This appeared in print as part of the story “Best Laid Plans” In 2007, the City of Columbia’s visioning document suggested that council...
Interns are a staple in the MayeCreate company culture. I find myself encouraging more and more of my clients to hire an intern to help with their marketing efforts. If you’ve always been hesitant, here’s your Intern 101 guide.
Marketing tasks, bookkeeping, answering phones, filing, or even running errands — ultimately, any project they have the skills for. I find that super technical tasks (unless they’re going to school for it) are difficult to delegate to interns. The best activities for short-term interns are specific projects or routine-structured activities. At MayeCreate, those activities may include simple site updates, business card and letterhead design, blogging, social media posting, photo editing, or illustrations.
Many degree programs require students to have an internship before they can graduate. Fortunately, we live in a college town, so there’s lots of college interns available. “Work closely with the school’s career services office,” says Dan Gomez-Palacio, director of career services for Columbia College. “These offices will post your positions and help you recruit candidates, typically at no charge. Consider attending local career fairs or events to speak with students directly.”
Sharon Wood-Turley, MU science and agricultural journalism program chair, shared: “One of the best things you could do is establish a relationship with the faculty in the departments from which you hope to recruit interns. Explain what type of skill set you are looking for, and the faculty contact will help you connect with the students who will best fit your needs.”
Gomez-Palacio says it’s best to start early, as students are often planning internships for subsequent semesters.
A new perspective and tech skills. Interns can give you a fresh set of eyes and perspective to look at things a little differently. They can be super tech savvy, so they can help you digitize your marketing list, start a blogging campaign, or get a handle on your social media without much training.
“The role of supervising an intern is critical to the success of a student,” Gomez-Palacio says. “It starts before the student even gets there and continues throughout the experience. If managed well, interns can accomplish a great deal, add new ideas to your organization, infuse energy and excitement into your staff, and complete projects.”
List out intern tasks and responsibilities, goals, and expectations, and learn your intern’s goals.
Create process documents or training videos to explain tasks.
Make sure new hires understand the office environment and staff roles.
Check in early and often, even micromanage a bit at first. Remember, he or she is settling into the workforce.
Anticipate a learning curve. Point out the things your intern does well and areas for improvement.
Keep daily tasks or projects specific. Your intern’s time is limited and it’s likely he or she doesn’t have a fully developed skill set for problem solving in your work environment.