Preparing for your intern’s first day

Preparing for your intern’s first day may seem self explanatory and futile. If you only intend to give a brief rundown of the duties at hand, you should reconsider your approach. Anticipate that your intern may be a little nervous and will need a warm welcome to get them motivated to do their absolute best. Make your internship introduction just as important as one for your new hires. Here are some useful ways that you can prepare for your intern’s first day.

Orientation

In order to start the internship off right, your interns must know the company. What are the values, mission, and goals of the company? How will the intern fit into these plans? Include basic information like required hours, dress code, and safety regulations. Give an overall outline of what will be expected of the intern and set aside time for them to fill out any necessary forms.

Provide the interns with a tour of the facility to give them a feel for the company culture and to meet the faces they will be working with. Be sure to address each intern by name when introducing them to the staff. When an intern knows more about what and who makes up the organization, they will be able to identify how their productivity will benefit everyone as a whole. A stack of paperwork and employee handbook cannot convey this valuable message alone.

Photography students working on a project.Internship Program Outline

Take the guess work out of your internship by simply laying it all out on the line from the start. Give your intern a detailed look inside what will be required of them. Everything from a day in the life to the objective learning goals of the entire program, your interns deserve to be in the know when it comes to their impending future. Discuss daily responsibilities, short term and long term projects, and evaluation procedures with your interns. Cover the learning objectives of the program and what you hope the intern can gain from the experience. Use clear and concise language so that everything will be easy to understand. Now is also a good time to address any questions that your interns have about the program. Remember to be a good listener to make the intern feel welcomed and at ease. This new experience doesn’t have to be foreign and filled with uncertainty. You will get more out of your intern when you take the time to be open in the beginning.

Mentors/Supervisors

Assign your intern a “go to” person on the very first day. Chose a mentor that is experienced in the position that the intern will be modeling. The mentor will execute assignments, conduct evaluations, and answer questions that the intern may have at any given time. The mentor will be responsible for the internship screening process, interview,  and orientation.  Having a mentor provides a point of reference for your interns. In addition to showing the ropes to increase productivity and morale, the mentor can provide a great business connection for many years to come.

Have everything in place before your intern’s first day to ensure success. Visit www.bridge.jobs to find local in interns in the Rhode Island area. Over 4,000 students are registered!

Learn more about creating an internship program by getting the Guide to Structuring a Successful Internship Program.

Determining if an intern is a good fit for your business

Finding the right intern for your company is a crucial component to making your internship program successful. The intern needs to be a good fit for the company as a whole. Everyone who is looking to get their foot in the door of the industry may not fit into certain environments as well as others. It is your job to weed out who may not fit the bill so that you can be one step closer to finding your diamond in the rough. When you know what to look for, it will be a lot easier to make the best decision. Here are a few ways to determine if a potential intern is a good fit for your business.

woman with laptopMutually Beneficial

In order for an internship to work to its full capacity, both parties must be benefiting from the program. Identify tasks that can help to ease your workload while providing a learning experience for the candidate. Seek out motivated aspiring professionals that have long term goals to make their career dreams a reality. There has to be a genuine thirst to learn and excel in this position. In order to provide the stepping stone, your company must have a solid program in place before you look to hire candidates. Your company will benefit from the extra entry level help that can potentially lead to full time employment when the internship is over. Your intern will already be trained and ready to work. Employees who have a history as an intern with the company tend to have higher retention rates.

Conformity

In order to properly function in the new position, the intern must be a good fit for the company. Determine what characteristics are must haves on your list for potential interns. Will the new intern be able to adapt to their new environment?  Discuss the company culture with potential interns and discern whether or not they will be a good fit. If you have an office of more mature individuals, seek out graduate students or those in the midst of career change. You may benefit more from someone who has a little more life experience and who are ready to take control of their careers. If you don’t mind more of a molding process, seek out high school seniors and undergraduates who are motivated enough to get a head start in the game.

Experience

It shouldn’t come to you as a surprise if your candidates have little to no related experience on their resumes. You will need to take a deeper look at the fine print to determine who will be up for the challenge of your company’s internship program. Ask questions about previous community service and volunteer work that may be relevant to the position. Get information about the intern’s coursework and projects to bridge the gaps between what can be useful for your company.

