Creating a Win-Win Intern Program

 There are many different perceptions of internships — probably because the position varies widely from company to company. Viewed from the corporate standpoint, that perception can range from a need to create work for that green person to a rewarding feeling that you’ve mentored someone well. On the intern side, you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs because nobody has time to give you project or you can get a jump start on a great career. Based on Plus One’s recent internship program, here are some tips on making it a win-win situation.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Interns

First and foremost, companies should take time to mentor interns and give them exposure to a field or industry. But how can the companies get a quality return as well?

  • Stockpile projects. During times when you don’t have any interns on staff, there are always “if-I-had-more-time-I’d-do-that” tasks but you don’t always recall them when intern season rolls around. File those projects away and pull them out when the interns start.
  • Grunt work is OK. Seriously! In our small company, even the CEO does grunt work! The interns will have to deal with the grunt work as well — just make sure there is balance with more substantive projects.
  • Include interns in staff (or department) meetings and brainstorming. The intern might have the big idea! And even if they don’t, having them present gives them a better understanding of the inner workings of your company or any office environment, which allows them to contribute more in the future.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

If you are an intern, this advice can make the experience more valuable:

  • Share your goals of an internship and career interests – If you are drawn to certain subject areas or want to acquire a new skill set, make sure your supervisor knows! You may not be able to run a marketing campaign by yourself, but they might assign components to you and keep you informed so you can see a campaign start to finish.
  • Volunteer for anything and everything – The more you raise your hand to help, the more chances you have to build your resume or portfolio.
  • Communicate your skills (even if you don’t know how they can be used) – One of our interns was certified in Excel. A client was running an election campaign with outdated target lists. Guess who was able to jump in and really make a difference in the data integrity of the entire campaign?

What the Plus One Interns Had to Say

“I had a great experience working for Plus One this summer and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity. I learned so many things that will help me in my future career. Everyone at Plus One was so great to work with and helped all of us learn so many new things about working in a business that we might not have already known. I got some experience working with HR, which is my future career goal, and it was great to see how it works and what I would be doing on a day to day basis if I do decide to pursue that career. Thank you so much to the Plus One team!” – Molly

“I am extremely grateful to be able to work with Plus One this past summer. It was a lot of fun to be a part of a team that is highly motivated and focused to get their work done no matter what the project is. Being able to learn about an industry that I was not familiar with at all was really interesting. Whether the projects and task were small or large, the entire team was helpful in guiding us in the right direction and giving us valuable knowledge about the industry. From writing press releases, marketing articles, creating excel sheets, and sorting client data, I learned so much from Plus One. This summer was awesome, and I am really excited to take the things I learned at Plus One and translate them into my final year at college and future employment. Thank you Plus One and the entire team!”  – Zach

“I am very grateful to have had the chance to serve as an intern at Plus One this summer! It was impressive to see so much work being done among such a small group of employees. Not to mention, all of the employees were incredibly welcoming. Being able to join in on their weekly calls and hear about all the projects they were managing on a daily basis was truly impressive. I was able to provide comments on their output and contribute to some of the organizational aspects of their work through physical file and excel sorting. Thank you Plus One!” – Ellie

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