comes to people’s minds is that it is a good opportunity to earn a little money. However, unpaid internships can give you even more value in terms of foresight.
Why is it important?
Internships are designed to give graduates something to offer employers after university. It is a good opportunity to get in touch with professional people and learn from their experiences. The tasks may not be the most difficult, but they are important and necessary, especially when you do not have any practical knowledge behind you. Also, an internship will help you understand whether the company suits your culture, pace, and objectives.
Some people also move to remote work, changing the field of work completely. In this case, an internship is a great way to gain practical knowledge in a new profession.
What is a virtual internship?
Virtual internships are part-time positions that allow individuals to gain professional skills without being present in a physical place of employment. They are very popular since the rapid growth of technology has made them an unusual type of internship.
Are online internships as respected as in-person ones?
Don’t think that virtual internships are anything insignificant compared to normal internships. Virtual internships are not only offered by small companies or start-ups, but also by large global companies and corporations. Many organizations want foreign interns in their ranks, but due to visa difficulties or lack of funding, they are often unable to invite foreigners to work.
However, you should realize that virtual internships are not a carefree pastime that will definitely get you a reference for your CV. The programs usually involve a tutor and/or mentor supervising the online internship. You have to be as organized as possible, have strong communication skills, self-motivation, and time management skills, take part in many interactive activities, complete assignments, and plan and carry out individual or team projects.
With the advent of COVID-19, many students’ plans for internships both at home and abroad were put on hold, and since then the dilemma has arisen of how to develop your career while staying at home. One of the biggest ways to do this is through virtual internships because they can give you valuable work experience while staying safe at home.
Types of remote internships
The range of virtual internships is wide: from IT and technical professions to art and design-related specializations. The obvious and most important advantage of online internships is that interns do not have to spend time, money, and effort on a visa and traveling to another country. In addition, the trainee can combine the internship with his or her university studies.
Virtual internship programs can be chosen geographically or professionally. For example, if a student is interested in a particular country, with plans to study or work in that country, the adviser will choose among companies operating in that country. If the student is planning to move to that country in the future, this way he or she will be prepared, get work experience, understand the specifics of the culture and interpersonal relations in that country.
A virtual intern can also choose online internships, focusing on his or her field of work, for example – Business, Law, Recruitment and Human Resources, Computer Science and Information Technology, Finance, Tourism, and Event Management, Logistics, Urban planning and architecture, Creativity, Design and Fashion, Media, Communication and Publishing, Marketing, Game Design, Engineering, etc.
How long does a virtual internship last?
It usually takes an average of 2-3 weeks to find virtual internship programs and the selection procedure. The minimum length of such an internship is 8 weeks. On average, virtual internships last 2-3 months and take place throughout the year.
How does a remote internship work?
Talking about both – virtual internships and offline ones, you can intern in the office or remotely. Workloads range from a few hours to full-time. Summer internships often involve full-time office work. If you are just starting out, it is worth looking at short-term internships to try out a new field, see if the specialty suits you or not, and gain experience that you can put on your CV. And only after you have decided on a position you are interested in can you consider start-up positions in companies and long-term internships, whether it is a traditional internship or an online one.
A standard virtual internship involves several steps:
- Search for internship programs on different special platforms or companies’ sites
- Competitive selection process among all potential interns
- Interview with all participants
- The remote internship
Internships teach a holistic approach to the profession. They teach university students the basics. First of all, to work in a team on real projects, to communicate competently, and think bigger and more open-minded. This is very important, especially in the early stages of a career.
Where can I find a remote internship?
There are a lot of ways to find out about multiple internships you can participate in online, and gain valuable experience in any career field. The first thing that comes to every person’s mind – is to go to Google and simply search for the needed information. And to be honest this is the right thing to do. To understand how all of this works and be sure if this type of way of gaining professional experience suits you – it is always better to take your time and research the topic of virtual internships worth yourself.
Once you go to Google for job-hunting you can notice that there are special sites, which contain a lot of offers for internships, whether it is online or offline. For example, you can find a lot of offers at such job boards as Linkedin, We Work Remotely, or Erasmus Intern. Or, If you already know at what company you would like to spend your internship and maybe work in the future, you can try to search for remote internships offered directly by companies at their sites.
About the benefits of online internship
Virtual internships allow students to work from anywhere, even while they’re in school. They can do the job as long as they follow deadlines and are self-motivated. This is a great opportunity for people who are already working towards a career in the field.
- If you are just starting out on your career path, a virtual internship offers several benefits at once:
- An understanding of your chosen industry, the pace of work, and real-world challenges. The opportunity to see how a successful company lives and thinks.
- Starting work experience for your CV.
- An opportunity to network and meet experienced market professionals. There is always a chance you could be recommended to other companies.
- A refresher in core professional skills and soft skills.
More about the challenges of remote working
Remote working is great for improving communication and time management, but it also has its own disadvantages. Some of these include the absence of social events and the lack of control over time. It has been mentioned before, but you need to understand that the worth of your virtual internship truly depends on you and your ability to manage your time properly.
While virtual internships are beneficial for developing some skills on your own rhythm, they can also be a bit challenging to manage due to the absence of certain office rules and regulations. Aside from these, virtual internships also have various advantages that make them different from traditional ones, all of these disadvantages are outweighed by the many benefits of virtual internships worth.
Do you need to have a visa?
Virtual internships don’t require you to live in the country where the employer is located. However, make sure that you finish your internship in a language that you feel good in. This will help in perfecting the language.
Will you get paid?
Even though many companies pay for virtual internships, some start-up organizations and non-profit groups may not be able to afford them. This is because traditional expenses such as rent and commute may not be an issue for students.
The internship will be different in each field, whether it is online or offline, but the main aim is to immerse the trainee in work processes and practice practical skills. For student internships, companies are looking for undergraduates, but in any case, it is important to successfully pass the entrance test.
- Where to look for internships: Websites of companies you want to get into, thematic internship sites, LinkedIn, ERASMUSINTERN, Google, etc.
- It is important to choose proven and good companies where people can really explain incomprehensible things, instead of putting all the pressure on the trainee.
- It is okay to accept unpaid internships, remember that the experience you’ll get is way more important for you at the moment.
- If you are not offered a job after an internship, don’t feel bad. Either way, it’s experience and an extra item on your CV.
Are online internships the new way to gain experience?
Yes, it is! Nowadays there are so many opportunities that are literally laying in front of all the students to make their career path more successful and simple. All you need to do is to give it a chance and start working on your goals right now!