Q. How can we support and monitor our summer interns?

May 20, 2010 at 11:52 am | Posted in career center, Intern Support, Preparing interns | Leave a comment
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by the Intern Coach

A. Summer interns, especially those who are off campus, need to have safety nets built into their internship programs. Internships serve as great building blocks for future internships, so each internship has to be a successful experience. If you have lots of interns and limited staff capacity, you can use technology to stay in touch. Some ideas are: 

  • Weekly email newsletters: Send a weekly newsletter to each intern with campus news and helpful tips for interns on how to deal with specific situations or problems. A column by an intern would be motivational, too.
  • Daily or weekly reports:  Request daily or weekly email reports, depending on the length of the internship. Give each intern a form to follow when sending the report. The intern may want to keep a diary each day and simply send you a copy of the diary, which will help you monitor the intern’s progress and spot potential problems.
  • Webinars:  Hold a weekly webinar or online conference with your intern audience. You could introduce the Q & A format as well as acting as the speaker, addressing relevant topics.
  • Diversity resources:  Remember that your interns may be of different ethnic backgrounds and could benefit from links to international student groups that deal with work-related problems. Ethnicity is a sensitive area and your interns may be more comfortable discussing uncomfortable work issues with people who may have experienced similar situations.
  • On-site visits:  If possible, try to make an on-site visit at least once during the intern’s program. You can do double duty by visiting with both the internship manager and your intern and getting an accurate reading on how the internship is going.  You can also see first-hand the intern’s assignments and meet your intern’s colleagues. If you don’t like what you see, this is the perfect time to discuss—face-to-face with the internship manager—how to improve the situation. Even if your school doesn’t require on-site internship visits, you might want to schedule them anyway. Your interns will be happy to see you.

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