Tips for Getting a Virtual Internship
Before you start applying for internships, you need to have the appropriate documents. Here are the most important.
Draft a Resume
Students who donât already have a resume can find free resume templates through Google Docs and Microsoft Word. These templates have clean designs and are easy to edit.
If you want something more unique, you can buy a template on Etsy. Choose a template that you can easily edit in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If youâre applying for internships in a creative field like graphic design or advertising, pick a template that has more flair and shows your personality.
When writing your resume, focus on the skills youâve learned and your accomplishments. If you were a waitress at Waffle House (like I was for a summer), mention how it taught you multitasking and organizational skills.
Create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with people you know. Ask past employers for recommendations and to endorse you for specific skills like Photoshop or Excel.
Work on a Cover Letter
Some internships will require a cover letter. A cover letter should express the value youâll bring to the company, like how your interests and skills fit with the organization and why you would be a good addition.
If youâre submitting a cover letter for an online application, make sure to use any keywords mentioned in the job description. Some companies use software that filters out cover letters missing these keywords.
Have a parent or adult mentor look over both your resume and cover letter. They can offer you advice on how to phrase specific ideas and remind you of jobs, awards, and other accomplishments youâve forgotten about.
Where to Find a Virtual Internship
Once youâve created a resume and basic cover letter, you can start applying. Here are the best places to find a virtual internship.
Talk to Your College
The first place to look is your college career center. Many large companies have direct relationships with universities and accept a certain number of interns from there every year.
Contact the university career center and ask them about internship opportunities. If you already have a declared major, your department may also have its own career counselor who can help. They may have more personal relationships with hiring managers and internship recruiters.
Sometimes colleges have their own internship and job boards, but it still helps to talk to a counselor directly. They may have more resources and can answer your specific questions.
Even though the pandemic has changed how colleges operate, some are still holding virtual career fairs. Youâll likely have to register in advance and choose a specific time slot, so look into these options as soon as possible.
Make sure to follow up regularly if you donât hear back from the career counselor. They may be busy, and your emails can get lost in the shuffle. Donât feel bad about reaching out multiple times- this is part of what you pay for as a student and youâre entitled to their help.
Contact People You Already Know
If youâve had internships before, contact people from those companies and ask if they need help. Itâs much easier to get an internship when you already know the people in charge – especially if you made a good impression during your tenure.
It doesnât matter if the people you worked with have different jobs now. They may still work in a similar industry and need an intern. Make a list of where youâve worked and all the people you remember. If youâre having trouble remembering names, go to the companyâs LinkedIn page to jog your memory and find their contact information.
After youâve contacted them, reach out to any professors you know who still have direct ties to the industry. They can forward your information or send you links to opportunities theyâve seen.
Donât be afraid to contact people at companies where you turned down an internship position. Most people donât take that personally and may still have positive memories of you – plus, getting a previous internship offer from a company indicates that youâre probably a good fit.
If youâre reaching out to professors you havenât talked to in a while, remind them what class of theirs you took and include a copy of your resume. This will make it easier for them to forward the email to any prospects.
Take your time when crafting emails to industry contacts. If you write an email with typos and grammar mistakes, your email may be deleted immediately. This is especially true if youâre contacting someone you donât know. They may receive dozens of emails from students like you and not have time to respond to them all.
Look at Job Sites
If youâve reached out to your networking contacts with no luck, itâs time to look for a virtual internship on a job site. Job sites should be the last place you look for a virtual internship because itâs harder to stand out among a sea of candidates.
Here are some of the best sites and apps to use:
- Symplicity App
- Intern from Home
- Parker Dewey
Remember not to discount an internship if thereâs no mention that the job will be remote. Some listings may be outdated and not reflect the current situation.
When you apply, check the companyâs website and LinkedIn profile to see if you have any personal connections. Having someone in common can help get your application into the right hands.
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