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Taking a Virtual Internship – The Positives & Negatives

vi 12Over the last 6 months the Career Planning Center (@FairfieldCPC) has been tweeting jobs like crazy.  Every day when I go on to Twitter to scan for hot jobs/internships, I frequently come across “Virtual Internships” or positions that don’t require students ever to set foot in an actual office.  Sometimes referred to as “telecommuting” or “offsite work,” virtual employment has officially become a trend. Many of the opportunities that we have  seen come from Internships.com, which lists more than 8,000 virtual positions, a 20% increase over last year.

What does a virtual internship entail you might ask? Well, it really depends on the company you are working for. Generally speaking many of the positions available are in fields that are most conducive to working independently and in an online setting. Currently, the greatest number of virtual internship opportunities are in sales, marketing, and social media; though a growing number are showing up in graphic design and software development. Seeing that this is a new trend, we wanted to discuss some of the positives and negatives to taking a virtual internship.

POSITIVES

Flexible Hours: With virtual internships students have the opportunity to gain professional experience without interrupting their everyday life. That means they could still be the Vice President of their student organization, play Division I athletics, and take a full load of classes all while interning. Remote interns enjoy flexible hours, allowing them to juggle class schedules and even part-time jobs.

No Costs: Another plus is students won’t incur commuting and housing expenses, which we all know can really add up.

Double Time: If you could handle the work load, virtual internships allow you to take on more than 1 internship at a time. With virtual employment, the focus is on completing your assigned duties, not spending time in an office twiddling your thumbs.

It’s EXPERIENCE: One of the biggest and most obvious perks to taking a virtual internship is the fact that you are getting professional experience. In this day and age getting experience and having internships on your resume is absolutely paramount when looking for full-time employment.

NEGATIVES

Miss Out on Some Important Lessons: One real downside to taking a virtual internship is they don’t always provide the crucial lessons that can come from actually being in the office like insight into professional expectations, corporate culture and office etiquette.

Personal Relationships: Students who work virtually might not have the opportunity to develop close relationships with staff members or managers, which is one of easiest ways to build your personal network. As we all know, networking is key in the job search process and when looking to move up the corporate ladder.

To find virtual internships visit Internships.com, keep your eyes on Twitter, or come in to meet with one of the Career Planning Counselors.

     

Steph Grejtak

 Assistant Director,  Career Planning Center

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