When a college student has an internship in their field of interest, they’re probably just happy to be there and be getting experience regardless of their actual tasks. But if you’re an employer looking to make an internship most useful for that student, here are some tips on how they can get the most out of their internship:
- Allow the intern to see what a typical day looks like in your position.
This can take many forms and differs depending on the job and field, but a few ideas include bringing them into any meetings they would be allowed in, giving them a hands-on task that would be applicable to the field, or just chatting with them at lunch or on a break about what it is you do. Chances are that college student is interning at this particular company because it relates to what they are studying and what they want to have as a career, and while they are probably just grateful to even be there no matter their tasks, it helps them see if this is what they truly want to do if they know what the job/field entails.
- Challenge them.
Let your interns know what it’s like to work under high-pressure or take on a daunting task. Internships are a learning opportunity. If the intern is debating whether or not they want to make a career out of this particular job or field, a challenge and how they handle it can help them make that decision about their true interest in the field. Even if the intern knows they have no future aspirations in the particular field, a challenge in any work setting is a growing opportunity and lets them learn more about themselves and build problem-solving skills.
- Make them show something for their work.
Encourage weekly write-ups on what the intern did that week or something to be produced by the end of the internship about what they did and learned. This helps interns reflect on their tasks, how well they performed them, and if they need to be doing more. Task write-ups would also help them moving forward in landing future jobs and internships as they could clearly understand and verbalize what the past internship taught them and how what they did there would help them in their new desired position.
- Encourage communication post-internship.
If you liked your intern and thought they had a good work ethic and brought something successful to the position, one of the best things you could do for them after they leave is be open for communication. It would be encouraging for them to know their boss was pleased with their work and helpful if you were there to answer possible future questions they have if the need arises. Especially if the intern is looking to pursue the field, you could be a great resource for them both in and outside of the office.