Costs, Benefits of Virtual Internships

Chances are, you’ve heard about virtual internships—but have any of you actually been a virtual intern? (I’m guessing no, but if the answer is yes, please leave a comment below, and tell us about your experience!) Personally, I was never a virtual intern, but I’ve had friends with great virtual internship stories to share, so I thought I’d do a little research and explain to you what I’ve learned.

Both The Wall Street Journal and USA Today recently covered the increasing popularity of virtual internships—specifically opportunities with start-up companies, which are more likely to be found on the coasts and in Silicon Valley. The articles indicate, as a result of the struggling economy, the job market is extremely competitive. Therefore, completing internships—virtual or in-person—is more important than ever. In addition, companies are trying to find ways to reduce their costs, so having a virtual intern is a win-win for both employers and students alike.

If you’re considering a virtual internship, remember its costs and benefits to determine whether the position it the “right fit” for you. For example, scheduling around classes and extra-curricular activities can be difficult, and a virtual internship allows for greater flexibility. In addition, virtual internships often require less hours per week, which could be a benefit to your schedule but a detriment to your checking account!

If you are a “go-getter,” you’ll have to remember a virtual internship should have personal and professional boundaries, as well. For some people, it’s easy to stay up working until the wee hours of the morning, while others may have a difficult time getting motivated to begin virtual work. Before you apply for any virtual internships, do a self-assessment to see if it’s the “right fit” for you.

Now that I’ve shared with you some virtual internship tips, you’re probably wondering where you could find one. There are several Web-based internship boards that post both traditional and virtual internships, including yours truly—IndianaINTERN.net. If you’re looking outside the Hoosier state, check out Intern Queen, YouTern, Internships.com, and Intern Web for more options.

What’s your opinion on virtual internships?

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