So you’ve created the most compelling internship posting out there, you’ve posted it at a number of colleges in your region, you’ve reviewed the resumes and cover letters of a slew of qualified candidates, interviewed a handful of applicants, and made your final selection for your intern(s). You’ve got a fantastic new hire, and the summer ahead of you…..now what?!
To make the internship a truly fulfilling, mutually beneficial, and educational experience for your intern, consider some of the following steps:
1) Create an internship contract or agreement that details the expectations for both you and the intern, describes learning outcomes, and includes projects the intern will tackle. Having a contract to review together and both sign will give you a solid foundation and make your work together sufficiently structural and official.
2) Develop a set of internship goals with your intern during your first few days together. The goals should be written by the intern with your advice and feedback. They can include both work-related and personal/professional development goals. The goals should be achievable in the time you have together and should focus on the impact the intern can have at your organization.
3) Check in with your intern on a regular basis — don’t just let this person sink or swim. An intern is there to work for you, but also to learn and grow as a professional. Build intentional touch-base time throughout the internship to get a pulse on how work is progressing, if goals are being reached, and if there is learning being achieved. Consider including a mid-point and end-of-internship evaluation so that you can make any course corrections needed as you go.
4) Provide opportunities for professional networking and reflection within your organization for the intern beyond you, the supervisor. Make sure your intern is able to meet and connect with leaders and professionals across your organization. If you are a small organization (1-5 people), are there organizations you can partner with that your intern could also connect with and learn from during the internship? Your intern is not only learning how to “do the work,” but also figuring out where he/she fits in the larger professional world of which your organization is a part.
5) Most importantly, have fun! Hosting an intern is an opportunity for your organization to be energized by fresh ideas from outside perspectives who value the work that you do. Make sure to build in opportunities to get to know your intern, have the person become a “part of the team,” and learn as much from your intern as he/she will from you.
Looking for an intern?
Connect directly with the individuals and offices responsible for coordinating internships in the schools and departments within our region’s universities and colleges with ConnectVA’s Connect to Students.
Register now for February 19th’s Regional Nonprofit Career & Internship Fair hosted by ConnectVA and VCU University Career Center from 12pm – 3pm in the VCU Student Commons. To register, please go through HireVCURams. After logging in go to the “Career Events” drop down menu and search “Nonprofit Career and Internship Fair”. If you do not have a HireVCURams account, please create your account prior to registering.
And make sure to:
Register for Internship Bootcamp on January 9th with ConnectVA, UofR and VCU
ConnectVA Guest Blogger: Joslyn Bedell, Associate Director for Employer & Experiential Development, University Career Center at Virginia Commonwealth University.