As summer interns make their way into organizations (perhaps yours!) for the summer, consider stepping up to be a mentor. As a young professional, you have a lot to offer these new recruits. Here are four quick tips to help jump-start a positive mentoring relationship.
Share your “backpack to briefcase story.” Whether over lunch or through a series of coffee break chats, sharing your experience transitioning from student to professional can provide valuable insights for interns. Sharing how and why you chose your college major, what activities you were involved in and how you aced the interview to earn your current role can all be of tremendous value. Noting points along your professional journey, highs and lows, may help student interns better envision their own paths and help them understand that professional development is a process.
Offer Office Etiquette Tips. Every workplace environment has its own standards of decorum, and it may take new interns time to adjust to expectations in terms of professional dress, communication style and project management. Any insights you can provide to help new interns adjust (such as explaining the limits of casual Fridays, illustrating why sometimes a phone call or face-to-face conversation may be more appropriate than an email or social media message) could be of vital importance and may help prevent intern faux pas. The knowledge you have acquired in your months/years since joining your organization has given you expertise in understanding the standards, both formal and informal, in your office environment ... pass it on!
Support Your Organization’s Recruiting Strategy. Serving as a mentor to a member of your organization’s new interns will likely boost the interns’ experience, which may in turn increase their loyalty to your organization and encourage them to promote the opportunity to other students. Additionally, networking with summer interns may help ease the transition for interns who may be hired for a full-time position down the road.
Paying it Forward Could Pay Off. Networking is a two-way street and your mentorship now may pay off down the road, as current interns may have valuable ideas or may travel future career paths that could add value to your professional life.