Interns? Yes, please.
When I first learned of the marketing industry, I was a 17-year-old senior in high school. My art teacher has shared that there was a business just up the road from my school, that was offering internships for graphic design. I applied and was accepted. Even though my dream was graphic design, my reality was administrative. Over the next few years, I worked hard, had proven myself, and earned a full-time paid production artist position during my first year of college.
My high school art teacher saw something in me and recommended an internship. A business owner had taken the chance to get to know me, saw my work ethic, and hired me. Throughout the six years, I was employed by this company, I had gained experience in just about every department there could be in a marketing firm. I went from “high school girl answering phones”, to working directly with print suppliers and photographers.
Why is my journey important to you?
If it hadn’t been for that art teacher or that first business owner, I may have never pursued graphic design.
If that business owner hadn’t recognized the value and spirit I brought into his business, I would have never had the experience to grow as a young professional in the marketing industry. I perceived everything as a “teachable moment” and there were indeed some difficult lessons. What remained consistent, though, was (and still is) the dedication and positive influence my professional network surrounded me with. As leaders in our community and in our professions, we have a responsibility to our fellow employees to be the best version of ourselves. This, in turn, encourages others around us to be better interns or employees.
Having an intern or job shadow can be taxing on an organization if not well prepared for. I feel privileged to say that in my experience, I had a clear set of rules and expectations – to which I was able to meet and exceed. I reported to one person, who kept in close contact with me and provided me with very valuable constructive criticism. My success was measurable and after twenty some-odd years, I’m still going strong.
Why businesses should consider an internship program.
As a business owner and leader in your community, you are a great example of success. Having an intern program or job shadow program implemented in your business will put you in direct contact to positively inspire youth – and help them determine their career path. You may be influencing the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington, or Sheryl Sandberg.
Incorporating internships can also show you areas of your business that could be improved. Oftentimes, interns and job shadows can see flaws in the workflow process, have creative ideas on how to resolve problems or provide outside-of-the-box thinking that is just what your business needs. What makes a program successful is establishing clear expectations and procedures on how your organization plans on managing interns. Read more about what Forbes Magazine says about internship programs>>
Over the years, I have had the opportunity to speak with many parents and students about marketing, graphic design, websites and all the other little pieces that marketing touches. What stands out the most to me, is that students have no idea how far it reaches.
I wanted to get into marketing before. But now, knowing I can do video, or design websites, or use social media for businesses, now I’m excited.
Interns want to learn.
Think about the projects that you have in your office that need to be completed. What relevant tasks does your business have that an intern can assist with? Having an intern doesn’t mean you give that student the “grunt” work or unrelated tasks no one else wants to complete. Incorporating an intern is beneficial to both parties only when the work being completed is in the line of study.
Bringing an intern into the business is a positive for your business reputation. We share about community development, community branding, and the importance of getting involved. When you align yourself with colleges, area high schools, etc., you provide positive experiences to all participating parties. A successful program and developing a professional relationship with your interns will allow the students to talk about their experience with peers, friends, and family members. Talk about positive, free advertising!
Looking to positively impact your community, while giving valuable work experience? Consider incorporating an internship program in your organization.