Whether you’re managing interns or you are one, there is a lot of learning that can happen during a summer internship.
Interns offer a new perspective and can often contribute to bigger projects, in addition to just faxing and filing. And an employer can provide students with real-world experience, a boosted resume and hundreds of connections.
So, here are some tips for everyone to get the most out of their summer experience:
- Be proactive: ask to help & ask for help — if your manager isn’t actively assigning you projects or tasks take the initiative and show your interest. Also, if you don’t understand something, ask questions. “As an intern, you’re not expected to know everything and have all the answers,” says Laura Peterson, staffing consultant at Unum. “It’s always better to ask for help when you need it, than to deliver the wrong materials.”
- Be involved: attend events & sit in on meetings because by actively participating, you can learn more about the department and the work happening behind the scenes. These give you the most exposure to the organization and serve as a great networking opportunity.
- Network — sometimes “it’s all about who you know” and everyone seems to know someone. Take the chance to talk with everyone in your office and extend your reach to new departments. This could help you land your next internship or full-time job.
- Request feedback—you’ll never know how you can improve if you don’t ask for feedback from your supervisor. They will appreciate your dedication to the job but don’t be afraid of constructive criticism.
- Work hard—often times, companies hire multiple interns at once, making it hard to stand out. Working hard will allow your work to speak for itself and will make it easier for your supervisor to write a glowing letter of recommendation.
- Train your intern—this will help you express expectations and simultaneously show your interns the ropes. Give them a tour of the office and run them through everything you know they’ll need to know.
- Implement a performance management process—set expectations for your intern and follow up throughout the summer to track their progress.
- Be approachable—by creating a welcoming environment, you’ll set up a better relationship with your intern. Introduce them to co-workers, be willing to help and frequently ask if they have questions. This will make them feel comfortable and prepared .
- Be prepared —there’s nothing worse than wasted time from an intern. They aren’t learning anything, and you aren’t getting help. “Make sure you have challenging projects in mind for your intern to work on, and also consider giving them short tasks or self-study recommendations to break up the monotony,” says Peterson.
- Help your intern set goals—setting attainable goals will help you track their progress and give them a sense of accomplishment at the end of the summer. It will give them motivation to work hard and make it easier for you to serve as a reference.
“Internships can become an integral part of the talent-sourcing process for employers,” says Peterson. “They are a great way for employers to evaluate potential talent while also providing a valuable learning experience.”
With these tips in consideration, you’ll be able to make the most of any internship program.