By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group
Breaking into the design industry can be challenging – particularly for recent graduates with no relevant work experience. And landing an internship doesn’t appear to be much easier: Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) advertising and marketing executives surveyed by The Creative Group said their agency or firm does not offer an internship program.
Given how busy and time-pressed most creative teams are today, it’s not all that surprising that most don’t offer internship programs. It takes time and resources to develop a good one. But the benefits of doing so are two-fold: Interns get a “foot in the door” and a chance to grow their professional network while employers can gain fresh perspectives and additional support during busy times. Interns who excel in the role also make good candidates for full-time roles. Plus, these programs provide current employees with the opportunity to mentor young professionals – a rewarding experience in and of itself.
If your in-house team is considering developing an internship program this summer, the first step is to get organized. Firms that attract top candidates are those that have well-defined programs, including thorough job descriptions and an appointed primary contact for all interns. Here are five tips to keep in mind if you decide to offer internships:
- Provide a variety of work experiences that allow interns to see a project through from inception to completion and become an integral part of the team.
- Expose interns to a broad array of functions and duties by moving them through each department or unit within the company, as appropriate.
- Appoint a mentor who can answer interns’ questions, offer career guidance and advice, and assist with the resolution of problems.
- Midway through the internship and again at the end of the program, ask participants for feedback about their duties and the program as a whole. This information can help your team fine-tune the program in the future.
- Once the internship wraps up, keep in touch with your protégés; they are great connections and could be good future hires for your in-house team.
Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at creativegroup.com.
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