How to Get the Most Out of Your Summer Intern

So, you decided to hire a summer intern. You’ve set them up with a desk and a computer and all seems right in the world. Now what?

Hiring young adults as summer interns can be an incredibly cost-effective way to increase your office’s productivity. However, it is important to make sure that both parties are making the most out of this opportunity. Here are our 5 best tips for getting the most our of your summer intern:

  1. Treat them as you would any other member of the team
    Want your intern to be productive? Make them feel at home and comfortable in your environment. You may not necessarily be able to give them a roomy, corner office with tons of windows, but do your best to give them a space they can own. Giving them the environment and tools they need to be successful is a great first step in maximizing the efforts of your intern.

    You can also do little things to make them feel welcomed day-to-day - include them in conversations, ask about themselves, if someone is making a lunch run see if they’d like anything. It’s all about making them feel like they are part of your team, not just an after thought.

  1. Let them have (real) responsibility
    Another huge part of making your intern feel like part of your team is to give them real projects to work on. Gone are the days of making interns do coffee runs, organize shelves and any other tedious work you can come up with. Students of all ages need to find value in the work they are doing - whether it be an internship or full time employment. I’m not suggesting that you give them free reign over your biggest client, but bringing them into important conversations and allowing them to actually contribute is incredibly important.

  2. Ask them what they would like to do
    Before hiring an intern you probably came up with some sort of plan about what they’d being doing, which is great, however, I also highly recommend asking the student what they’d like to do. If you have the ability to cater projects to your intern’s interest they are going to be so much more motivated to actually do the work. Allowing them to have some say in what they work on generates ownership over the projects and can help ignite interest in your work.

  3. Allow them to be creative
    If we at Campus Ink have learned anything from our interns, it’s that they have a much better pulse on what’s new and exciting than we do. Set some reasonable limits, but let your interns be creative. Give them room to explore, create, brainstorm, come up with new ideas. Who knows, maybe they’ll suggest something that can save you time and money. Sometimes a fresh look at a project or process can lead to a new (maybe even better) way of doing it.

  4. Trust them
    This last piece of advice right here might be the most important and simultaneously the hardest. You have to trust your intern. It’s incredibly cliche but trust is at the core of any good relationship - whether it be significant others, parents and children, businesses to customers, trust is key. When you show trust in the work your intern is doing, they will feel more confident in their work and will in-turn be able to take on more and more. This is by no means a 100% guarantee that they will never mess up. In fact, I could probably make a 100% guarantee that they will. But, you have to trust them and the process or you won’t get anywhere.

Interns are a cornerstone of our business here at Campus Ink. We have them throughout the school year, over the summer and everywhere in-between. We by no means have it all figured out, but what I can tell you is that over the course of the last few years our interns have produced some of the best work we have ever seen and have closed some of the biggest sales we have ever seen. We trust the learning process and give them room to be who they want to be. We believe in educating the next generation and helping them gain skills that they need to enter the workforce.

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