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Future of Work

Virtual Internships – A Guide For New Graduates

You may not have imagined that your summer internship, or your pre-getting-into-the-workforce internship for that matter, would take place online. But, in a post-COVID world, virtual is, like they say, the new normal.

However, finding the right opportunity that suits your needs and your goals needs focus and effort, especially at a time when internships have fallen by almost half due to COVID.

To help you get the right internship, here’s what we cover here:

  • How to pick the Virtual Internship that is right for you?
  • Do’s and Don’ts of a Virtual Internship
  • Virtual Internship Opportunities to get you started
Picking the Right Virtual Internship

If you’ve already got multiple options at hand, or you are planning to start looking out for one, there are few questions that you can ask yourself before deciding where to go.

What (skill) does this internship offer you professionally?

This is a very important question to ask because the skill(s) you gain now will determine what you take forward in your career. Does it fits into the skill-set that your future-career requires? For example, if you are looking to acquire serious skills, choosing a start-up will give you more responsibility as opposed to a well-established company. On the other hand, if you are looking to decorate your resume, choosing the later would be more ideal.

Would you prefer to intern within your field of study, or try and broaden your horizon?

The simple question here is to choose between being a specialist or a generalist. Some people choose to hone their skills in the field that are pursuing/ intend to pursue while some try to spice things up by choosing to intern in other fields. In the post-covid world, choosing to broaden your horizon would seem like a good idea – as Vikram Mansharamani, author and lecturer at Harvard University says- The future belongs to generalists.

What is your time commitment and will the internship hours be feasible for you?

It may sound trivial but it is one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself because internships schedule can (sometimes) be demanding. Ask yourself if the internship requires you to commit to a full-time work schedule or a part-time and find out if the schedule works for you. It is also important to check the time difference based on the time zones so that you can schedule your work accordingly.

What are the employees and interns saying about the organization?

It’s important to know the truth about an organization before joining. Look for reviews online, or ask people if they know anything about it. This is especially true of organizations that are lesser known.

The other questions that you ought to ask yourself include:

  • Will it test what you have learnt
  • Will you be able to make an impact through it
  • Will this opportunity help you build essential skills like work ethics, project management, etc
  • Will it help you build a new network
Do’s and Don’ts of a Virtual Internship
Dos
  • Invest in a good internet connection based on the bandwidth requirement for your workload
  • Learn (virtual) office etiquettes before starting the internship
  • Set aside a dedicated time and space for your internship work to stay on top of your deadlines
  • Build connections with mentors and even with other young professionals in the same organization
  • Find out from your mentor/manager with channel of communication they would prefer for you to update- email or video calling?
  • Ask for feedbacks and welcome criticism to grow as a professional
  • Keep a record of your accomplishments during internship
  • Ask for a (persuasive) recommendation letter from your mentor/manager for future professional reference
Don’ts
  • Overwhelm yourself with work you cannot handle
  • Be afraid to ask questions and get help whether it is via email or the video chat
  • Start the internship without doing proper research
  • Try to hide a mistake instead, rectify the issue like any professional would
  • Assume an assigned task is too trivial but be eager to complete any task assigned

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Virtual Internship Opportunities to Get You Started

Look at virtual like as a silver lining – internships are now location-agnostic. You can now find international internships sitting where you are.

COVID has forced many internships to go online – which means that what may have been unavailable to you earlier, is now yours to take a shot at. And while internships, overall, have seen a decline, the fact that you can apply remotely may open more doors for you.

WayUp, an internship platform, has released its list of the Top 100 Internship Programmes of 2020 (for the US).
You should look at this list, even if you don’t live in the US – you never know – they may accept you. Or, you could contact their branches in your country.

Here’s what you can do to get that internship

  • Go aggressive. Look everywhere
    • Make a list of all the organizations that you’d like to work for and keep checking their websites
    • Reach out to them on LinkedIn
    • Look for international
    • Use Google for your benefit – put in the right keywords and search regularly
      • Example – Virtual Internship Opportunities students (you’ll be surprised how many links show up)
    • Keep checking your university websites and career services
    • On a regular basis, look at platforms that list internships – many of these list international internships

An internship can prove to be a critical step in your careers ladder – so give it all you have. These are challenging times, but organizations are now coming around to the idea of remote work, which is something that could benefit you as a new graduate. Keep up your search and stay focussed. It’s not as hard as it seems.

Date added
21.08.2020

Filed under:

Future of Work

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