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Going Virtual: A Different Type of Internship to Consider

July 13, 2011

GREENjacinda Going Virtual: A Different Type of Internship to Consider

Jacinda Green is an incoming senior at the University of Alabama.

By Jacinda Green

When I began searching on Internships.com in January, I was only able to find a handful of results when I searched for traditional public relations internships in the Southern states. My dream location was Atlanta, Ga. at the time, but most of the internships I found only wanted residents of Georgia.

Since I couldn’t find good matches in my area, one day I decided to check the box labeled “virtual.” I got hundreds of results related to public relations. This was great because I could apply to companies all over the country with positions that truly interested me. I applied to about 15 internships that day, and received a few messages the next day!

In February, I was offered a virtual public relations internship from a nonprofit organization called Culture Zest Inc. The internship started in March, the week after spring break. Each intern was responsible for putting in 10 hours a week for two months. We had assignments that ranged from blogging to contacting media outlets. We also had to write a response paper each week and provide links to our work. The purpose of the internship was to learn public relations skills while helping to promote the organization’s website. In the end, the site did not get a lot of media attention, but I learned valuable skills that will help me in any career.

“I worked on a lot of the tasks [for my virtual internship] during my night job as a desk assistant at a dorm.”

There are many benefits that can come from virtual internships. The best part is that you can work on your own time. During that semester, I was involved with a few campus organizations and had two jobs on top of my classes. I was worried about having time to complete the assignments. However, I set my own schedule and had no problem getting things done. I worked on a lot of the tasks during my night job as a desk assistant at a dorm. Occasionally, I worked on projects before I went out with friends on the weekend or on Sunday afternoons.

I decided I wanted to complete another internship this summer so I could learn even more. I was not sure if I would be able to afford transportation or housing costs either, so I figured virtual was the way to go. In May, I landed a social media marketing internship for a real estate entrepreneur. I used what I learned from my last internship, and it is going great so far!

Virtual internships are perfect for students. You can set up a flexible schedule around your classes and jobs. You do not have to pay for transportation or buy “work clothes.” Most of your work can be done using your laptop and cellphone. You can even watch a movie or listen to music while you work. Now, who could complain about that?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Courtney Sampson July 14, 2011 at 10:10 am

Jacinda,

Great post on virtual internships! Congrats on your successes thus far — it sounds like the time you've devoted to your internship search has paid off. The organization I work for also posts virtual internships, as well as traditional. (Check it out: http://www.indianaintern.net/blog/2011/07/costs-benefits-of-virtual-internships/) You may do a “Google” search to see if Alabama has anything similar to Indiana INTERNnet.

Best wishes!
Courtney

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Andrew Gregor July 31, 2011 at 10:06 pm

great post! I was wondering what the website is that you use to find your virtual internships?

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Alex August 1, 2011 at 9:22 am

Hi Andrew,

In the opening paragraph, Jacinda says she ran her search here on Internships.com. You just have to remember to check the “Virtual” box before you search.

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