The Next Wave of Workers: Insights on Summer 2022 Internships
It’s estimated that 300,000 people intern each year in the United States, and 70%of those interns are subsequently hired by their respective company. As we celebrate National Intern Day on Thursday, July 28, we recognize the impact internships can have on individuals, their career paths, and their futures as they expand horizons and skillsets. Not to mention the boosted morale, fresh perspectives, creativity, and productivity interns can have on the teams they join.
While college degrees aid in the job search, experience as an intern is just as crucial. Internships provide real-life learning and development opportunities that college classrooms simply cannot.
At Skillsoft, we have a strong internship program throughout the year, recruiting individuals across the country to work with us. Once immersed in our teams, Skillsoft interns work on projects that directly impact the business, and have access to Skillsoft learning materials to upskill their competencies
This summer, we have a class of six marketing interns who agreed to answer a few questions about what it’s like to be an intern right now, how they're feeling about entering the workforce, and what guidance they would give to others. In addition, we asked their managers about their experiences in guiding and leading interns.
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From the Interns
We asked interns to highlight one new skill they developed during their program. “The ability to create written content for blog episodes and promotional copy,” says Tenille Grant, Content Marketing Intern.” Being able to communicate stories effectively has been very important to me throughout my collegiate career, and now I have been given the opportunity to hone my communication and writing skills to impact people’s lives.”
Product Marketing intern Lily Charter pointed to writing skills as an area of growth. “I have been producing drafts for end-user materials and I have learned how to change my language to fit that particular audience and consumer.”
For Arinze Nzeako, a Field Marketing Intern, it was all about skills in project management: “I’ve learned how to write effective and engaging emails to inform customers and clients about our promotions and discount offers,” Nzeako says.
On the flipside, we asked managers about their experience upskilling in leadership and people management.
Digital Campaign Manager Nicole Longo shared that managing interns helped her grow as a leader. “We’re all so busy in our day-to-day tasks and having an intern allowed me to reflect on the impact of our functions and spread the knowledge.”
Communications skills also developed. “I’ve learned how to actively listen so I understand what direction my intern needs and to address all questions she has,” says Content Marketing Manager, Christie Schneider. “Active listening has also helped me to understand my intern’s career aspirations so that I can tailor her internship experience to meet those goals.”
Field Marketing Manager Eileen Plaehn learned how to explain things in a more clear, concise way. “When explaining processes and how work gets done, I have to remind myself that my intern has not been using the same tool for the past couple of years,” Plaehn says. “It gives me pause on how best to articulate something that is new to them but not new to me.”
Interns Meet Percipio
During their internship, Skillsoft interns have full access to the Percipio platform, allowing them to expand their knowledge and skillset in any topics of interest.
“I’m currently taking the course ‘Developing a Growth Mindset’ because it is important to me to be the best version of myself possible and without a growth mindset that is not possible,” says Brianna Olinik.
Intern Lauren Board had a great experience with the Pink Pandemic course on Percipio. It covers Women’s Recovery and Allyship in response to the pandemic. “Relevant and compelling courses like these are some of the most unique opportunities that we get as interns,” Board says “I am very passionate about social issues in my personal life, so I wanted to take this course on Percipio to see these topics through a new lens, particularly how they come to life in the business world and ultimately affect a company.”
And Nzeako just finished the course Expert Insights on Communication Essentials. “I learned why great communication skills separate the good companies from the best companies, and how to implement good communication practices in your role,” Nzeako says.
End of Summer Reflections
Lastly, a few recommendations from both sides. When asked for a piece of advice to give others seeking internships, Khushi Shah said take the no’s in stride. “It's okay to receive rejections because that means you are one step closer to getting your dream internship,” Shah says.
For Grant, it took over 80 applications to land the perfect internship at Skillsoft. “Never give up your search!” Grant advises.
And Olinik says not to settle for the first internship offered. “Make sure your needs are being met,” Olinik says. “Internships aren't the end all be all, and it’s better to find one that you feel is a great fit for you.”
Managers had equally wise advice. “I recommend showing up empathetically, because learning takes time and habits are not built in a day,” Plaehn says. “It’s also important to set deadlines and expectations. Unsaid expectations are never met, so it’s better to be as open and honest as possible when working with an intern.”
“Allow your intern to have the freedom to learn on their own,” says Schneider. “It’s important that first-time managers provide guidance to their interns, but also give them the space they need to learn through trial and error."
And finally, Longo’s advice is to “Shadow, shadow, shadow.” “I do my best learning by watching and listening to those around me, and I know that our interns feel the same way,” Longo says. “No better way to learn than by jumping right in and trying it out.”
No matter your organization, internships offer upskilling opportunities for everyone involved. Consider adding an intern program if you don’t have one yet – the benefits may surprise you!