For many aspiring professionals, internships and work placement experience are an invaluable part of tertiary education. An internship helps students learn about being part of the workforce through experience, make valuable professional connections, and solidify—or even revolutionize—their plans for their futures.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some internship opportunities followed the “work from home” trend and were moved online. But can an online internship really prepare you the same way it would if you were in the office? We think so, and here are 10 reasons why.
- Online internships build time management skills
Full-time work requires discipline and self-motivation. You have to be able to work independently and keep yourself on track. Without your boss physically there to keep tabs on you, it could be very easy to let everything slip if you’re not careful. A virtual internship will help you develop the skills you need to effectively manage your time and workload—possibly before you even graduate!
- You can better juggle responsibilities
Like many students who participate in an internship, you may be balancing your work duties against school, home and other work. If this sounds familiar, an online internship is a great solution! You’ll have more flexibility than you would otherwise, while still developing the same abilities and talents. This is where those new time management skills will really come in handy, too.
- Fewer barriers to overcome
Many students long to do an internship, but it isn’t always possible. Availability, finances and personal needs can all be complicating factors. Virtual internships are a terrific way to bridge this gap. You’ll save money on travel and housing costs and, as mentioned before, may even have time for paying work if your program doesn’t offer compensation.
- There’s a broader range of industries available online
The pandemic has demonstrated that it’s possible to do many jobs from home. That means a wide range of work placement opportunities across several sectors has also become possible. Passionate about an industry that doesn’t exist in your town or even your country? Go borderless with a remote internship. You may even find a niche you’d never considered exploring before.
- It can broaden your perspectives
While in-person internships are undoubtedly valuable, there’s much to recommend global networking. Working online, you’ll be able to meet and collaborate with people from much more diverse walks of life, especially if your company has an international presence. You can also seek out internships in countries where you’d like to live, with the aim of establishing a connection there.
- You can make unique contributions
As digital natives, younger members of the workforce are naturally more adept at a lot of online and computer-based tasks that, while vital to a functioning workplace, aren’t very familiar to older workers. You may be learning a lot from your more experienced coworkers, but this is one area where younger workers can truly shine and add value to their teams. Your perspective as a member of a younger generation is equally important, as many organizations are actively seeking ways to appeal to Gen Z. Not to get too dramatic, but your viewpoints could help shape the future of your company.
- It’s easy to build a wider professional network
Workers and students in rural or more homogenous areas may be able to build a professional network, but not on the global scale future employment will necessitate. That’s why a virtual internship, which can connect even the most remote learners to anyone around the world, might be a great solution. Even if you live in a large, diverse city, however, you can still benefit from developing a wide-ranging professional network that can clue you in to amazing opportunities around the world.
- You’ll learn more than if you didn’t have an internship
While there are some drawbacks to virtual internships, such as a lack of connection to company culture or feeling left out of the loop, it’s definitely better to have some experience in this area than none at all. Experiential learning like internships has been proven to improve skills development and retention. It can also give new workers a stronger feeling of confidence and engagement in their new positions.
- Mentorship is easier to access
Mentors are a great way to make contacts, learn essential skills and receive meaningful feedback about your work or performance. However, some interns are shy to approach senior staff members or find it stressful to receive direct support and critique. It may also be difficult for potential mentors to find time to physically be present for a meeting. However, mentorships might be easier to coordinate if you work online and have more flexibility and space to process your interactions.
- You’ll learn a range of soft and hard skills
Hard skills, which are measurable talents and abilities that usually apply to a specific job or task, are extremely important. That said, bodies such as UNESCO have identified an indisputable need for soft skills in the global workplace of the future. Soft skills, which include abilities like effective communication, adaptability and open-mindedness, are becoming and will continue to become more valuable to employers in the future. Virtual internships are a great way to build these soft skills and more, such as self-motivation and self-reliance, while also developing hard skills.
Getting excited about the idea of online internships? At EU Business School, our Career Services department makes it easy to find exclusive internship offers, boost your interview skills, and polish your CV. We boast a 96% placement success rate for our graduates. Visit our website to learn more about what EU Business School can do for your future.