Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Internships and other work experiences

7 Promoting my virtual work experience to future employers

A common query about virtual internships is whether an employer will see them as valid and valuable work experience. If you’re not in the office surrounded by colleagues what are you learning about the world of work? Activity 5 will give you some ideas.

Activity 5 Summarising skills

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes for this activity

Case study

Simon has been doing a virtual internship helping to develop new products for a software company. He has a supervisor who was difficult to get hold of at first and kept changing the expected outcomes for his project work. But their relationship has significantly improved since he started sending short update emails about his progress each morning and initiated a Skype meeting with her every Monday to discuss goals for the week. He had never used Skype before this internship but now uses that and Zoom regularly. He has also used a project management tool called Slack, which he has found really useful. He has developed a LinkedIn profile and has connected with several of his virtual colleagues.

If you were Simon and you were trying to convince an employer that a virtual internship was great experience, what would you highlight? Make some notes in the box below.

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Discussion

You might have chosen to highlight:

  • Your enhanced digital skills – as more people choose to work remotely, there will be a greater need for familiarity with video conferencing tools, e.g. Skype and project management tools. If you’ve used them regularly in your internship, you already have evidence that gives you an advantage over other applicants who haven’t.

  • Your enhanced communication skills – working remotely presents communication challenges and you have found ways to overcome them. You can give examples of how you’ve built effective relationships from a distance and worked more closely with your line manager or supervisor.

  • Your ability to motivate yourself – employers are keen on resilient self-starters, and working on your own – perhaps from your bedroom or dining table – may be a tough environment to stay motivated in. You can talk about how you achieved that despite the potential distractions of home.

  • Your adaptability – another key skill that employers look for is flexibility/adaptability. You have to be adaptable to undertake this kind of internship and complete it successfully – working around study, other work, family commitments, etc.

You’ve now explored many aspects of internships and other work experiences, both actual and virtual. After completing this week’s quiz, you will be able to start making your own action plan for what you are going to do next in Week 8.

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