Are you a supervisor hosting remote interns? Want to learn ways you can enrich your existing internship program to benefit your interns? Read to find...
How to Use Your Internship to Get Ahead of The Competition
Completing your virtual internship is a huge achievement. For many of our participating interns this is their first experience of working in a professional setting, building the experience they need to forge ahead in their chosen career field. Seeing their hard work have a tangible impact on their host company’s fortunes is often cited to us as one of the things interns find most rewarding during their internship.
In this blog post we’ll provide a few tips on how to promote your internship experience and the skills you’ve learnt so that you stand out to future employers. We’ll walk you through what to write on your LinkedIn Profile to generate more search appearances, what to include in your professional portfolio/resume, and how to talk about your internship during interviews.
Updating Your LinkedIn Profile
Firstly, if you don’t already have a LinkedIn account it’s time to get one. You’re missing out on a variety of engaging industry discussions, breaking news, and job postings – 90% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn.
Getting your profile noticed can therefore lead to career opportunities, connecting with established names in your industry, and even growing a personal following. LinkedIn recognizes this by sending each user a summary of how many searches they’ve appeared in each week, and what search terms were used to find their profile. Adding your virtual internship to your profile is a quick and easy way to generate more buzz around your account.
Writing About Your Experience and Optimizing for Keywords
Start by adding your host company and the duration of your internship to the ‘work experience’ section of your profile. A common mistake we often see is people listing us, Virtual Internships, as the company they worked for on their profile. Try to avoid this and make sure to include your host company’s profile. Listing a company which operates in your chosen career field will do much more to boost your profile strength and establish your industry credentials.
Within each employer listing on your profile is the option to write about the company, this is something that you should definitely take advantage of. LinkedIn’s profile searching algorithm works on the principle of keywords, adding more industry specific keywords to your profile will get you into more search results from the right people.
An easy way to take advantage of this is to start with an introduction of your company: what industry they work in and what product/service they provide. This instantly connects you to industry targeted searches. From there, begin writing about your role and accomplishments in the company; whilst also using industry specific terminology and mentioning any specialist software or tools you used. This is particularly relevant if you intend to use your profile to find jobs, as recruiters frequently search for candidates based on their skills (for example, ‘Photoshop + marketing professional’ is a regular search).
Pro-tip: not sure what to write?
After you’ve finished the program, take some time to list all the projects you’ve worked on. What did you contribute to the project? What obstacles did you face? How did you overcome them? What tools did you use? What was the end result?
The answer to these questions will provide the content for your profile. Remember to be as detailed as possible; the more content you write, the better!
Gathering Recommendations After Your Internship
LinkedIn’s recommendation feature allows your first connections to write testimonials about their working experience with you. Having recommendations on your profile is a fantastic way to lend credibility to your profile, not only is it an endorsement of your skills but also proof that you can build positive working relationships.
After completing your virtual internships, you’re in a great position to pick-up two recommendations straight off the bat: one from your host company supervisor and one from your dedicated internship coach. Don’t hesitate to reach out to both in order to strengthen your profile and receive recognition for all of your hard work.
Pro-tip: follow our page to start building your network
Follow the Virtual Internships page now to gain access to exclusive content. From our page, you’ll also be able to view our staff profiles. Please feel free to send any of us a connection request, we love keeping in touch with our program alumni and helping them expand their network!
Creating Your Professional Portfolio and Résumé/CV
Professional portfolios and CV/résumés have been the bedrock of the hiring process since the 1950s. Hiring managers are flooded with dozens of résumés for each corporate job posting, if you want to secure the interview you need to stand-out on paper. Fortunately for you, completing a virtual internship is a fantastic way to do that.
Don’t Hesitate to Write About Your Internship Being Virtual
Since the pandemic outbreak, 50% of planned internship recruitment in the USA has been scrapped, with that number rising to 64% in the UK, according to research conducted by Glassdoor. If you’ve managed to undertake an internship this year, that’s an achievement in itself. It shows determination, adaptability, and problem-solving skills; all of which are guaranteed to catch the attention of hiring managers.
