By Punyaslok Rath:
Father: Look at Kapoor sahab’s son! He goes to his big office at Khandala every day from 9 to 5; earned eighteen thousand during summer break through an internship. And you! Your holidays are about to end, you just sleep all day and sit in front of this bloody laptop screen all night!
Son: I work from home, Dad! FYI, I work for a company in California and till now I’ve made 63K!
Father: What?! How?
Son: Virtual Internships!
Organizations are slowly but surely waking up to the fact that there exists a large talent pool among the college students, but not every student can travel to the company’s office. That’s how the concept of virtual internship comes into picture.
Why virtual internships?
• Work at your own pace – Need to meet a long-time friend in the afternoon? No problem. You can work in the evening, at night, anytime! Flexible working hours can be a bliss especially to the student community who have to put up with college classes. As long as you meet your set deadlines, no one cares when and how you work.
• Gain valuable skills and experience – Virtual internships are a great way to learn valuable skills, without having to join a 9-5 office, that can be translated into relevant job experience. Many students do such internships in their 1st or 2nd year of graduation alongside college classes, building a healthy resume in the process.
• Receive college credit – Many universities have now made a semester of ‘industrial experience’ compulsory in their curriculum. Getting out of the proving-the-boring-theorems in papers and instead earning credits as well as money from the comforts of your home – it couldn’t have been better for students!
• Save commuting expenses – You wouldn’t need to travel some x kilometers to your office. Ask someone who has his/her office located far from their home and you’ll know how frustrating the daily travel is.
• Miss out on working culture exposure – An exposure to the work culture is the highlight of advantages of internships. Virtual internships, irrespective of the numerous benefits they offer, miss out on this.
• Suffer from no set timings – If you do not have set timings for work, then you don’t have set timings off work too! Flexibility in timings might require to keep checking your mails at all times and could even possibly ruin your weekends.
• You might not belong to a virtual internship – Some fields, like social marketing, are more suitable for virtual internships and some, like mechanical engineering, are not.
• No supervision – Some students thrive in the freedom of no supervision whereas some find it extremely difficult to stay motivated in its absence.
1. Meet your deadlines – Talking of deadlines, they are your way of impressing your employer. By meeting your deadlines you develop a certain degree of trust and faith with your employer. It sends out a signal that even though you don’t come for the 9-5 office job, you take your role seriously.
2. Choose a workplace – It is highly advisable to have a workplace set aside for the job. (Word of caution- beds should be strictly off limits!) It is not necessary to go for the conventional desk-chair workspace but anything that doesn’t lull you to sleep would do!
3. Stay connected – Since you’re not in office, it is a good practice to stay in touch with your employer and your team. Weekly Skype sessions to discuss about the progress in task is a nice idea. In addition to motivating you to complete your work on time, this will also make your employer aware of your merit.
4. Make sure you get it right – Most employers give tasks to their employees through mails and email communication can, at times, be ambiguous. It’s upon you to ensure that you understand the work properly. Ask as many questions you feel is necessary. Being clear on the work is much better than goofing it up at later stages.
5. Work on communication skills – Improve your written English and email etiquettes. Effective and correct language usage goes a long way in establishing your impression on the employer.
6. Schedule your work – It’s difficult to follow a schedule when you are your own boss. There are always a few temptations that threaten to disrupt your concentration and work ethic. You don’t exactly need to have a super-ninja self-discipline, but a strict work schedule might come in handy.
Reputed companies have started shifting their focus on virtual internships and there has never been an easier time to start interning ‘virtually’. Just like traditional internships, one can find the numerous work-from-home internships at internship portals like Internshala. So if you have internships on your mind but are hindered by your geographical location, then now you know the solution- go for virtual internships.
This article has been contributed by Internshala– India’s leading internship portal.