10 tips for making the most of interns, internships

On the Job

10 tips for making the most of interns, internships

Summer’s got a lot to offer: days at the pool, vacations to the beach and…interns.

Both the intern and employer can learn a lot during their time together.

Interns can add a new perspective and can contribute from big projects to faxing and filing. Employers can provide students with real-world experience, a boosted resume, and hundreds of connections.

To prepare for your summer at work either as an intern, or with an intern, take note of the guidelines below:

For interns

  1. Ask to help & ask for help—if your manager isn’t actively tasking you with assignments, as small as sorting mail, approach them to show your interest (and to give you something to do). If you don’t understand something, it’s better to ask for help than to deliver the wrong materials.
  2. Attend events & sit in on meetings—by actively participating in the office community, you learn more about the department and work behind the scenes. These give you the most exposure to the organization and serve as a great networking opportunity.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

For employers

  1. Implement a performance management process—set expectations for your intern and follow up throughout the summer to track their progress.
  2. Train your intern—this will help you express expectations for your intern 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.
  3. 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 so that you can gain the most from their time in the office.
  4. Have projects set up—there’s nothing worse than wasted time from an intern. They aren’t learning anything, and you aren’t getting help. Have long-term projects in mind for them to work on, but also give them short tasks to break up the monotony (even if it’s faxing and filing).
  5. 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.

With these tips in consideration, you’ll be able to make the most of any internship program.

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