5 Tips for Getting the Most out of an Internship

Alayna McNeil poses with two 8thirtyfour dogs

If you’re an intern, this blog isn’t for you. This blog is for you to hand to potential employers, the companies wanting to hire you for an internship. We’re realizing just how terrible it can be out there for you.

It boggles our mind how companies hire interns and then promptly forget they exist. 

To that, we say, what the actual f*ck. At 8THIRTYFOUR, we call you associates because that is what you are. You’re doing actual marketing work within an office setting, and we’re paying you to do it. You, yeah, you, are providing value to us as a company.

It’s time for companies to invest in their interns and internship programs as much as those interns invest in you.

We hope you have enough good sense to continue to read this blog. 

PAY THEM

If you are not paying your interns or barely paying them minimum wage, get the f*ck out right now. What is wrong with you? Would you work for free?

These students already have to PAY to work for you, it’s such a flaw in the system, but we’re not here to discuss that; we’ll save it for another rant. 

If you were asked to work for free, would you give a company your best work? We’re gonna guess no. Some of us had to do two internships for free, at least 15 to 20 hours a week, while also working one or two jobs to pay for little things like food, insurance, gas, medical…silly things, really.

Was life easy for you in your 20s?

Invest in onboarding

We do three weeks of onboarding. Three. When you enter a new environment or workplace, there will be an adjustment period. New employees must learn processes, systems, programs, culture, nuances, etc. It’s a lot, and it’s hella overwhelming. 

Take the time to map out a process for onboarding that includes learning, teaching and some fun. 

We built out onboarding that includes one-on-one training and some online through videos, classes, webinars, etc.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

As the great Aretha Franklin would say, “All I’m askin’ Is for a little respect.”

Is that so hard to give? If you don’t give respect, how will you get respect? We’re not big fans of the saying, “Respect is earned.” Frankly, respect should be given freely; we call that human decency.

If you want the best out of an employee, you need to earn it. 

Fun

Please, please, please show these young professionals that life is not a constant grind. Incorporate fun into their experience by planning patio days and happy hours, pay for them to attend industry events, and learn from other professionals.

Gift them with books that helped you along in your career, and load them up with some sweet logo’d gear. If you treat them right, they’ll be your best ambassador. 

Mentor

Chances are you’ll have a few years on your interns, which means you probably have some solid life advice for them. Maybe, some real gems like “work hard, play hard,” or “remember the internet is forever.” 

Tell them your story, share the failures, the lessons learned, and what made a difference in your life and career. Be honest and open with them. The last thing they need is another adult telling them they can be anything they want if they put their mind to it. 

Empathize with them.

No matter how long they are with you, it will shape their career. Be there for them, show them you care, and you’ll be doing all future employers a solid.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so we can tell you all the other ways you’re doing it wrong.

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