“The expert in anything was once a beginner- Helen Hayes” This quote is a perfect segway to start talking about Internships. Today I would like to share with you my experience as a former Intern, so that you and your company can understand why having an Internship Program is so valuable. I have had a job since I was 16 years old. I worked in restaurants, babysat, was a camp counselor, etc. All of these different odd jobs that I worked throughout high school & college were jobs to help me get by while I worked towards my career. At the end of my college studies I was able to land an Internship in Human Resources that helped jump start my career. A large problem that Millennials are facing after graduating college is not having work experience in their chosen career. This is where internships help.
My internship was 9 months long, I was one of 15 other interns that worked in different departments, and I was not expected to make copies, get coffee, and do grunt work. I was treated like any other professional, and paid like one. At the start of my internship I was allocated projects that had to be completed by the end of my internship. I was assigned a coach, and I had a manager to report to. I was given responsibilities, autonomy, and deadlines. This internship gave me the work experience that I needed to then go out land a professional job- which I did immediately after completing my internship.
That experience really helped me grow as an individual and was a great trial run to see if I had chosen the right career field. I was able to gain exposure to many different areas of Human Resources. I was able to network with Senior Level Professionals in my profession and use them as learning resources. It was an amazing opportunity for growth, development, and networking. I believe the reason this Internship program was so successful was because multiple meaningful projects were assigned that had purpose, there was a coach to help you when you had questions or ran into barriers, and there were weekly check-ins with the manager to ensure that progress was being made in the right direction. To sum it all up, they set you up for success.
Internships are a great way to groom newcomers in the workforce. They are a great way to promote within, and a great starting point for Career Paths. Internships are also an excellent tool for hiring the right fit- organizationally, as well as, departmentally. If an intern does not mesh well with your team, or organization then the solution is simple, don’t hire them once the internship is complete. It is not that simple when hiring a Professional Full-Time Employee. Internships can be like trial runs for companies until the right match is found. All in all, internships are a great resource to find new talent, and a great resource for new workers to find the right job for them.
Were you ever an intern? How did it help you and your career? Does your company currently utilize a formal internship program?
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