Finding a job after graduation can be frustrating, especially if you have little or no relevant experience. A great way to gain practical work skills while you’re still in school (and without going broke) is through paid remote work internships.
Remote Work Internships: Build Skills and Get Paid
Since the 1980s, internships have grown in popularity as a way to not only supplement classroom education but also provide graduates with a foundation of practical work experience before entering the job market. Beginning in the business and communication fields, internships have provided an avenue for students to learn entry-level skills, network with professionals, and explore professional options in their chosen career path.
Today, studies show that students graduating with internship experience are more likely to find employment. Research also indicates that internships involving a paycheck are even more likely to end up with a job offer. These results illustrate the growing trend of companies using internship programs as recruiting tools.
As internships become more commonplace and remote work opportunities also increase, there is an ever-increasing number of paid remote work internships available. Remote work internships are solutions for busy students with ever-changing schedules and assignment deadlines. They are also opportunities for students considering virtual and remote careers to see how telecommuting works for them in a real-world situation.
Do You Have What it Takes to Secure Paid Remote Work Internships?
In order to qualify for most internships, applicants need to be enrolled in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program. The degree program will depend on the internship, but the employer will usually specify a program directly related to the position being filled.
A growing number of internships do not require participation in post-secondary education to apply. Most of these internships are for quality entry-level positions with reputable employers, however, students should exercise caution and vet these jobs on an individual basis.
Other common requirements for paid remote work internships are personal references or previous work experience to indicate your character and work ethic. References are especially important for remote internships to build an initial level of trust with your potential employer. Employers want to feel confident that you will deliver quality work without someone looking directly over your shoulder.
You may also be asked to demonstrate specific skills important to the position. This could include ensuring you have the technical proficiency and equipment necessary to work remotely or completing training on specific programs required in the position. Other areas where it may be helpful to show off your skills are in written or oral communication as well as teamwork
7 Popular Job Categories for Paid Remote Work Internships
While there are internships available in almost all career fields, some types of work lend themselves more easily to remote work internships. If you wonder about options available in your career field, below is a selection of Virtual Vocations job categories currently offering paid remote work internships:
1. Social Media
The continued growth of online communities and social media platforms drives the availability of internships in this job category. The digital nature of the work and community building aspects makes it well suited for remote work opportunities as well.
This type of internship will most likely require enrollment in a marketing or communication degree program and familiarity with a variety of popular social media platforms.
Organizations offering social media internships will typically include agencies, technology service providers, and virtual companies.
Tasks undertaken by interns will include monitoring engagement and creating posts for blogs, forums, and social networks. Projects may also include developing and executing promotional and outreach campaigns using social media. Other skills that may be developed would be search engine optimization (SEO) and web analytic skills.
Digital and online marketing trends ensure ongoing opportunities for internships in this job category. There are also plenty of career paths that include remote work and travel if desired. Employers in this category could include agencies, but also large corporations and non-profit organizations.
Undergraduate students in marketing, advertising, or sales will have a leg up on securing a remote marketing internship. You may also need to demonstrate a talent for writing and proficiency with specific graphic design or presentation software.
Marketing interns will be involved in the planning and execution of marketing campaigns, brainstorming ideas, scheduling meetings, and tracking progress. Interns may also be required to assist with writing copy and developing promotional materials. Additional activities could include competitor research and entering information into contact management systems (CMS).
3. Content Development/Writing
As a business development strategy, content marketing has exploded in popularity. This has resulted in a never-ending need for new, high-quality content to post on social media, publish on websites, and distribute via email. All activities that are well-suited to completing from home or campus.
Students enrolled in marketing, communication, public relations, or business programs will be favored for these positions. Familiarity with digital and web-based media is expected as well as superior writing skills.
Interns in these positions will be involved in content strategy and writing concise and compelling prose in support of marketing and sales goals. Activities will also include optimizing content for search engines and monitoring analytics.
4. Business Development
Interns are always in demand for this high-growth area that also lends itself to a remote work lifestyle. Since this is sometimes used as a cover for low-paying, direct sales jobs, it is important to be careful when selecting internships to apply for in this area.
Undergraduate and graduate business degree programs are popular requirements for these remote work internships. A demonstrated interest in a sales career is helpful, along with an outgoing and positive personality.
Business development interns can expect to conduct research and analysis of new markets and potential clients. Qualifying leads, setting up appointments, and cold calling are also common activities. Students may also gain experience in developing business proposals and client contracts.
Developments in computer-aided design technologies have created a world of new opportunities for design professionals. From advertising to video game design, there are many different career tracks to choose from, all conducive to working remotely.
Enrollment in a relevant post-secondary design program will help you get remote work internships in this field.
Many employers will also expect to see a portfolio of your previous school and/or work projects. Some training or familiarity with specialized software programs may also be required.
Activities that an intern would be expected to complete would be to create and design print and digital materials. You will also need to receive feedback and be able to incorporate revisions to your designs. Students may also be involved in the ideation phases of design projects.
This is another broad job category that cuts across many disciplines. Research interns may find positions innovating new computer applications or supporting medical trials. The common thread is the new technologies enabling all types of research to be completed online.
To qualify for research positions, students will generally need to be enrolled in a program related to the area of research of interest to the jobseeker. For some research positions, enrollment in a graduate or Ph.D. program may be required.
Specialized training or coursework in research methodologies will go a long way toward standing out with employers.
Research interns assist with a variety of tasks including planning and administering research projects and protocols. This could include anything from identifying possible research questions and conducting research interviews t0 analyzing or testing quantitative data and assisting with reporting results.
7. Information Technology
Information technology is responsible for bringing remote work into the mainstream and providing all the great tools that remote work easy. There are lots of paid remote work internships for students interested in the high tech industry.
Preference for remote work internships is usually given to students with computer science, information technology, or management information systems majors.
Depending on the internship role, candidates will likely need to possess specific technical skills related to the job and be able to demonstrate them.
Interns will be expected to support and assist team members with maintaining hardware and software, troubleshooting issues, and providing technical support to end-users. Depending on the focus of the position, activities may also include cybersecurity, programming, analytics, and data center management.
5 Points to Consider Before Applying to Paid Remote Work Internships
There are many opportunities to secure paid remote work internships in a wide variety of career tracks. Before you decide on your next internships, consider the following questions in order to make sure you pick the best option for you.
- Is the internship relevant to your career path? Internships are important but maybe not important enough to devote valuable professional time to a role or company with which you do not have a future.
- Does the position offer a flexible location, schedule, and time commitment that allows you to attend classes and complete course assignments? Many remote internships will still require on-site meetings, training, or availability during the day.
- Is the pay fair and are you able to manage financially for the duration of the internship? Don’t go broke for the sake of an internship. If the internship is really important, try and save money ahead of time to supplement your income.
- Does the position offer networking and mentorship opportunities? One of the major advantages of completing an internship is meeting and developing relationships with professionals that can assist with your career development.
- Is the culture of the company in alignment with your personal values? Do you value collaboration or independence? Do you prefer ongoing feedback or are you fine with waiting until the end of a project? Determining the level of support and interaction you need will help you identify internships that will meet your goals.
In addition to searching for paid remote work internships, you can also utilize Virtual Vocation’s online resources to research companies and their remote work policies ahead of time. This will help you make good choices and maximize the benefits you can realize from your internship opportunity.
iStock Photo Credit: 1. PeopleImages; 2. ogichobanov
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