It’s hard to stress this point enough: Internships are lifelines for emerging professionals and the structures in which they are interning.
Hiring an intern can be a catalyst for jumpstarting their career, or the rerouting of their career. Need to proofread but don't have the time? Interns can. Need some new fresh ideas for social media? Interns have lots of ideas. Need someone to keep track of emails and communications with others? Interns can do that and more.
I’ve had internships within the nonprofit sector, event planning, the entertainment industry, and educational institutions. Throughout those experiences I’ve been able to learn what I like, don’t like, what I’m good at and how I can improve, and many hidden tips of these trades that I wouldn’t have been able to understand before. But, sometimes internships don’t offer enough of these. Here’s how you can make sure you create an internship experience that will keep your intern pipeline full!
Don’t Load Them Up With Busy Work
The stereotypical intern experience is always going to be overwhelming for a nervous young person with a billion coffees in their hands looking to get a word in. Don’t make that true. Give interns work you would have liked to have as an emerging professional. Let them sit in with you and learn valuable skills that will positively impact their careers and potentially your business if you hire them permanently.
Connect Them To Peers
Mentors are important. Incredibly important. Make an effort to connect your interns to team members and members of your network that they can learn from and whom can connect them to more people in the industry of their choice.
Stay Checked In
There are barely enough hours in the day, but when you can, schedule some time to check in with your intern(s). It is so important to receive feedback as an intern, and to understand how you’re doing so far. As a veteran intern, there’s been so many times where I thought I was doing horribly, then turns out I was going above and beyond! That verbal communication is everything.
Give Them Realistic Goals
This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. Focusing isn’t as natural in a work from home environment and a lot of emerging professionals’ home environments are not always conducive to working remotely. Give your intern goals that are realistic, but challenging for new people to the field. Make sure to communicate these goals effectively.
Promote That You Will Implement These Practices In The Intern Interview
What attracts interns the most is knowing that they’ll be able to gain knowledge from their experience. Be sure to reference all of the benefits they will gain and a description that includes the company culture.
These tips will help you have a mutually beneficial internship program with any type of business.
Happy intern season!
About The Author
Sierra Smith is a project manager at Kolor Society, a recent graduate of Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications, and a self-described “blerd” who loves science fiction, animation and losing herself in a good book.