5 Tips to Help Interns Get the Most Out of Their Experience
Depending on the time of year, we can have anywhere from one to three (or more) interns in the office at The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing. We have interns who are here to learn about social media management, graphic and web design, and account management. The difficult part of having interns is helping them get the most out of their time here while still doing your job. Here are five tips for helping interns get the best experience possible:
- Be Available – Everyone is busy. Our days are usually packed with general day-to-day project work, client meetings, and project kick-offs. Somewhere in all of that, you need to take the time to answer your intern’s questions and get them involved. We all have a few minutes to spare and what better way to spend them than helping an upcoming professional. Don’t answer that question!
- Shadow – When new interns start, they probably aren’t ready to try a project on their own, and that’s okay. Instead of overwhelming them right away, have them shadow / follow someone in the office who does what they’re interested in. I’ve had one or two interns sitting behind me at my desk watching what I’m working on. I don’t necessarily slow down my work just because they’re there, but if they ask me a question (or two, or twenty) I take the time to answer them.
- Don’t Shut Them Out – Interns are with you to learn all that they can, right? So bring them in on meetings, project kick-offs, and internal presentations. By doing so, they can get a feel for what’s going on in the company and how to handle these situations when they enter the workforce. Also, ask their opinion; they just might have some cool ideas that you didn’t think of before.
- Training Projects – A good way to help your interns grow and learn is to give them a training / sample project. These could either be projects that you have already done or made-up projects. Either way, this is a good way for them to stretch themselves and see how much they have learned so far. Plus, the feedback you give them on their work will prove to be invaluable. And remember, you’re not there to coddle them. You’re there to help them learn so be honest with them about their work.
- Real Projects – When you feel that they’re ready, give them a real project to work on. Give them something that they can handle; start small. See how they do, and then go from there. Instead of giving them an entire project, you could pair them with a team member so they can tackle a larger project together.
These tips will help prepare interns for the real world after college and give you some guidance to ensure they don’t get ignored.