May 31, 2017
Every summer, the nation’s best and brightest college students flock to Capitol Hill and government offices all around the country to explore careers in public service. Because internships on the Hill and in high profile government offices are so competitive and demanding, the average intern is not only sharp and capable, but also ambitious and eager to contribute on Day One. That’s why it’s so important to start your interns off right with a structured onboarding plan, clear expectations and well-defined benchmarks for success. In this blog, we’ll explore a few strategies that will help your interns contribute in a real way and walk away with highly valuable experience at the end of the summer.
1) Dress Code
Things you take for granted as an experienced professional, like what to wear to work, may not be as obvious to a college-aged intern. If possible, connect with him/her before the first day about the dress code in your office. Something as simple as showing up on Day One dressed appropriately can set the tone for a productive experience for you both. Every office has its own unique culture so don’t be afraid to be specific about the do’s and don’ts.
2) IT Training
With roughly ten short weeks to make an impact, it’s important for interns to get up to speed on your core IT systems as quickly as possible. One way to get ahead of the game and get your interns working on real tasks right away is to schedule their IQ training now. We offer a variety of convenient training options including classroom training in our Capitol Hill training center (directions here), webinars, eLearning videos and Quick Reference Guides. Not sure where to begin? Just ask your IQ Consultant for recommendations. All online and DC-based sessions are totally free of charge so don’t be shy about loading up your interns’ calendars with IQ training!
3) Social Media Policy
We’ve all seen the consequences of poorly managed, high-profile social media accounts. It rarely ends well. If you plan to have your intern help out with social media, make sure your office’s approval/publication policy is crystal clear before they begin posting. Do your best to develop a dynamic where your interns always feel comfortable asking for feedback and input so you can avoid any social media surprises.
4) Make a Project List
In most offices, there’s no shortage of work to be done and projects to be tackled. However, it can sometimes be difficult to find time in your busy schedule to clearly define where your intern can help most. Invest the time up front to work with your whole team and make an “intern project list” so there’s never any doubt about what your interns should be working on. By establishing clear project goals, milestones, deliverables and due dates both you and your interns will be able to stay focused and have a productive summer together.