How to: Turn a Traditional Internship into a Virtual One

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How to: Turn a Traditional Internship into a Virtual One

This is a guest blog from Mike, one of the Intern Queen’s summer interns. He attends Penn State and is excited to continue spreading the Intern Queen love.

We all dream of interning in the big city, working alongside our idols in the fast-paced industry we aspire to break into. However, as students, we can’t always be near a large metropolitan area and some of us attend college in isolated, rural parts of the country making an internship in the city seem nearly impossible. Before you feel defeated and ponder giving up your dreams, explore all options and become determined to make things happen.

Today’s technology-driven world allows us collegians to pursue opportunities with little regards to location, i.e. the virtual internship. All internships are not virtual and most, especially in NYC seek local students to come in office. But as an Intern Queen alum and passionate intern, I don’t see the harm in at least asking for the chance to assist virtually. Here are some tips on how to persuade an internship coordinator to go from in office to cross country:

  1. Express your reliability. This is key in your cover letter or even in the interview. You must come across as responsible and mature enough to handle these tasks from afar since there won’t be anyone next to you urging you to meet deadlines. It’s up to you so be sure to show them you can be counted on.
  2. Exhibit confidence. If you are unsure of your abilities, the internship coordinator will be too. Don’t give them a chance to doubt you. For example say, “I am confident that I am a good fit for this position because Point A, B, and C.” Using words such as I “hope” or “maybe” tend to make you seem as though you’re questioning yourself. Remain confident.
  3. Provide examples of past virtual experience. This may not pertain to all of you if you’ve never held a virtual internship, but discussing ways in which your last internship was successful and structured leaves the person reading your cover letter comfortable with your experiences. Tell that person what you can do for them and why it will work. Going virtual can be uneasy for some companies so they need someone with a good track record.
  4. Highlight pros of a virtual internship. Most internships have little to no knowledge of how such an internship works. Tell them. Discuss the independence it brings, the value it will have on both you and the company, and the increased use of technology. Express how going virtual aligns itself with the company’s needs and/or values, especially if it is a tech company or pertaining to social/digital media. What better way to maintain social media accounts or experiment with new media than a virtual internship!
  5. Remain determined. This may seem obvious, but don’t give up after one denial. Ask for that interview. Follow up. In your cover letter, try ending with “I would love to speak further about ways we can make this internship work virtually for the both of us.” This leaves yourself open for conversation, which is key especially when the company is unfamiliar with virtual internships.

Go after your dreams, regardless of geographical obstacles. Sometimes scoring that internship is as simple as asking.