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Virtual internships. They’re the bee’s knees, the cat’s pajamas, and the tiger’s spots. Virtual internships are not always considered by students or employers, but the obvious benefit is that it allows interns to work from anywhere. Interns who work remotely could be ideal for organizations that may not have the office space or personnel need for supervision.

What’s not to love? Some advantages of virtual internships include: flexibility, less limitations and more opportunities, and the chance to find a field which best suits you. If you’re a student interested in an internship, virtual gigs are perfect for someone with a part-time job, classes, or other obligations. Virtual internships give you flexibility to do your work when you want—as long as you know how to manage your time and are self-motivated. These internships may even save you money. You don’t have to dress up for work or use precious gas to commute. You get all the perks of an internship, such as building a network, updating your own portfolio, and building your resume all from your own couch.

I am not the only person who likes the idea of virtual internships.  USA Today and The Intern Queen are in agreement. For example, Ashley Moncrieffe posted on The Intern Queen’s blog that her virtual internship had “endless opportunities for growth, creativity, and individuality.”

The best news of all? Virtual internships still count for the essential experience internships provide students. The overall conversion rate for turning interns into full-time hires has hit an all-time high at 58.6% (NACE Research 2012). Just like any work opportunity, virtual internships take commitment. A virtual internship has its own set of challenges including:

  • Being clear on your requirements and expectations
  • Organizing your personal and professional tasks
  • Communicating with your boss
  • Maintaining professionalism—even on a phone call or within an email

Give it a try—create a network of references, enhance your portfolio, and save money. Indiana INTERNnet’s database has virtual internship postings, as well as more information about virtual internships in Indiana. Don’t let time or distance stop you from the internship of your dreams.

Would you consider a virtual internship, or have you had one? If so, please share your experience in the comments section.

About Megan

Megan Schuman is an intern for Indiana INTERNnet in the summer of 2012. She is currently a junior at DePauw University.You can contact her at mschuman@indianachamber.com
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