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In the June INTERNnetwork, we included an article about virtual internships, working for an organization outside of an organization’s office. Although there are benefits of being a virtual intern (no office commute, flexible work schedule, no dress code, more personal freedom, etc.), not every student can excel as a virtual intern.

Before you apply for a virtual internship, consider these questions:

– Do you have previous internship experience in an office setting?
– Are you interested in working for a web-based organization?
– Are you interested in electronic outreach, including email pitching and social media communication?
– Are you self-motivated?
– Are you independent enough to work with minimal supervision?
– Are you technology savvy?
– Are you able to meet important deadlines?

A virtual internship may be ideal for a student who may not have the opportunity or funds for a traditional internship far from home. For example, it is more convenient and less expensive for a student living in Arizona to be a virtual intern for a Communications agency in Chicago rather than traveling to New York for a traditional internship. For a student interested in working for a web-based organization, where most business is conducted through online media, a virtual internship may also be a greater learning experience than working in an office setting.

Although virtual internships may be more convenient and less expensive, do not discount the value of a traditional internship in an office setting where you will be exposed to a professional business environment and may have the guidance of a seasoned professional. If you are interested in completing a virtual internship, my advice would be to complete a traditional internship as well.

From a student perspective, what are your thoughts on virtual internships? Also, if you have had a virtual internship in the past, it would be great if you could share your story.

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