Furthermore, major companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have committed to running online internship programs from 2020 onward. It’s undeniable that the global pandemic has accelerated the need for online programs; but the changing nature of work has meant that their emergence has been inevitable for some time.
Having a virtual internship on your résumé/CV allows you to get ahead of the curve. It proves that you can succeed in the modern workplace and can be trusted to work independently, qualities that will become more and more valuable as jobs shift to remote settings.
What You Should Include in Your Professional Portfolio (For All Interns)
A portfolio is the supporting evidence to your résumé, it’s supposed to provide a visual representation of your past work and accomplishments. A well prepared portfolio can be what differentiates you from the competition during interviews.
You may be thinking that interns in certain career fields will find it easier to build a professional portfolio, and that may be true. Interns working in graphic design, fashion, and media definitely have an early advantage over interns working in less visual career fields. However, every virtual intern is in an excellent position to produce an eye-catching portfolio.
The main goal of your portfolio is to show off your talent and work ethic, right? Well that can easily be done with the resources at your disposal. Use your portfolio to showcase all the work you’ve done behind the scenes for your internship. Include pictures of brainstorming sessions, product prototypes, and any blueprints/wireframes you may have – but check with your host company first before sharing any sensitive information.
Also, as we touched upon in the previous point, highlight the fact you did a virtual internship! Virtual internships are a treasure trove of great portfolio content. Include pictures of you at your work space and any screen-grabs you might have of team meetings over Zoom or Skype. A portfolio based on the work process during a virtual internship is unique and guaranteed to make a lasting impression on any interviewer.
How to Talk About Your Virtual Internship During Interviews
Interviews are your opportunity to sell yourself. After finishing your internship, you’ll have gained insider knowledge into your chosen career field; providing you with a strong platform to explain how your skills and previous experience will benefit the interviewing company. You’ll also have the added advantage of completing a distinctive (virtual) internship which will be an interesting topic of conversation for you to exploit.
Pro-tip: the key to a successful interview is preparation
Spend some time reading over the job specification for the role you’re interviewing for, and take note of all the key requirements listed. After that, begin coming up with answers to how you can fulfill those requirements. It’s highly likely that you will have encountered most of these requirements during your virtual internship.
Selling The Skills You’ve learned
The Virtual Internships’ program provides you with real working experience in a career field of your choosing. This is a huge benefit to potential employers who are looking for proof that you have the know-how to succeed in their industry.
Demonstrate your value by talking about your experience with industry specific tools and software that may require specific training: what you can do with them and how comfortable you are using them day-to-day? This could be a big plus to employers.
Don’t be afraid to talk about what you’ve learnt from your supervisor: how did they mentor you and what industry secrets did they make you privy to? Employers like to hear that you’re eager to learn and like to take advantage of the resources available to you.
Be sure to talk about the projects that you were involved in: were they successful and what did you learn during them? Employers love to hear about the outcome of projects, what you achieved, and how you can replicate them at their company (bonus points if you can provide actual facts and figures).
Selling The Personal Skills You’ve Learned
As we mentioned earlier in this post, completing an internship this year with the pandemic looming is a fantastic achievement. Showing the initiative to find an alternative to traditional internships during this time, to continue your professional development, is something that will greatly impress employers. In addition, Virtual Internships’ host company network consists of many exciting international companies. Having an international company on your CV at this time will also highlight your ambition to look beyond what’s in front of you for opportunities. An added benefit is also the chance for you to talk about your experience working in a foreign corporate culture.
Also, everyday skills you would have picked up simply by doing your internship online will provide you with a bunch of skills that employers crave. Such skills include the ability to work independently, time management, self-motivation, and effective communication.
Having a Virtual Internship on your CV/résumé and professional profiles is an excellent way to distinguish yourself from the competition. You can easily transform the experience, skills, and knowledge you’ll gain into materials and anecdotes designed to impress future employers. So don’t hesitate! Start updating your LinkedIn and creating your professional Portfolio now.
If you’re interested in starting a virtual internship you can view our 18 available career fields here.