Employers: What Your Intern Wishes You Knew

Whether you’ve hosted interns for years or weeks, chances are you’re still not a mind-reader. You care about making this internship the best possible experience for everyone involved, but your intern may not know how to communicate their goals to you just yet. To make things easier, here’s a list of ten things your intern probably wishes you knew:

1. I’m here to work

If I wanted to be paid to do nothing, I would get a job as a house sitter. I’m here to gain experience in my field of interest, and I’d rather be busy than bored.

2. That said, I know my limits

And you probably do, too. I don’t expect every task you assign me to be incredibly important or challenging, because I understand there are some things I’m just not qualified to do. I’ll learn from the small things, too.

3. I’m always observing

Because I want to learn as much as possible while I’m here, I pay attention to the details you probably don’t even think about anymore: how you present yourself, communicate to (and about) your supervisor, manage your time, and even organize your desk.

4. However, I don’t expect you to be a perfect example

As an intern, I’m familiar with learning from my mistakes. Learning from someone else’s would be a welcome change for once, so please don’t be afraid to be authentic with me.

5. I value your feedback

Both positive and negative, your comments about my work are important to me. Constructive criticism only makes me a better, more confident intern.

6. I want to meet people

But sometimes I need your help. Something as simple as scheduling short meetings for me with people in different departments will help me network and feel more connected to your organization as a whole.

7. I like to know expectations

Whether about communication, deadlines, or even dress code, clear expectations give me what I need to succeed in this new work environment.

8. I don’t know your jargon

But I’d like to! If your organization doesn’t already have one, consider making a list of office lingo and acronyms with explanations. I (and your future interns) will thank you for it.

9. I like talking to you

Sure, I’m in a different stage of life, but I still enjoy swapping stories from the weekend or hearing about your work goals. Being intentional about conversation makes me feel like a valuable member of your team.

10. I want to learn

You may think a meeting or task doesn’t apply directly enough to my area of study, but that’s the beauty of internships! I’d love to sit in on meetings or shadow people in different departments to understand their roles better.

Hopefully this list helps you better understand and communicate with your intern!

Interns, is there anything else you wish your employer knew? Feel free to comment with your additions!

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