At Start Me Up, we offer advice everything from nailing job interviews and applications, to upskilling. Find out more about our virtual internships here

 

The word ‘virtual’ has become part of our everyday vocabularies in the past few months.

From virtual meetings, to dates, to after-work drinks, almost everything has turned virtual. And internships are no aren’t one of the limited exception.s.

What is a virtual internship?

There’s no hidden meaning behind the term ‘virtual internship’. It’s quite literally an internship that you’ll complete virtually (from home, over the internet).

You won’t be commuting into an office and meeting your colleagues face-to-face. Instead, you can expect lots of meetings, Sslack communication, and self-motivation.

Both the rise of digital technology and the current pandemic have led to a #wfh (work from home) culture. It’s become the norm. Society has got used to Zoom meetings and only being dressed appropriately from the waist up.

This has led to more virtual internships being available than ever. Companies such as Start Me Up have been offering virtual internships for years, but many more companies have jumped on the bandwagon as access to the office has become restricted.

Completing your internship virtually isn’t going to stop you from gaining the skills you need, so what’s stopping you?

Virtual internships allow you to enhance your employability, learn new skills and access international opportunities – from anywhere.

Think about it. Before the rise of virtual internships and remote working, if you wanted to work for a coral reef conservation charity in Bali or a Silicon Valley tech startup, you had to be in either of those locations. This would mean visas, incurring the cost of flying to the other side of the world.

In the world of virtual internships, there are no such considerations. You are free to intern for any organization – absolutely anywhere in the world (without moving a muscle).

As with regular in-person internships, virtual internships can result in a paid job. At Start Me Up, we’ve seen lots of our program alumni land paid remote jobs as a result of taking part in our program.

You still get a chance to learn from more experienced peers
Just because you aren’t sitting next to your colleagues doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. The move to remote work has forced more companies to invest in producing documentation and training that can be accessed from anywhere. During your internship you’ll also get a chance to take part in calls and meetings (as you would if you were interning in an office).

You’ll boost your connections

You can make connections now, for life with people, anywhere in the world.

It’s highly likely that you’ll chat to other employees on Slack and in meetings, and you’ll get to know them well (albeit virtually).

You should connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn and widen your network. Having more connections is a display of your experience, and you also never know when opportunities might arise.

It’s highly likely that companies will offer networking and socialising opportunities and you should always take them with both hands. Be sure to take part in virtual events and make the most out of your experience.

You’ll enhance your resume

Do you need to gain relevant skills that’ll help you get into the career you want to?

There are virtual internships available in every conceivable sector. Companies such as Start Me Up will help to connect you with a company that’ll offer you the role you’re looking for, but vacancy databases such as Indeed are also a great place to start your search.

Doing a virtual internship can be an easy way to improve your resume and get you that all important experience employers are looking for. Virtual internships can be more flexible than face-to-face ones and it can be easy to fit the work around other commitments, seen as it’s all done remotely.

Learn transferable skills

Doing a virtual internship will teach you how to communicate efficiently with managers and team members, especially via online platforms. Communicating online isn’t easy and messages are often misinterpreted. You’ll be able to use the skills you learn in countless other situations.

Virtual internships can help to increase your confidence. Internships can be scary, and you might’ve been putting doing one off due to nerves. Working from the comfort of your home, not having to worry about the commute and communicating online instead of in person can bring great relief to some interns.
Some people do find it easier to communicate virtually, especially via chat rooms where you have time to collect your thoughts and form your ideas.

It’s common knowledge that doing internships and work experience in general helps you to learn classic skills that employers’ value, such as teamwork. And this is still the case for virtual internships.

Doing your internship online won’t stop you from working in teams and on group projects. In this day and age, there’re a million options for online chat rooms and meeting platforms that you’ll be catching up with your team constantly.

 

Will I be paid?

