Editor’s Note: They’re often a quiet bunch, those interns. It’s easy to assume you know what they’re thinking … and then go and do the exact opposite of what they want and need. To the detriment of everyone.
So we asked one of our interns, “What do interns want their bosses to hear?“
1. Interns want a variety of experiences.
Though there are some departments within an agency that are not our cup of tea, we are always looking to gain knowledge from multiple branches. So even if you think a task is out of our job description, let us give it a try anyway.
This adds extra help wherever it’s needed and although we may fail miserably or hate the department by the end, part of having an internship is figuring out what we don’t want to do in addition to figuring out what we do want to do.
2. Asking questions can be scary.
Starting any new job is scary, but starting one as an intern at the bottom of the totem pole can be even scarier. Being the youngest and probably the least qualified as an intern is not a comfortable position to be in. We never want to fear looking dumb or out of place, so when it comes to asking questions, we tend to be more inclined to keep our mouths shut.
If we feel comfortable and less intimidated by the people we have to direct our questions to, we will ask more questions, complete projects better and ultimately gain more knowledge from the internship experience.
3. Invite us to your meetings.
You may dread meetings, but as interns we long to be included in them, especially because sitting in on meetings is an opportunity that is really only available at an internship. Especially when the meetings involve projects we have worked on, just sitting in the corner taking notes is something we want to be involved in and something that can be beneficial to you.
As interns we may not have a direct say in the topics being discussed at meetings. But because of this, we can focus our attention on taking detailed, unbiased notes that can be helpful for everyone when trying to collect their thoughts and debrief after the meeting.
Seriously, interns want to go to meetings.
4. Bring on the busy work!
We understand that not all work done in the office can be trusted to us. After all, we are only interns. But regardless of the office hierarchy, we want to feel as though we are needed.
So, even if it means making copies, doing the dishes or organizing papers and files, we are happy to do it. Busy work is part of most jobs, so getting good at it at an internship is just one more resume booster.
5. We swear, we are not this awkward.
Sometimes it’s hard to completely be yourself at work. With all of the “Dos and Do Nots” at an internship we are taught, it’s hard to find the balance between professionalism and really letting our personality show at work. So although we may seem quiet or shy, it’s very possible that’s not the case.
Interns want you to get to know us outside of work. We want to be part of the culture. Whether it’s through social media relationships or attending events like happy hour or karaoke, it is easier for us to show our personalities and let you see who we really are.
6. We love career advice, especially from you.
One of the obvious reasons we want to be interns is to get a jumpstart on our future careers.
We’ve been told that if you don’t have X amount of internships and references by graduation it will be impossible to find a job. Although these statements might create more anxiety than encouragement, they aren’t exactly false. So while not all internships turn into full-time offers, chances are you can point us in the right direction for our oh-so important futures.
After all, we basically aspire to be you, so please give us all the advice you have.
7. Feedback, feedback and more feedback!
We understand that often the best way to learn is to just do it. This may mean starting a project with little instruction or explanations, but that’s okay. This method is not effective, however, if we never hear back about how we did or how we can improve.
This gives you a chance to get exactly what you need and us a chance to give you our best work. Interns want feedback. We would rather hear “This sucks, here’s what you need to fix,” than nothing at all.
8. We really can get you coffee…
I’ll probably stop and get some for myself, so as long as I’m there I might as well score some brownie (or should I say coffee?) points.