Why You Should Offer a Virtual Paraplanner Internship
Note: This blog is part of our series on paraplanners. If you haven’t already read our first blogs, be sure to check them out!
The digital nomad population is pretty much booming these days. One Gallup survey found that the number of people who work remotely 4-5 days a week rose from 24% to 31% from 2012 to 2016.
Chances are, you’re part of the workforce that does at least a little virtual work from time to time. And maybe you already consider remote work to be a pretty big part of the job landscape.
But if you’re thinking of setting up an internship for your small business…why should you extend that by hiring a virtual intern? And what should a virtual paraplanner internship look like?
Why Hire a Virtual Intern?
Obviously, a virtual paraplanner internship is a great opportunity for students who can’t meet their needs through a traditional internship.
As for your business, you’re still getting access to new talent that’s eager to get in and learn. You’re simply making it a little easier for them to hit the ground running. Essentially, you’re opening the door to even more people who want to become a paraplanner. This gives you the opportunity to find new talent from far afield, bringing in fresh perspectives and greater diversity.
Jen with Simply Paraplanner touches upon the benefits in this video:
Here are the two main reasons why hiring a virtual intern gives you access to a greater pool of internship applicants.
There’s no need for relocation. Unfortunately, if your firm is located in a rural area in the middle of nowhere, it can be pretty hard to find housing. This is especially true for an internship that lasts just a few short months. Alternatively, your firm might be in a major metropolitan city, or a place where housing is expensive, making it difficult for a student to find somewhere to live for the summer.
It offers flexibility for nontraditional students. Very often, nontraditional students have chosen to go the nontraditional route for a reason: they’re in a situation where it’s hard to pick up and move somewhere else.
A student who can’t afford relocation. Maybe they live at home with their family, for example, or maybe they’re already spending all their money on college.
A parent reentering the workforce. In this case, the parent can’t simply leave his or her children for three months in order to move to a new city.
A military spouse. For someone who can’t control where they live, internship opportunities can be pretty limited.
A career changer. Those who go to school full time and work full time may have a hard time with an in-person internship: most of their time is already eaten away by work and school.
Things to Consider When Setting Up a Virtual Paraplanner Internship
Before you take the plunge and set up your virtual internship, there are a few things to think about—and many of them are the same things you’d consider for a traditional internship. For example, you’ll want to develop any payment structure, research the labor laws in your state, identify a list of tasks for your paraplanner intern, etc.
However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind when you’re setting up a virtual-specific internship:
Name the point of contact.
Every day, you or someone on your team should communicate with your virtual intern. After all, the whole point of a virtual paraplanner internship is to create an experience where the intern gets to see the ins and outs of the job, balanced by frequent feedback and constructive criticism. The point of contact should be someone who can both supervise and mentor your intern, and someone who can resolve their issues, address their questions and offer feedback and support.
Schedule frequent video conferences.
As important as communication is, it’s just as crucial to do the right kind of communication. We very much encourage frequent video communication, which is much more personal than emails or even phone conversations. This is a great way for you to get to know your intern, and for them to feel like they’re truly part of the team.
Offer a temporary computer.
If needed, you may want to think about shipping the student a laptop for the summer and having them send it back to you once the internship is complete. Many students can’t afford a good computer, and this ensures that they’ll have access to everything they need to get the job done.
Put it all on the cloud.
This is pretty standard with any remote worker. You’ll want to make sure that your virtual intern has access to everything they need by making it available on the cloud. This should include all of your documents (Google Docs is a good option for this), as well as your CRM. Depending on the complexity of the work and your own internal organization systems, you may want to find an online project management tool as well—Trello and Basecamp are good places to start.
Offer it both ways.
When you create the job listing for your company’s internship, consider mentioning that the placement can be traditional, but that you’re open to hiring a virtual paraplanner if the right person comes along. This gives students a lot of flexibility, and you might find more great candidates than if you only open it to traditional workers.
At the end of the day, it’s all about finding that balance between making the most out of your internship and creating a role that works well for a wider range of students. It’s true that this is a lot to consider, but hiring a virtual intern might help you land the perfect person—someone who brings value to your business and offers plenty of new ideas. (And maybe even someone who’d like to stick around after you’ve invested time mentoring them!)
If you’re considering making this the next step for your business, jump over to the Simply Paraplanner Facebook page or group and let us know! There are plenty of like-minded people working on taking their company to the next level, so you’ll find plenty of advice and support from people exactly where you are!
Did You Know?
Twenty-Six percent of an advisors time is spent creating plans…which in turn suggest substantial opportunities for many/most advisors firms to better hire and leverage paraplanners or outsourcing support for the plan creation process.
It’s Time To Grow Your Business. We Can Help.
Having a virtual planner within your business can help free up more time and cut costs.
We can help with your candidate screenings. Schedule a 15 minute to learn how.