Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast! Internships can get a bad rap, but done correctly, they can add tremendous value to your company and to your interns. Today I’m joined by my two children to talk to them about their experience as interns over the summer and what their advice would be to people who are hoping to make the most of an internship or first job.
Jake interned with financial advisors at Equitable Advisors in Pittsburgh and is finishing a degree in Economics. Jaqueline (JQ) is a sophomore at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and is working toward a degree in Organizational Leadership, hoping to start her own business. She interned with Lynn Berry of Bridge Insurance Group in Canonsburg and Melissa Six at Compassionate Care.
Expectations going into the internship
JQ: I wanted a real professional job experience to see if it’s something I would want to do in the future.
Jake: My goal was two-fold. I wanted to soak up as much knowledge. Second, I wanted to provide as much value as possible. As an intern, you’re limited because of your position and because you are learning. I wanted to make life easier for my bosses to the point where my absence would be felt.
What did you learn?
JQ: I got to work on marketing plans and create content for social media. I learned a lot about networking and professional correspondence.
Jake: I improved my communication skills and problem-solving ability. Advisors would come up and ask me things, and I would use Google to figure out how to give them what they needed. I learned how to strategize in financial advising and help clients.
Q: What roles at your company do (or could) interns manage? How do your interns’ responsibilities line up with the objectives for their internships?
What was the most valuable part of the experience?
JQ: I got to organize an intern lunch with another intern. We invited local business owners, organized all the details, and gave presentations. I presented on leading without a title and enjoyed learning more about setting up networking events and meeting with local leaders.
Jake: The most valuable piece was sitting in the open office eight hours a day, hearing the conversations that the financial advisors were having and the questions they were asking each other.
Q: What does your company do to allow interns to add value to the organization? How are you tracking your intern experiences to ensure they are getting the most out of their role?
Tips For Interns:
Prepare For Your Internship
Get a good headshot.
Update your LinkedIn profile.
Ensure your public profiles are professional.
Ask relevant, impactful questions.
Ask for feedback. Specifically, ask wat you can be doing better.
Develop a relationship with the people you are working with.
Bring positive energy every day.
Write a handwritten letter to your boss and the person who accepted you into the internship.
Spend time journaling and reflecting on what you learned and the positive aspects of the experience.
Q: Have you ever been an intern? What was the best part of your experience? What do you wish your boss would have done differently when you were an intern? How could you improve the intern experience at your company?
If you have a business, consider how you can utilize interns to benefit your company and invest in the next generation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about funds available to help you get started with an internship program and we will pass along information about resources available. If you already offer an internship at your company, think about how you can maximize the experience for your company and interns. Work on an exit interview you can do with your interns to evaluate what you could do better and what they can do differently in future internships/jobs.