Natalie Ann Roig completed a marketing internship last spring–while riding the bus, sitting on her parents’ couch and lounging at home in pajamas.
The internship, in which she worked 15 hours a week researching and blogging about corporate workplace benefits, was virtual–she needed only a computer and Internet access. Ms. Roig, a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, never even met her boss, in Atlanta.
“I didn’t have to dress up. I didn’t have to sit at a cubicle for hours,” says Ms. Roig, a senior studying graphic design. “It was more like work at your own pace and get the work done.”
Virtual internships, while relatively rare, are becoming more common, career experts say, fueled by improving technology and the growth of social media. They are most popular among small to midsize companies and online businesses. More than one-fourth of 150 internships posted on UrbanInterns.com, a site that connects small businesses with part-time workers, are labeled virtual, where the work typically involves researching, sales, marketing and social-media development.