If you’re preparing to launch into a new career, internships offer a fantastic way to gain hands-on experience in an industry or field you’re interested in.
Although usually unpaid or paying just expenses, they nevertheless offer a valuable professional learning opportunity that lets you acquire new skills, practice workplace interactions, and gain an understanding of real-life job situations that can stand you in good stead for the future.
Internships are temporary positions, typically around ten weeks in length. However, if an internship goes well it can sometimes lead to a job offer from the employer in question.
Right now, things are a little more complicated due to COVID-19 with most things no longer being ‘hands-on,’ at least for the near future.
But there is an option well worth considering – a remote internship. As businesses go online and adopt more remote working to navigate the health crisis, so have many internship programs.
Remote internships are certainly taking off. A report by global jobs site Indeed looked at the state of the internship job market. It found that the share of standard internship postings per million job postings on Indeed’s US website is down 39% from 2019. But the share of remote internships is now seven times greater than March 2019.
What exactly is a remote internship?
A remote internship is an internship that takes place completely virtually. No need to travel to a far flung Saudi office or move abroad – you can do everything right from home.
After a virtual induction by the program leader you’ll likely be assigned daily and weekly tasks and be inducted into the team in the same way as a normal new employee. A good internship will give you a taste of different elements of the business and job role so you get as much out of the experience as possible.
You’ll be working on real word projects and deal with real customers or clients, so although it might be daunting it’s a great chance to shine.
Why a remote internship offers unique benefits
If you’re thinking a remote internship can’t be as good as the real thing – walking around an office and dealing in person with colleagues – there are other aspects that make up for the lack of physical interaction. Here are three important ones.
- You’ll get an introduction to remote work
Future entrants to the workforce will have more opportunities to work remotely than ever before, so a remote internship is very timely. You will learn to use remote project management techniques and relevant software applications that will serve you well going forward.
- You’ll save money
If you don’t have to travel to the other side of The Kingdom – or even overseas – to get solid work experience, the cost savings are obvious. This levels the playing field for those who would otherwise have struggled to get financial support for travel and housing during the internship period. The only thing you need is a strong internet connection.
Note: If you’re planning on doing a remote internship during the college semester, you need to organize your work carefully – meaning you need to plan your working sessions beforehand. Check the times of all your classes and discuss with the internship lead on the best way to manage workflow.
- You’ll experience a wider reach of people
The nature of remote work – whether as an intern or an employee – encourages you to interact with lots of different people from different backgrounds. You can easily hop on a Zoom meeting with people from different corners of the world, and as long as you’re flexible on working hours you can have a truly global experience and broaden your perspective.
- You’ll enjoy a flexible work schedule
Instead of working set hours at the office, one major benefit of remote internships is that you’ll be able to adjust the work around your daily schedule. Having that flexibility will also allow you to take advantage of different opportunities without having to sacrifice one for the other. Just make sure to clarify timings and responsibilities with your supervisor beforehand and you should be able to make the most out of the internship while having plenty of time to spare.
- You’ll boost your CV with industry-specific skills
Physical borders don’t exist in the world of remote internships, so using that to your benefit is a must. Landing an internship at an organization where you can finetune industry-specific skills will definitely make a mark on your CV. Gaining work experience in a specialization will demonstrate to future employers that you have a competitive edge and you’ve taken initiative to develop skills in the field.
- You’ll gain transferable skills to prepare you for future jobs
While a remote internship may seem like a walk in the park, it will challenge you to further develop your communication, time management, collaboration, and problem solving skills. Working remotely will enhance the way you use a variety of transferable skills within a virtual team environment. These new skills will be sure to impress future employers and will come in handy in any job position you’ll have.
Finding a remote internship does require a bit of legwork, but it’s well worth the time checking out a variety of resources to see exactly what’s available.
The best place to start your internship search is at your local college career services office which may have internship listings, especially for students or recent graduates from your school. Also, if your institution has an alumni network, learn how to connect with professionals who may be able to assist with your search.
In addition to using your college’s career network, check LinkedIn groups affiliated with your institution, and connect with alumni at companies and in career fields of interest.
Let your family and friends know that you’re seeking an internship. The more people who know you need help, the more opportunities you’ll have to choose from.
Don’t jump too fast!
An important tip is to take your time finding a remote internship that really excites you.
A remote internship is an opportunity to have great fun as well as a potentially life-changing learning experience – so you want to find a position that’s a perfect fit!