Creating a Great Internship Program

Dear Professor Bruce: I have a small, marketing company and would like some additional help growing my business. How do I find some great interns in the local area?

By hiring good interns you can complete numerous projects, tap into creative ideas, and even find your next “star” employees. But how do you create a great, internship program?

According to Walt Wilson, founder and chairman of Global Media Outreach, a 501 (c)3 non-profit ministry with a successful internship program, there are three key ways to find great people that will help your organization while providing valuable, on-the-job skills.

1. Figure out exactly what you want and market accordingly.

Before you start posting want ads and calling local college campuses, think about the staff profile you want your interns to fit. Then create internship descriptions that will entice top candidates to apply.

Just like you do with potential clients, you want to market your services and provide all of the benefits you have to offer. When searching for candidates, be creative and think past traditional college campuses. For example, you may want to post your listing at local churches, bookstores, coffee shops, game centers, and more.

2. Give interns real projects that help them build their portfolios.

Once you find the right interns, don’t just make them “pay their dues” with tedious work. Give them interesting projects that actually involve on-the-job training related to the career they are pursuing. Also, provide them with written feedback so they can share it with their professors and learn from the experience.

3. Listen!

Let your interns provide their insights. Give them the opportunity to be creative and listen to what they have to say. After all, they see your company as outsiders, and can provide valuable information you can use to increase sales and beat the competition.

Great Interns Are Out There.

If you think about the type of people you want and market them accordingly, you can find great interns. By giving your new interns the opportunity to learn valuable skills on the job and listening to what they have to say, you can help them build their portfolio while you grow a more successful business.

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