Most managers are able to recall their first internship, or a period of time spent establishing the fundamentals of the career they have today.
In marketing and PR, internships are a critical part of the learning process and an opportunity to practice the basics like writing, pitching editors, drafting releases and creating media relationships. But what does intern management entail for the person actually managing them? Not everyone is a natural born teacher and the responsibility of guiding someone’s first career steps can be a bit overwhelming.
So here we breakdown some tips to ensure effective learning and positive results from your internship team.
Before your interns step through the door, draft an outline of their duties and job descriptions. Explain clearly what you expect them to learn and what a job well done looks like. By doing so, you’ll not only ensure they use their time well, but you’ll have a clear set of standards to review when evaluating their performance.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins
One of the biggest mistakes managers make is not establishing two-way communication with their interns. It’s not a “set it and go” kind of relationship. Regular conversations should be had to ensure interns are grasping key concepts, enjoying the work, and excelling at their tasks. Let your interns know it’s ok to ask questions and that making mistakes is normal so long as they’re learning from them and growing. Be a mentor.
Provide Meaningful Tasks and Show Them the Big Picture
Although there is a lot more guidance and oversight involved in their management, interns should still be treated with the same respect as any employee on your staff. Create clear project goals and assign tasks that will further their learning; don’t use them as extended admins. Explain why things are done a certain way and where they fit into the big picture. If you do so, they’ll be more engaged, more motivated, and more passionate about their work.