A college education is designed to prepare you for your future career. You will come across many challenges that are meant to increase your intellectual ability and your social skills. You will have to take tests and submit term papers. You will have to work in group projects with other students. You might even get the chance to lead student organizations. But even with all of these hoops to jump through, unfortunately, your college degree isn’t a guarantee that you will get the job you want.
Finding employment may not be easy, especially if you want a specific job in a particular line of work. Hiring managers look at hundreds of applications and there might be thousands of graduates with the same educational background as you. Fortunately, there is one way to bridge the gap between education and job experience and differentiate yourself from your peers, and this is through internships.
If you want to stand out from the rest of the jobseekers, you will need to find opportunities to build technical competencies that will attract your future employers. Taking internships is an excellent way to not only gain valuable experience but also to establish a network and socialize with people in your prospective industry.
With advances in technology and drastic shifts in the dynamics of many organizations, companies are offering virtual internships. Some even provide home-based paid internships, allowing you to learn in the comfort of your home city while earning a paycheck. If you find an opportunity for a virtual internship, here are few tips to help you succeed:
1.) Log in early and come prepared
Logging in to your calls and meetings ahead of everyone else is the equivalent of “Be the first to arrive and the last to leave” mantra for new hires in a typical office setting. Appearing first on the scene shows you are a reliable person, and you respect your superiors’ time.
2.) Test your connections and have a backup
Before your first day of your virtual internship, test your logistics with a friend or family member. Make sure your internet connection is secure, and prepare a backup means of connecting, just in case. While being home-based has many advantages, you still need to compensate for the convenience by being prepared. Test out your computer applications as well. If you have never used Microsoft Teams, Excel, Powerpoint, Zoom, or Google apps, give them a dry run. Chances are, you will be using them at some point during your internship.
3.) Practice professional communication
Remember that you aren’t working with groupmates and peers, even if your colleagues are only older than you by a year or two. These are people you want to impress, so use professional communication when sending emails or even through online chat. Another form of professionalism is responding to messages promptly. Don’t wait for a superior to follow up on a task, check your inbox frequently, and resolve any pending concerns immediately.
4.) Ask for feedback
A real sign of someone willing to learn is to be open to receiving feedback. Ask your supervisor about your performance, and if there are areas that need improvement. Keep yourself open to being corrected. Internships are learning opportunities, so don’t insist that you know better than people who have been working at the organization longer than you have.
5.) Keep a positive attitude
Internships can be very scary and intimidating to young, impressionable students. You may be asked to take on several tasks that are new to you or even take on additional work. As long as it is within reason, take on the responsibility with a positive attitude. Place yourself in the position of your teammates, and ask yourself if you are the type of person who would eventually make a great addition to the team.
Any work experience is a valuable opportunity that college students should take advantage of, especially if they are home-based internships. Put your best foot forward when you start your training, keep yourself open to instruction, and take each challenge as a learning opportunity. Succeeding in an internship can significantly improve your chances of getting hired and starting on the path of your dream career.
Are you looking for online internships for students? We provide opportunities for students across the world to find remote work experience that will help them succeed in their chosen field. Contact us today to find out more!