Canadian students across the country are bidding farewell to the classroom for a few blissful months and hitting the pavement to find opportunities that not only pad the pocketbook, but also to expand their skillset and make valuable connections with professionals in their desired industry.
Internships can either be invaluable learning and networking opportunities for those on the cusp of graduation, new grads, or those making a career change, or they can fall flat without the proper planning and investment.
5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Summer Student
So if you’re welcoming some new faces to your company this summer, here are five tips to help your summer student make the most of their experience.
1. Getting Down to Business.
Do you remember what it felt like to receive your first business card? There is something official about holding it in your hand, and seeing your name, title, and company logo. There’s a pride involved; you’ve earned it. So why not present your summer student with personalized business cards on day one? Short runs are relatively inexpensive and having a business card immediately raises their status from student to professional.
2. Follow the Right Guide.
Provide them with a mentor – someone they can learn from and who will act as their go-to person. Mentors are a great way to show them although their time at the company might be short, they are valued and being invested in. According to Southampton University, mentors can be highly beneficial in the following ways: they offer encouragement and empower personal development, they can help identify career goals, and they have a tendency to increase the mentee’s confidence. Not only does a mentee benefit from this interaction, but so does a mentor, as it gives them the opportunity to gain fresh perspective and insight, they’ll acquire additional experience in management and employee development, and they’ll develop their coaching skills. It really is a give-and-take relationship that benefits both parties.
3. A Little Planning Goes a Long Way.
Have you ever worked at a job where you were under-utilized? It can be more exhausting – and more painful – than hitting the ground running. That’s why it’s important to have specific projects you need your summer student complete over the summer. Projects provide a sense of purpose and achievement to your summer student, and ideally a measurable ROI for your organization. If they don’t have enough to do they’ll get bored and you’ll spend a good part of your day determining their next projects. That’s not productive for anyone.
4. Exposure Breeds Engagement.
There’s no better way to bring new voices and a fresh perspective to the table than by inviting your summer student to meetings and networking events. After all, everyone likes to feel part of a team; something bigger than themselves. If you have more than one summer student spending their summer with you this year, set up an orientation so they can meet the team and each other. This will help them learn about their unique roles within the company structure and the organization itself.
5. Word of mouth Still Reigns Supreme.
In our hyper connected world, social media reigns supreme. One false step – or harsh word – on Twitter or Facebook can have unpleasant consequences for a business. As so, you’ll want to be sure to treat your summer student like a brand ambassador. If you plant the seeds for millennial recruitment by creating a positive experience, and therefore brand ambassadors, for your summer students, they’ll spread the positive word about your organization to future employee prospects. It’s a win-win!
So there you have it, five tips on how you can make the most of your experience with your summer student this season… which can only benefit you and your company.
David Aplin Group is a private family and employee owned Canadian staffing agency founded in Alberta in 1975, recognized as one of Canada's most accomplished recruiting firms. Our mission is to positively impact lives. Blog author, Sarah Tokar, is a Partner at David Aplin Group, based in Edmonton, Alberta.