How to Find Credible Online Internships

online-internshipsInternships are a great way to gain work experience in a hands-on environment, develop and grow your skill set, and make strong business connections. In other words, an internship can help you establish credibility in the professional world.

While internships have always been popular among college students, high schoolers are now submitting resumes in hopes of gaining the same professional experience. But with competition at the forefront of every profession today, it’s essential to seek career-building opportunities early so that you have an advantage when you apply for a coveted full-time job. An internship can help you do just that.

If you’re a high school student interested in gaining experience through a reputable internship that also aligns with your interests, chances are you’re not exactly sure where to begin. And you’re not alone. The search for the right internship is complex, especially on the Web. Here are a few tips.

How to get started in your search for credible online internships

Before you dive into your search, start with the basics. Think about your goals and the outcome you’d like to receive from your internship. If you’re not 100 percent certain of the career field you’d like to enter after college, don’t fret. An internship in high school is a great way to discover new interests before you apply or begin your first year of college.

Remember, however, that your desired career may not be available through a virtual internship, say the experts at Online College: “Virtual internships aren’t showing up in all industries across the board — at least not yet. They tend to be concentrated in certain fields. Currently, prospective interns will find the greatest number of virtual internship opportunities in sales, marketing, and social media, though a growing number are showing up in graphic design and software development. This shouldn’t be especially surprising as these kinds of work naturally lend themselves to working off-site and often require minimal supervision.”

Here’s a list of online resources that will help you find a credible internship:

The pros and cons of a virtual internship

The pros are simple: With a virtual internship students can gain experience without the hassle of the commute, which is especially appealing to those without a car or other means of transportation. With a virtual internship, students can also gain a number of skills, like time management and self-discipline. Furthermore, an online intern will benefit from the flexibility of working from home, allowing for more time to accomplish other tasks, including homework or managing multiple internships.

The cons of a virtual internship involve the lack of hands-on training. With an in-person internship, you can shadow multiple employees and ask questions directly. With an online internship, you may have to wait for an answer, or you may need further direction before you can start or finish an assignment. With an in-person internship, you can benefit from employee interaction, behavior, and etiquette—elements that are certainly missing from performing the same duties over the Internet.

When considering your transportation options, work with a parent or guardian to see if it’s possible to coordinate your schedule with theirs. Or look for other means of transportation in your area, such as bus or subway schedules–or even ride sharing–that will get you to the internship that’s right for you.