Some virtual internships will offer a wage, and some won’t. But this doesn’t differ much from face-to-face internships. As always, larger firms have larger budgets. If you’re looking to intern at a large firm, it’s likely they’ll have the money to pay you. IBut if you’re more interested in working for an NGO or a startup, the chances of you getting paid are lower. Having said that, working for smaller organizations can offer unique projects – giving you more of a chance to stand out. nrivalled opportunities

If you have the time and can afford to undertake some unpaidun-paid work, the experience will be worth your time. Internships provide valuable experience and can kick-start your career.

Interning virtually can also be a way around this issue. If you aren’t getting paid, at least you won’t be having to commute into the office or buy lunch at a cafe. This can save you a lot of money and it may mean that you can afford to do a virtual internship.

You’ll learn how to #wfh

Working from home has become the norm, and it’s predicted to stay that way for at least the foreseeable future.

Doing a virtual internship will give you a taste of what it’s like to #wfh, especially if you’re a student and haven’t had experience doing so before. Working from home isn’t always easy and getting used to it isn’t going to do you any harm.

Having experience of working from home can teach you to be more self-motivated. You have to learn to resist the urge to, for example, spend hours on your phone with no one to tell you not to.

Future employers are also likely going to be searching for individuals who’ve had experience of working from home. And if most of your competitors have the skills to do so, it’d be good to get them under your belt.

You’ll enhance your resume

Is your resume looking a bit dull? Do you need to gain relevant skills that’ll help you get into the career you want to?

There are virtual internships available in a wide range of fields, including marketing, research, IT, engineering, politics, law and finance to name a few. Companies such as Start Me Up will help to connect you with a company that’ll offer you the role you’re looking for, but vacancy databases such as Indeed are also a great place to start your search.

Doing a virtual internship can be an easy way to improve your resume and get you that all important experience employers are looking for. Virtual internships can be more flexible than face-to-face ones and it can be easy to fit the work around other commitments, seen as it’s all done remotely.

You’ll boost your connections

It’s highly likely that you’ll chat to other employees on slack and in meetings, and you’ll get to know them well (albeit virtually). These connections can last a long time.

You should connect with your colleagues on LinkedIn and widen your network. Having more connections is a display of your experience, and you also never know when opportunities might arise.

It’s highly likely that companies will offer networking and socialising opportunities and you should always take them with both hands. Be sure to take part in virtual events and make the most out of your experience.

Learn transferable skills

Doing a virtual internship will teach you how to communicate efficiently with managers and team members, especially via online platforms. Communicating online isn’t easy and messages are often misinterpreted. You’ll be able to use the skills you learn in countless other situations.

Virtual internships can help to increase your confidence. Internships can be scary, and you might’ve been putting doing one off due to nerves. Working from the comfort of your home, not having to worry about the commute and communicating online instead of in person can bring great relief to some interns.
Some people do find it easier to communicate virtually, especially via chat rooms where you have time to collect your thoughts and form your ideas.

It’s common knowledge that doing internships and work experience in general helps you to learn classic skills that employers’ value, such as teamwork. And this is still the case for virtual internships.

Doing your internship online won’t stop you from working in teams and on group projects. In this day and age, there’re a million options for online chat rooms and meeting platforms that you’ll be catching up with your team constantly.

Will I be paid?

Some virtual internships will offer a wage, and some won’t. But this doesn’t differ much from face-to-face internships. As always, larger firms have larger budgets. If you’re looking to intern at a large firm, it’s likely they’ll have the money to pay you. IBut if you’re more interested in working for an NGO or a startup, the chances of you getting paid are lower. Having said that, working for smaller organizations can offer unique projects – giving you more of a chance to stand out.

If you have the time and can afford to undertake some unpaid work, the experience will be worth your time. Internships provide valuable experience and can kick-start your career.

Interning virtually can also be a way around this issue. If you aren’t getting paid, at least you won’t be having to commute into the office or buy lunch at a cafe. This can save you a lot of money and it may mean that you can afford to do a virtual internship.

So, do you think virtual internships are worth it?

I certainly do. And I hope that after reading this blog you do too. Virtual internships provide you with the skills and experience you need to get a job.

You get the same set of skills and experience as a face-to-face internship, but you can do it from the comfort of your own home. So, what’s holding you back?

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