Qualities like leadership and teamwork can be concentrated to fit into this new role. However, if your internship requires the candidates to have some experience directly in the industry, don’t waste time interviewing candidates who are lacking the skills needed for the internship. No amount of likability will make up for what is mandatory knowledge. Make your internship posting clear and concise so that applicants know what is required and who shouldn’t apply.

Can you find the perfect intern for your company with these great tips?  Visit www.bridge.jobs to find local talent in Rhode Island.  Create an amazing internship program with the Guide to Structuring a Successful Internship Program.

8 Ways to get ready for the first day of your internship

Now that you’ve landed the internship of your dreams, you want to make a good first impression. You have to go into this experience ready to take away all of the benefits that you can. Although you may be feeling a little nervous or even afraid, you have to pull it together and start things off right. Whether this is your first internship or not, you have to prepare properly in order to be successful.

Here are eight ways to get ready for the first day of your internship.

1. Be on time

The last thing you need to do is be late on the first day of your internship. You don’t want your superiors to second guess giving you this opportunity. Do all that you can to ensure that you will be on time the first day. Do a test run to the facility at an earlier time and know traffic trends. Get up earlier than needed to prevent any hiccups in your morning routine.

Be On Time for Your Internship

2. Do your research

Take some time to search a little background of the work you will be doing and how it affects the entire company. If you go into your first day blindly, it will be easy to become confused if you get an information overload. Take some time to become acquainted with your new position through research of the tasks, duties, and purpose of your role.

3. Know your company

Even though you have done extensive research of the company to get through the interview, it is important to gain additional information about the company before the first day. Be in the know with the company culture, mission statement, and industry. Just because you are an intern doesn’t mean that you can’t be included in the conversation.

4. Dress the part

When you look good, you feel good. Put a little extra effort into the outfit you will be wearing on the first day of your internship. Make sure that you are well groomed so that you are a complete package. Ask about the company culture and dress code in the interview so that you won’t be over or under dressed.

5. Be prepared to network

You will be meeting lots of new people who work in a field that you are aspiring to become a part of.  Bring your A game conversation and business cards to boot so that no one will forget who you are.

6. Bring what you need

At the start of an internship, you will need to take lots of notes to keep up with everyone else. Taking notes will allow you to have a point of reference and not ask the same questions twice so have the pen and pad handy. Depending on the company, you may need to bring a computer bag or briefcase. Consult with your internship supervisor prior to the first day if you have any questions about what to bring.

7. What not to bring

Don’t bring any distractions on the first day. If possible, leave your cell phone in a locker or in the car. The last thing you want is to get caught texting or chatting when you aren’t supposed to and it is very tempting to do it when you have access to your device.

8. Bring a positive attitude

Push all negativity out of your mind and go into this experience with a positive attitude. Be prepared to work and go above and beyond what is expected of you. A nice smile and a will to work will get you very far in your career.

Do you think you have what it takes to make a good first impression?  Visit www.bridge.jobs to start searching for an internship in Rhode Island.  Just register, search, and apply!

When to say no to internship requests

Internships are meant to be meaningful learning experiences that you can take with you all throughout your blossoming career. You will want to make a good impression and be respectful to everyone you meet. However, there are times you may feel as though you are being taken advantage of. Learn when it is time to put your foot down and be assertive without burning important business bridges. Here are appropriate times that it is okay to say no to an internship request.

Working Unreasonable Hours

As with a regular job, you should be assigned designated hours that you are required to work during your internship. Even though some projects can occasionally run late, you should never be expected to regularly work extreme hours. If you happen to notice a pattern of these obligations placed upon you, it’s time to address the situation, especially if you also have coursework you need to balance. Recant what hours were agreed upon at the initial point of the internship with your superior. Although you may not want to make waves, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Even though you are not a full time employee, it’s never profitable to allow bad trends to run their course.

Working too late

Too Much Busy Work 

The term “intern” is a widely used stereotype for the person who does all the busy work and runs meaningless errands. In the real world of internships, companies are held liable to deliver a hands on experience in the industry that will benefit both parties involved, especially if the intern is receiving academic credit, is unpaid, or both. Unless you are interning to be a personal assistant, there is no reason that you should constantly be treated like one. When an employer is not meeting their half of the bargain, there needs to be some concessions made.

