Making the most out of your internship program
As this summer neared closer and closer, I was overwhelmed by endless internship searching. I found myself applying to roles that barely matched my interests with little to no understanding of what the jobs would actually require. I expected to be ahead of the game when it came to interviewing, but I quickly realized that was not the case. Like so many other students my age, I was left frustrated by the process and unmotivated to keep up my search.
Landing my internship at ThirtyThree was a breath of fresh air! For the first time, the process was transparent and seemed like a two-way street for both parties involved. The current prospective college intern market (myself included) is comprised of students born in 1995 or later, also known as Gen Z. Admittedly, we have very specific requirements when it comes to choosing an employer. My experiences as an intern have provided some key learnings on ways that companies can keep us engaged and enthusiastic, from the search process all the way through to the last day. Here are some tips to consider from a Gen Z perspective.
The first search
To make us feel encouraged to apply, interns need to fully understand the requirements of the role and develop a sense of excitement about the opportunity. I was eager to apply for internships with companies that provided clear job descriptions outlining exactly what I would be working on and what would be expected of me. Intuitive platforms that included necessary credentials and key search words made the process much easier.
Speaking from experience, interns that truly want to work for your business will do their own research beyond reading the job posting. So, if your company has put extensive thought and planning into your internship program, make sure to highlight this wherever possible, including on your careers site and social media. Gen Z uses social as a mode of entertainment, so platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat are great ways to reach us. And if you really want to win us over, make sure you share the work you do in an engaging manner while also providing a glimpse into your company culture.
Making the connection
The initial communications I received after submitting an application set the first impression of the interview process and the company overall. Organizations that provided a portal where I was able to schedule an interview instead of emailing back and forth with a recruiter showed me that the business is forward-thinking, serious about hiring, and respectful of my time. Making the recruiting process as efficient and impactful as possible fostered a positive experience, regardless of the outcome.
The moment that an offer is made and accepted should be an exciting time for both the intern and the organization. In my past experience, any videos or interactive media that was shared with me prior to my first day showed me that the company had thoughtfully anticipated my arrival. This also helped me to get acquainted with the business prior to setting foot in the door. Having mobile-friendly content is a must, as most Gen Z’s spend up to half of their day on their mobile devices.
The big day
The first day of any internship includes a mix of emotions. Employers that built structure into the first week created anticipation for my assigned responsibilities and diminished concerns about not having anything to do before I was fully immersed into projects.
I was pleasantly surprised as I was greeted by a light-up sign in the entryway welcoming me to ThirtyThree when I arrived. As I made my way to what would be my desk for the next seven weeks, I was excited to find an array of onboarding content marked with cute notes like “open me!” and “interesting reads!”. I was also presented with a schedule for the first week with meetings set up with each team in the New York office. For someone who is eager to make the most of my experience and dive right into working with the team, I was also thrilled to find a ton of collateral designed to help me get to know my new colleagues and encourage conversations.
Continuing the connection
The internship itself will eventually come to an end, but the relationships built over this experience don’t have to. At the close of my past internship, I participated in a review of my performance and overall experience, which allowed me to receive valuable feedback. Additionally, having the opportunity to share suggestions for improvement in the internship program showed me that the organization cared and valued my input. This is also a great time to exchange contact information to foster continued communication, as it might lead to a future job opportunity.
In my experience, establishing a strong foundation of mutual understanding and expectations along with a personalized experience for interns will create an atmosphere that fosters growth for both students and companies alike. When recruiting for your next internship, make sure that you consider the intern’s perspective to leave a lasting impression.