As an intern, I am constantly looking for new experiences to build my repertoire of skills that could help me make it in the working world.
Yes, being an intern can be scary on the first day, but over time, we can get to know how the workplace runs and can begin to sync with the flow of work that takes place in the office.
Of course, every intern has a story to tell – some have really fun, rewarding internships that empowered them and built their confidence while some of them sadly, do not have the best experiences.
Many college students want to have positive, fulfilling job experiences and actively look out for certain characteristics that they expect from potential employers.
Involve them in work
The stereotypical intern is often portrayed as a timid young adult photocopying documents, getting coffee for their boss, and running errands for everyone in the office.
Some organisations tend to hire interns and take them for granted by making them do menial jobs that are not related to what they are interested in or are currently studying.
Giving interns work that actually contributes significantly to the company shows that you entrust them with bigger, more meaningful responsibilities.
Involving interns in meetings and asking for their opinions can make them feel like they matter to the company and that they are not there just to run errands, but to develop and learn new skills that will be useful to them when they enter the workforce.
Treat them like adults
Most people who apply for internships are either young university students or graduates. That does not mean that they are still children who should be talked down to.
Interns should be treated as any other full-time employee would like to be treated. Talk to them without assuming that they do not know about work life or how a business works, because you never know how knowledgeable they can be.
People sign up for internship programs to help them learn about what the workforce is like. It is a journey of self-discovery for them to figure out what they like and do not like in terms of their career.
Therefore, it is important that employers treat them in a way that encourages and empowers them to ask questions and provide valuable opinions from fresh perspectives.
I encourage you all to never underestimate the abilities of interns because at some point in time, all of us started out at the very bottom, confused and slightly terrified of what awaited us in the future.
So, be patient with us. Give us more responsibilities and empower us to find our places in this world.
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First appeared on Leaderonomics.com. Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 30 May 2015