Articles by: Maggie Evelyn
Emily Kovach (left) and Maggie Burke (right) discuss the value of good internships.
MB: Emily Kovach is ending a year-long internship with Prosper for Purpose and heading to Kent State University to complete her degree. So today we’re talking internships. And as Emily and I can attest, while incorporating one into your already busy college schedule can seem stressful, the RIGHT internship can be a vital piece of professional growth.
EK: I agree. When you’re lucky enough to find a business that hires interns within your field that is looking to expand your knowledge, go for it!
MB: Not only does it add to your growing resume during your years at a university, but I feel it’s an essential piece of the puzzle to validate that what you’re studying is something you’ll enjoy beyond the textbooks.
EK: When I joined on for Prosper for Purpose, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I think anyone hiring an intern should keep in mind that many students aren’t 100% sure where they’d like to end up afterwards. My top take away from the internship this far with Prosper is how important it is to make business contacts. I’m still in a limbo of whether I’d like to go into business for myself or not and I really appreciate Lorraine (Lorraine Schuchart, Prosper founder and CEO) showing me how rewarding it is if you’re willing to put in the hard work.
MB: That is one thing that really irritates me when some of my peers were taking internships to simply go on coffee runs and grab things from the printer.
If I can give any advice to businesses thinking about hiring interns, make sure you’re really honing in on their fresh ideas and young perspective on projects. If you’re wanting an intern to come into the office to do meaningless work, then just hire someone to do that and let that student find growth elsewhere. Sure the title may look good to potential employers in the future, but if they don’t have the skills and abilities that they need to succeed in the business, they’ll not only feel defeated, but then question whether or not they’re actually good at what they set out to do.
EK: Yes. It is important to take someone under your wing and build upon their strengths but also work on their areas of growth as well. I feel I’ve grown a lot with this internship. I’ve taken on projects that I wouldn’t have had a chance to do elsewhere and I’ve been able to think outside the box to actually add my own flavor to some of the work. It’s very rewarding.
MB: In my first internship with Rebecca Adele PR & Events, she didn’t hold back. She wanted us to learn and she thought we would learn best by first trying it ourselves and then going over the errors with her side-by-side to actually see what processes work best, especially with social media.
Now, I’m not saying hire someone on to do your social media just because they’re young. I think that’s one mistake that many employers are making. There is so much more that goes into a strategic social media plan than simply posting about how great your company or product is and leaving the audience to decide for themselves. It’s important to have social media as a dialogue, not a monologue. I’m very much interested in the social media marketing aspect of PR and I’m glad Lorraine has trusted me with our clients, but it didn’t come easy. I had to work at it and find sources outside of the classroom and internship to perfect my strategy.
EK: You’ve hit on a very good point for students to realize when looking for internships. Knowledge doesn’t stop there. Look to other things in your area to expand your excitement for what you’re studying. Webinars, networking events, listening in on panels of experts in your field.
MB: It takes a lot to bring on a young professional for an intern, but it is one of the best experiences I’ve had in my early twenties and I wouldn’t trade any of them. They all varied based on what was asked of me and I thank everyone who believed in me as a young college student to come in and help.
EK: I couldn’t have said it any better. Internships are so important for young professionals today and I encourage everyone to take part in a few before they start applying for jobs.