When you think of the word internship, it’s likely you imagine an office somewhere, probably in a big city like Chicago or New York, that you have to travel to and work out of from Monday to Friday. You might be surprised to learn that this isn’t the only way to visualize what a potential internship opportunity could look like for you.
More and more, companies are offering students the option to work on real-world projects and gain work experience virtually through remote internships. The main aspect of a remote internship is that you can do them from anywhere- a cafe, a library, a coffee shop, or even from the comfort of your own home.
While a remote internship has the potential to be a great step to take in terms of helping you achieve your post-graduation career goals, as with everything, there are pros and cons to taking on one of these opportunities. Therefore, before you start looking for positions to apply to, first consider the pros and cons of a remote internship opportunity.
Pro #1: It’s Easier To Experiment
There are a variety of positions that you might be interested in learning more about or gaining experience in. A remote internship is a great way to find out what type of work you dislike or what type of work you enjoy and can imagine yourself pursuing a career in.
Pro #2: Affordable
You can work from home, which means no relocation expenses.
Pro #3: Inclusive
An issue often brought up about traditional internships is that they are limited to those who can financially afford them. Meaning, many first-generation & low-income students do not have the ability to pursue an on-site opportunity. Remote internships level the playing field. They give more students access to valuable work experience that they otherwise would not have gotten.
Pro #4: Flexible Schedule
Enrolled in school full-time? Got a job? Kids to take care of? Without an office to report to, it’s likely you can simply focus on meeting deadlines and make the internship work around your lifestyle.
Pro #5: Independence & Self-Motivation
These are two skills that employers seek when hiring new graduates. Knowing how to manage your time and responsibilities on your own is a useful ability that will benefit you throughout your entire professional life.
Pro #6 You Can Add It To Your Resume
In case you were wondering, yes, a remote internship is valid work experience. You are still working for a real-life company or organization. After completing a remote internship you’ll have the opportunity to highlight what you’re capable of on your resume for future employers to see.
Pro #7 Portfolio Content
For students seeking jobs that will require you to provide examples of your written or design work, you’re in luck! With a remote internship, you’ll be able to add the projects you worked on to your online/electronic portfolio.
Con #1: Loss Of In-Person Networking Opportunities
It is often easier to make relationships with people in person. However, you can still connect with people online.
Con #2: Distractions
Dogs barking, a crying baby, social media, your bed…
There are so many potential distractions at home that could prevent you from focusing on the task at hand. With a remote internship, it’s up to you to keep focus and encourage yourself to do work in a distracting environment.
Con #3: Lack of Teamwork
Employers often use on-site internship opportunities to see how well you’d fit with their team. You may have to work extra hard to prove that you would be a valuable addition to the company if you’re hoping to get hired on after the remote internship ends. Additionally, with some remote internships, you’ll only report to one individual, which means you might find yourself feeling lonely or isolated.
Con #4: Communication Is Slightly More Difficult
You won’t be able to go to your supervisor’s office or to a fellow intern to get an immediate answer to a question you have. Everything will need to be communicated through online methods. Due to this, there is also an increased likelihood of miscommunication.
Con #5: Less Guidance
You’re going to have to figure things out on your own. There is no one that will be able to show you how to do something in-person. With a remote internship, you’ll have to rely on google searches for tutorials, rather than coworkers or management.
Still interested in finding a remote internship? Here are three places where you actually have a chance of securing a position:
The great thing about these sites is that they all have account profiles that you can fill out to showcase who you are and what you can do. Spend a Saturday afternoon making your profile look good, it’ll benefit you in the long run. Need help? You can find advice and guidance here for Handshake & here for LinkedIn.