Managing Interns: Make it a Learning Experience


For the next few weeks Ciara Bush (UX Insights and Design Lead for BUILT BY GIRLS) will be sharing how to be an awesome manager to your interns. Working with interns on your team can be an amazing, enriching, and valuable experience for everyone. It’s important to remember that while they are there to support you and your team, they’re primarily there to learn about their chosen field and what it really looks like to be in the professional world.

Make Internships Learning Experiences

Internships are meant to be a learning experience for students. While we all have them mail out packages or make photocopies, there should also be baked in elements of growing skills. Doing this not only ensures your intern comes away with a great experience, but also helps you share the amazing skills and knowledge you have as a more experienced professional. Personally, I like to hire interns with little to no previous professional or internship experience because I want to give someone who really needs the opportunity a chance.

Here are my top tips:

  • Decide ahead of time on a project or project area they will focus on. This helps keep things contained and gives your intern the experience of building something from start to finish.

  • Have a conversation about what they hope to learn. Write these things down and check in a couple of times during the internship to see if you’re working towards them, or if they need to be adjusted. Our team loves using programs like Asana or Trello to track work assignments and progress.

  • Set up meetings with other team members. Maybe you don’t know the answers to all their questions, or think they would benefit from learning from your coworker. Help set up those meetings so they can grow skills and learn about cross-functional teams.

For more tips on being an awesome manager to an intern, check out Ciara’s other tips here.

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