The Virtual Career Development and Internship Program gives Penn State World Campus students a way to gain valuable real-world work experience and develop critical skills relevant to their intended careers. They can complete this internship from wherever they happen to be.
The result of a collaborative partnership between World Campus Career Services, academic departments, and corporate partners, this highly selective program offers virtual internships designed to be flexible enough to fit individual schedules and interests. The specific tasks involved, as well as the structure and schedule, will vary depending on the organization.
Internships can be a terrific résumé booster and can help students stand out from among other candidates during their job search. This experience also allows them to cite actual firsthand examples of how they would complete tasks or overcome challenges on the job.
The program also emphasizes the community-building and networking aspects of internships through assignments such as informational interviews and discussion board conversations.
Past opportunities have spanned a diverse range of roles and job duties, including advocacy engagement, marketing and special events, information technology, sales, and networking engineering.
Impress in your virtual interview
The first step in landing a virtual internship is usually an interview conducted through Skype, Zoom, or a similar platform. Some tips to help you shine:
- Test your tech ahead of time. There is no greater way to rattle your nerves than to encounter faulty technology during a virtual interview or throughout your internship. So test, test, test. Try various internet trials at different times to know when you have the best connection. Practice using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, or whatever software you will be using during the internship. Your first time using it should not be during the interview or internship. *If access to the software is only available through the employer, see if you can have access to the software for 30 minutes the day before interview to become familiar with using the software.
- Prep your background. Make sure your background is free of distractions or inappropriate images. You may love Wonder Woman, but the framed poster you have on your wall is not appropriate background for an interview or work. Conservative is best in these situations, so consider a setting with little to no objects in the background.
- Dress your best. Although you won’t be face to face, it is still important to present a professional demeanor. Dress as if you are being interviewed in person.
- Body language matters. Sit up straight and maintain eye contact by looking into the camera. Remember not to fidget, yawn, or get distracted by something in your environment. You want to demonstrate the same professionalism in the virtual space as you would show face-to-face.
- Practice, practice, practice! Contact World Campus Career Services before your virtual interview or prior to beginning your virtual internship. It is a great way to become confident in the virtual space.
A career counselor can help you prepare
We want students to have a successful and rewarding virtual internship experience. To ensure you are well-prepared, we strongly recommend speaking with a career counselor before applying for an internship. The career counselor can help you make the best possible first impression, by sharing tips on improving your résumé and preparing for an interview. Request an appointment with a career counselor.
Find out more and apply
Get details about the Virtual Career Development and Internship Program and learn how to apply once you have prepared with support from a career counselor.