PR firms can make the most of summer interns. Each spring, college students begin searching for that competitive summer internship. As they wear out their keyboards by typing emails and performing Google searches, you too may receive requests from hopeful applicants. Choosing one or more of these students to shadow your employees and represent your company can be a worthwhile endeavor, if you choose wisely.
Like anything you do where you learn as you go, we have learned much from our experiences with summer interns over the last many years. This means we have chosen both wisely and unwisely. We have been both prepared and unprepared. We have learned which colleges and Universities provide the best-prepared interns. And we’ve learned how to put our company on the “internships available” list.
We typically welcome 1-3 interns each summer so summer wouldn’t be summer without at least one intern. Below I share tidbits of what we’ve learned and a few ways that you can make the most of summer interns too.
1. Choose Wisely.
Picking the best candidate to intern with your company is the important part! It is important to devote a good amount of time to searching through the resumes, just as you would do with any job applicant, to find those who would fit with your existing workplace environment. Consider what kind of intern your company needs. Remember that while the intern needs to come with knowledge of PR, public relations, publicity, internal and external communications, writing skills, and social media know-how, they are there to learn as well. There needs to be a balance of talent contribution and knowledge acquisition.
2. Remember, Failing to Plan is Planning To Fail.
Make a list of tasks for your summer intern to perform before their internship begins. Talk with your employees to develop a schedule that helps interns to absorb as much information about the industry and office culture, while simultaneously benefitting your business.
3. Train Your Intern(s).
Talk with your intern(s) about their goals and what hands-on experience they would like to walk away with. The amount they work
is usually dictated by the number of credit hours they want to earn. If they work excessive hours, they won’t be refreshed when school begins in the fall.
4. Make Your Internship Opportunity Available & Get Involved.
Developing relationships with intern coordinators at your local university can help you acquire the best talent for your organization. Oftentimes, intern coordinators send emails to qualified students recommending your company and notifying them of the internship position you have available. Internship coordinators can help vocalize your business, but also target the appropriate students, enabling your organization to make the most of summer interns.
5. Make Changes.
After your summer internship program has come to an end, make a list of the positives and negatives that came out of the experience. Note the problems and consider alternative routes in order to avoid repeating any difficulties next year. Internships are about trial and error. Keeping notes of the errors helps to make the most of your summer interns in upcoming years.
We hope you find your summer internship program to be as win-win as we do.