In order to remedy the problem, you must bring your concerns to the attention of management. Politely state that you would like to feel more challenged in your work and are willing to step things up to learn what you need to make the internship a success. Employers value a hard worker who isn’t afraid to step up to the plate.

Questionable Duties

If you are ever uncomfortable completing a task because you fear it will cross some legal boundaries, stop in your tracks. Don’t be the puppet that does someone’s dirty work. First you will need to evaluate the task and determine whether it is an illegal practice. Next you must bring your concerns to your superiors. Simply state that you think that the task is illegal and that you don’t want to do anything wrong that will hurt the company name. Chances are there was a mistake made in the assignment. If indeed your suspicions are true and the task was no mistake, take the matter to the proper authorities to prevent future interns from falling into the same trap.

Stand up for yourself gracefully during your internship. Talk with your manager on a regular basis so that situations can be diffused before any trouble arises. You will gain more respect by being forthcoming versus slandering the company name.

Visit www.bridge.jobs to search for internships in Rhode Island and be assertive yet subtle on your next internship assignment.

Why it’s a good idea to pay your interns

Interns bring so many good things to your organization, top among them a fresh perspective, increased productivity, and a vigor to learn and grow. Providing internships increases your visibility on campuses, sends the message to your community that you are invested in tomorrow’s workforce, and helps you create a pipeline of talented individuals to potentially hire as full time employees.

If you are thinking about taking on an intern or re-vamping your internship program, you have probably started asking yourself if you should pay your intern, and if so, how much.

There are a lot of great reasons to pay your interns:

  1. Rhode Island offers matching funds to employers who take on interns. These funds can help you cover the expenses of hosting an intern. Learn more and apply here.
  2. While learning is certainly motivating, so is pay! A paid intern may be more likely to work hard, stay late, and put in extra effort because pay makes them feel more valued. Plus, if they are happy, they are more likely to spread the good word about your organization to their peers which can be a very powerful recruiting tool.
  3. You can avoid potential legal issues by paying your interns. In order to host an intern without pay, you must meet certain requirements. While most unpaid interns are simply happy to get the experience, there have been some cases where legal issues have arisen due to the assignments (and lack of education) interns were given.

Convinced you should pay your interns? Well, how much? We recently took a look at the postings on bridge.jobs across many industries. Here is what we found for the average hourly wages. You can use this as a guide to determine how much to pay your interns but know that the decision is largely up to you and how much you can afford to pay your interns.

Job Category Average Rate
Accounting/Finance $11.74
Admin/Office $11.34
Agriculture $8.50
Architecture $13.00
Arts/Design/Fashion $9.56
Chemistry $11.00
Communications/Media $10.21
Computer Science/IT $13.14
Customer Service $11.12
Education $12.95
Engineering $13.16
Environment $10.25
General Help $10.88
Health/Medical $28.33
Hospitality/Food $9.47
Management $10.07
Marketing/P.R. $11.34
Non-profit $10.20
Other $11.84
Political Science $7.75
Retail/Sales $9.00
Social Work $10.50
Sports/Recreation $7.98
Overall Average $11.56

If you decide you really can’t pay your interns with wages, there are other benefits you can provide.

  • Academic credit. You will need to work with the college to develop a learning path that you, the student and the college can agree on, but academic credit is a great way of “paying” your interns.
  • A great learning experience. Some students would happily work for a great organization without pay as long as it gave them the necessary skills and experience to start their careers. Just make sure to sit down with the student and develop a list of learning goals, assign the intern a mentor, and avoid the urge to just give them a bunch of busy work. If they are working for free, they need to get the education to make it feel worth it.

No matter if you choose to pay or not pay your interns, it is ultimately up to you and your business. Just remember in either case, the purpose of an internship is to learn and gain experience so that should be your top priority when developing your internship program.

Are you ready to host an intern at your business?  Visit www.bridge.jobs to find local interns in Rhode Island.  Learn more about coordinating an internship program with the Guide to Structuring a Successful Internship Program.