Help Your Intern Get a Full-Time Job
This post was originally published in the Harvard Business Review.
Alex, a summer intern in public relations, found herself facing the end of a successful summer internship without the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Alex was smart, talented and well regarded by her colleagues. Her agency, however, simply didn’t have a full time job to offer her at the end of her internship.
So Alex’s manager took it upon herself to help Alex find a full-time job. Unfortunately, she’s the exception, not the rule. Only 37% of students say internships are a good job search resource.
What can you do to help your intern find a job? Here are four options to keep in mind as summer comes to a close:
Open your Rolodex. The first thing Alex’s manager did was give Alex a short list of high-quality names of friends and colleagues in the business. She encouraged her to reach out directly and use her name as a reference. One of those names, the president of another PR agency in Chicago, passed along Alex’s resume to an employee, who invited Alex in for an interview. She wowed in her interview and the rest is history.
Make introductions. Perhaps you’re willing to take it a few steps further. If you’ve got a stellar intern, why not reach out directly to colleagues or clients who you think might benefit from a bright and motivated new grad? Or invite your intern along for a working lunch or business meeting — and sing her praises on the spot. You can play matchmaker in the moment and give your intern an opportunity to interact with a potential new boss right then and there.
Write a stellar recommendation. Before you get caught up in life-after-interns, take time to sit down and document the great work your intern has done. Take note of both her individual accomplishments and her contributions to the team. You can also weigh in on her future potential — why will she be an outstanding member of any team going forward? What does she bring to the table that you don’t typically see in young twenty-somethings? And while you’re at it, feel free to post a snippet of that recommendation on LinkedIn for the whole world to see.
Act as a mentor. Rena, a student at UCLA, spent her summer internship with a boutique financial services firm on the East Coast. She excelled in every way possible, but by the end of the summer she realized finance wasn’t for her. Her boss Ken took the news in stride. He offered to stay in touch and told her to keep him in mind once she realized what she did want to do — he’d be happy to help in any way possible. Three years later, Rena counts on Ken as one of her most trusted advisors. He has counseled her through career ups and downs, provided referrals and introductions, and continued to support her as she moves through the ranks of the fashion industry.
Remember, there’s more at the end of the rainbow than just a full-time offer. If you don’t have a job to give, think instead about sharing your network, endorsing your candidate or acting as a mentor — all of which could prove equally or more beneficial over the long-term.