9 Ways to Get The Most Out of Your Intern

Around the start of a new season, college students are a-flutter trying to secure a semester-long internship that will help enhance their education and make them ready for the real world. It's an opportunity to get them out of the classroom and apply their skills to fields that could one day help them bring home the bread. But businesses are infamous for making interns get the coffee and do the copying. While these are (of course) important tasks, here's how you can make the internship experience better for everyone.

1. Appreciate the work they do for little or no pay.

Free work seems like a fairy-tale. While some internships are paid, others can be free when granted college credit as compensation. So don't think that you have to only give grunt work to your interns. They're smart and educated and are up to the challenge.

2. Be inspired by their eagerness.

There's nothing like the honeymoon phase. Interns that are just starting out in a new industry are likely to have a lot of questions. Be patient and proud when showing off your knowledge of the business. Find joy in passing on your hard-earned experience to those eager to learn.

3. Access the young market.

Most interns are likely to be a part of the younger demographic. Every business can benefit from having young workers. They can offer valuable insights on how to reach that demographic, and get your business out their to their friends and peers.

4. Listen to their suggestions.

Even though they are green, interns may have a lot of suggestions for how to improve communication, boost social media presence, or get better office snacks, for example. Listen to them. They'll feel more valuable in the workplace and be inspired to work even harder.

5. Give them special projects.

Most business plans don't account for interns, so their work is sometimes labeled as "unnecessary." Not true at all. Interns can be responsible for small projects that you've always wanted to start but could never find the resources to complete.

6. Let them help you get organized.

Besides filing, copying, data entry, and all that jazz, interns can be a huge help in the digital world. Have them spice up your website, social media platforms, and online data management systems.

7. Streamline your training process.

A lot of the time, employees find it tedious to train interns and think that it takes away from their own work. So break it down to the essentials. Get your intern right into the game, and use a trial by experience training technique. It'll save you time and get straight to the point.

8. Invite them in on meetings and calls.

Barring any company-confidential information, let the intern be involved and take notes on calls and meetings. This will be an easy way to train them up quickly on how the company conducts day-to-day business.

9. See potential for eventual employment.

Don't think of an internship as something that's fleeting. There is always potential that your intern will show a vested interest in returning to the company once completing his or her studies. And with all of that training as an intern, it will make the employment process that much easier.

Interns can be great resources for any small business if you know how to maximize the experience.

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