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What a great internship experience looks like

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Let’s all create great internship experiences for our early career talent. You’ll leave the work world better than you found it. It provides students an opportunity to explore their interests and develop interesting careers. And, of course, it’s a great pipeline for future full-time hires.

Additionally, internship programs are a source of great recruitment marketing content. Interns will share their interesting, real stories about the program. Ultimately, these stories will communicate culture to current and future students.  

Here’s how you provide a great internship experience at your company: 

1. Give them work where they’ll excel.  

Your interns are uniquely talented and bring diverse skills to the company. Audit their strengths and assign their first tasks accordingly. 

Not sure where to start? Embrace generational stereotypes. For example, 98 percent of U.S. college students use Instagram, and many company Instagram channels are a few steps behind channel trends and engagement rates. So, drafting a new Instagram strategy could be an ideal project for interns. 

2. Listen to what they have to say. 

If your organization values servant-leadership, put it into practice. Give interns the floor, and your attention. Your interns will feel seen, heard and may even want to share the experience. The result could be a compelling story like Rebecca’s. 

3. Take them to your leaders.

Interns who have access to leadership are able to explore their own interests and start to envision potential career paths. Involve your manager to create a skip-level relationship. Michael Dell recently spoke to a new intern class, why don’t you ask your company’s CEO or founder do the same?

4. Let them run with it.

When possible, provide interns with the opportunity for ownership of projects. Autonomy at work boosts job performance, retention and leads to higher job satisfaction. As the Sonoco storytellers express, the freedom the interns were given connected them strongly to the company for the summer, and beyond.

5. Show them what’s possible. 

If you’ve found dedicated, diligent interns, don’t hide them away in single departments. Whether they’re working on-site or virtually, introduce them to all areas of your company. Develop a rotation of department assignments, or schedule meet and greets with different teams. And, be sure to identify team members who themselves were once interns and invite them to share their stories with the current class. 

Great internship experience = great recruitment marketing 

Provide a great internship experience to your college students and recent graduates because it’s good business. But while you’re at it, capture your interns’ stories. They’re also great recruitment marketing.

Want to learn more about early careers and intern recruitment marketing content? Download the guide.