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Are you an employer low on office space? Do business nationally or internationally? Office located far away from major cities or college towns?

Are you a student with an academic course load that doesn’t lend itself to an office internship? Can’t find any internships near your campus?

If you answered “yes,” a virtual internship could be a great option for you. It’s a trend that is picking up steam because the benefits are numerous. In 2012, there were 58 new virtual internship positions posted to our website.

Virtual internships are a great way for employers to nurture talent in soon-to-be professionals and for students to secure full-time employment post-graduation. Take it from our friends at Ativio, an information technology and business process outsourcing solutions company in Indianapolis.

“We work in virtual environments all the time,” said Susan Nierste, vice president of business affairs. “We know what we need as a company from newly graduating students, and we make the effort to share that knowledge with the students to help build their résumés and skills.”

Ativio has hosted virtual interns since 2011. More than 500 students from the U.S., Africa and India have worked together virtually, including several from Indiana. In this internship program, Ativio begins reaching out to students by teaching a class on how to work within international virtual team environments at state universities, which can lead up to a paid internship working on approved client projects.

Ativio is a large global company, but virtual internships can work on a much smaller scale too. Any work that can be done on a computer with an internet connection could potentially become a virtual internship. This way, location is almost completely out of the equation in your search. If you’re a student in Evansville and you find a great virtual internship opportunity in South Bend, the distance barrier doesn’t exist.

The important thing to remember about a virtual internship is to treat it like a real internship. Communication is key. Setting goals and expectations is still important. Just because you aren’t face-to-face doesn’t make this any less of a professional experience.

There is so much potential for great work to come out of virtual internships. If we can help you set up a virtual internship, please contact Indiana INTERNnet Executive Director Janet Boston at 317-264-6862 or jboston@indianachamber.com.

If you have a virtual internship success story, please share it in the comment section below.

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