Let me describe a situation that I’m sure will sound familiar. One day you sit down, open up your computer, and begin searching for a job. After searching for what can sometimes feel like hours, you find it, the perfect job. It is everything you are looking for and more, but then you see it, that one little line that will ruin the application: “experience required: 1-3 years.” Sound familiar? Even the so-called “entry level jobs” often require experience. I’ve asked myself this question on countless occasions: how am I supposed to gain any experience if employers require that I already have it? The answer is relatively simple—to find an internship!
The benefits of an internship are unlimited. One of the largest advantages is gaining the much-needed experience that will help you find a job. An internship gives you the opportunity to work in your desired field while continuing your education. Now, admittedly, for working adults this is sometimes easier said than done. If you already work a full-time job and go to school, it may seem impossible to find an internship. As a working adult, the best option for me to continue my education was through online education. I thought it would be impossible to complete an internship on top of this. Then I discovered the world of virtual internships—an internship haven for the working adult.
A virtual internship offers the same benefits as a physical internship while remaining flexible enough to fit your schedule. There are many ways to locate one of these opportunities. The Internet is a great place to start. The website Internships.com has been a valuable resource for internship seekers for years. There is a specific section of this website reserved for virtual opportunities. You may find this resource at the following address: http://www.internships.com/virtual. Internship seekers can filter results based on field, category, or company.
If you do not find what you’re looking for in this resource, there are other options available to you. LinkedIn, for example, is an invaluable tool for many different forms of networking, including looking for an internship. If you know exactly what type of experience you are looking for, don’t be afraid to go out and ask if it is possible. Don’t assume there won’t be any virtual opportunities available in a field just because you do not see one posted online. Use different networking services, like LinkedIn, to locate names, email addresses, or phone numbers for offices or corporations that might interest you.
I know that this is an effective way of locating opportunities because that is how I was able to find my internship! Throughout the course of the summer, I will be working as a virtual intern in the Walden University Career Services Center. I’ve known for years that my passion lies in Career Services. To start getting some experience and exposure, I wanted to use this opportunity to achieve this goal.
As previously mentioned, I knew that a physical internship would be nearly impossible with my current schedule, so I decided to reach out and look for virtual opportunities. I searched for a few weeks, and while I did find some options, they weren’t exactly what I was seeking. Then I decided to take matters into my hands and make some contacts. I knew I wanted to work for a Career Services department, so I started researching some schools that had a strong online presence. This, in my opinion, is essential. You want to make sure that the internship opportunity will not just benefit you. By researching companies, corporations, or other organizations that utilize online resources, you will be more likely to find someone willing to give you virtual assignments. I was very fortunate to find Walden University and the Career Services team. My internship is just beginning, but I’m already excited about the experience I will gain here. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Written by Samantha Shore, Walden Career Services Center Intern