How to offer an unforgettable internship experience

How to offer an unforgettable internship experience

If you are a student or a graduate, you must have went through at least one or two internships. Some see it as free labor, others see it as an opportunity to learn. I prefer the latter, especially when it's paid to be honest.

I did 3 internships in 2 different companies before graduating and I had the chance at work to lead a number of interns the past year in multiple scenarios.

I am writing this article for those who are in a position to supervise interns.

Be kind

When interns come to your place, they are already on guard, it's a new space for them, they don't know who to talk to or what to do.. the last thing they need is someone being mean to them.

At the first meeting with an intern, it is preferred to make them feel welcome, show them their workspace, introduce them to the team and prepare them for an on-boarding process.

It's true that they might be less experienced than you but it doesn't justify belittling them and being arrogant. Give respect to get respect.

Be generous

Don't hold back when teaching them something. Share everything you can with them.

For example, if you see they are interested in a topic you know about, it wouldn't hurt if you take some time and write down a document they can keep as a reference.

Also, don't forget to check up on them every now and then. It is highly likely for them to be stuck on something for a while and hesitating to ask you. Take the initiative and ask them about the progress and provide help if necessary.

Give them credits

This is very important. Do not take credits for their work just because you are managing them. Always make sure you give credits to the interns for their contribution. This way you can earn their respect and encourage them to deliver more work. You must of course highlight that you supervised them, but never steal credits.

Challenge them

Interns are usually very eager to show their abilities and learn new things during their internship. Boring them with unchallenging tasks only passes a message that you value people who execute without thinking over problem solvers.

Instead, try to include them in real projects, give them small but impactful problems to solve. Nobody wants an internship where their thinking is unappreciated.

Help them find themselves

Before graduating, people don't really know what career path they want to follow. It is your role to give them your overview of the job market as it is and guide them. Let them have a look at what are  the real responsibilities of different job titles and educate them about companies' politics.

If you can't, at l least connect them with someone who can or recommend them a book | article | video.

In this article we discussed how to create a good internship experience for an intern. We highlighted the importance of a kind and generous environment. Also, we called the attention to how crucial it is to invest some resources in guiding and challenging the trainees during the internship.

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