How to Help Agency Interns Become Marketing Rockstars

Internships are a great way to gain experience and knowledge that can help fuel your future career.

Having been an intern myself at PR 20/20, I found immense value in learning from several hardworking and passionate mentors at the agency.

More recently, I had the opportunity to become a mentor to a new intern and knew how critical it was to create an invaluable experience for her.

Below I share some food for thought to help ensure your agency’s intern has an incredible experience and gets the most out of his or her internship.

1. Provide Helpful Tips, Tricks and Resources

Make sure your agency’s intern has the necessary resources, training and onboarding right off the bat. Clearly explain different technologies and agency processes so they can get acclimated properly.

Take it a step further and provide them with actionable tips and tricks to make the day easier and more efficient. Whether it be traffic shortcuts to the office, or ways to research blog topics for specific clients, every little bit counts.

The faster they are able to adapt to agency life and standards, the more successful their internship experience will be.

2. Help Them Set and Achieve Goals  

Whether an intern is up for the chance to earn a job after the internship or just looking to gain experience, sit down and help them set goals that are specific to future aspirations and career path.

Within the first two weeks, work with the intern to determine what they want to get out of the internship and what they hope to provide others along the way. This will help empower your agency’s intern with the right tools and a clear vision for success.

Help him or her set measurable and strategic goals, or SMART goals, that will help them grow as a professional. For example, if they are looking to get to know people throughout the office, encourage them to ask “X” amount of team members to coffee, lunch, or happy hour. This will help them step outside of their comfort zone, while learning more about their coworkers and the agency as a whole.

3. Teach with Purpose  

Gaining knowledge and experience is a vital piece of a successful internship.

To truly deliver your agency’s intern with an invaluable experience, take the time to truly teach. For example, don’t just explain how to do a project, but explain why a particular project is being done and how it will benefit the client. This will help them grasp a more in-depth understanding of what your agency does, as well as provide increased value with each to-do. Always encourage him or her to ask why and challenge the situation to push themselves. This will help them grow and learn more and more each day.

In a true teacher mentality, avoid giving your intern the exact same projects over and over again. While this is important to help them improve in certain areas (e.g. social, blogging) it’s also critical to give them exposure to different aspects of the business. Look for the opportunity to give them various projects they can tackle, such as analytics or strategy work, to ensure your intern is gaining experience in multiple (and more difficult) areas.

4. Always Be There to Answer Questions

Remember at one point, you were starting out your career too. And no matter what stage you may currently be in, I’m sure you can remember all the questions you had early on—especially if you were an intern.

Make yourself available to answer any questions that your intern might have. Ensure that you are approachable so the intern feels comfortable coming to you for advice. Provide them with the best possible solution to their questions, and if you are unable to, connect with other coworkers so all information is accurate.

5. Become Not Only a Mentor, But a Friend

Your main goal should be to help your intern get the most out of their experience, and that includes on a more personal level as well.

Get to know your intern.

Spend time with him or her to uncover life aspirations, or even what they like to do in their spare time. Often learning more about someone as a friend can help you better understand what they need and want professionally.

Also, this can be a great reminder that agency life doesn’t have to be “all work and no play.” Help make their time at your agency a great learning experience, but also fun, rewarding and exciting too!

When the internship is over, remember to stay in touch so your intern is able to make the right connections when it comes time for job hunting. Also, consider connecting them with previous interns at your agency to see what their next steps were after they completed an internship.

How do you help your agency interns have an invaluable experience? Share with us in the comments below.

Image Source: Allison Kurz

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