I’ve completed a few of internships in my career, and I can safely say that they’ve had a huge impact on my professional development. When I graduated, taking that first step into the professional working world was proving to be tough. I realised quickly that I needed experience if I was going to get a step ahead of the competition.
As well as improving my CV, I was able to get a sense of what it would be like working in Marketing. I hadn’t worked in a professional environment before either, so getting an internship was the perfect way to ease myself into the working world.
For employers, it’s great to see how an employee will perform and whether they match the company’s culture and environment. Internships let companies and employees explore this relationship without the pressure of an employment contract hanging over their heads.
Internships have to be a two-way street, though. The employee and company have to get out what they put in, and it has to be beneficial for both parties. This is why it’s so important that an internship is well thought out. I’ve taken part in some that were so menial and anti-educational that it really felt like a poor use of everyone’s time.
At redPepper, we frequently have interns working with us. Whether it be for a couple of weeks or a couple of months. The reason that I love our approach so much is that we follow some best practices to ensure everything is enjoyable, educational, and useful:
- Sit down with the intern on their first day and have a proper induction. We get them introduced to all of the systems they need and ensure that they understand how everything works. Having a proper and informal induction lets them ask any questions they have and puts them at ease. I remember feeling a lot of uncertainty going into internships and a good induction definitely went a long way to helping me settle in!
- Get to know the intern. Make it a priority to find out what makes them tick and what they enjoy doing. As an example, I love writing (as you’d expect) and I found that a good internship would always get me involved with their writers. Whether it was blog writing, copywriting, or even a mini boot-camp with their team. Don’t just give them menial tasks, let them spread their wings!
- Be open and upfront about any sort of financial benefits to the internship. If it’s unpaid, expect your interns to demand a bit more in terms of valuable experience and education on your part. If it’s paid, be clear and let them know what you cover from the outset! This could be expenses or hourly pay. Never suggest or allude to regular pay to get them onboard with no intention of actually doing it. This is a sure-fire way to never get internship applications again.
- Most importantly, make them feel welcome! Everyone likes to feel like part of the team, even if they’re not going to be there for that long. Don’t isolate them from the team or expect them to introduce themselves around to everyone. Treat them like any new hire!
Internships are great for both sides. Just make sure that you do them the right way! If you do, the intern will be walking away with a great experience, some new friends, and maybe even a job offer. The employer will then get a happy, motivated worker who can help them keep everything moving during a busy period.
If you’re interested in an internship at redPepper, then feel free to get in touch! We can’t always offer them but we love hearing from eager, up-and-coming marketers.