5 Ways To Be a Worthwhile Mentor To Your Intern

The opportunity to be a mentor is one that should not be taken lightly. You have the chance to introduce a fledgling mind to your industry, open doors for them, provide them with opportunities, and share the knowledge that you’ve gained in your years as a young professional.

Think back to your intern days, when you were fresh out of college just hoping to get your foot in the door. That’s where your intern is right now. Internships notoriously boil down to fetching coffee and making copies, and it’s a shame.

A true internship should be an introduction to a company or industry — the way it functions, who really runs the show, and how to think in order to thrive.

If you have an intern this season, here are 5 ways to be a worthwhile mentor to your intern:

1. Get to know them and their career goals.

The best way you’ll be able to help your intern as their mentor is to get to know them and their career goals. Take them out to a welcome lunch or suggest coffee once a week where the two of you have time just to chat.

Get to know their previous work, the classes they enjoyed most, what type of person they are, what they value, and where they hope to go immediately after this internship.

READ MORE  How The World Looks From The Service Industry

When you know their strengths, weaknesses, and goals, you can help them by giving them the best opportunities for them.

2. Answer their questions.

Questions can be tedious to answer, but we all have them. Encourage your intern to ask the right questions to do their best work. Be patient and encouraging, it’s better that your intern asks you double-sided or single-sided before they print a 100 copies of meeting notes rather than after. Eventually they’ll get the hang of things and the whole office will be better for it.

Be sure to communicate when and how it’s acceptable to ask questions. Instruct them to send you an email at the end of the day or write notes on a pad to discuss in a later meeting.

3. Teach them how to think.

As a mentor to an intern, you are in a unique position to provide attention and breed the newest generation of professionals in your industry. Each company beats to its own drum — the way to thrive in a particular company is to learn that beat and never forget it.

You have the chance to teach your intern how to be innovative, to question their own ideas, and how to question other’s ideas, among other things. Teaching them the nuanced way of thinking your industry requires will not only benefit your intern, but your industry as a whole.

READ MORE  Working In a Toxic Workplace? Here's What To Do

5 Ways to Be a Worthwhile Mentor to Your Intern

4. Give them an opportunity to reach.

Growth happens at the end of your comfort zone, and the same holds true in the professional world. Give you intern a chance to sit in on important meetings or have a say in a project.

If you’re able to, extend them a chance to take on a presentation or project of their own. They will learn more by doing than by watching, and you’ll be able to give them constructive feedback they can actually use.

5. Take them to events.

Help your intern make connections in your industry and your company by introducing them to your connections and taking them to company or networking events.

This is a great way to help them expand their network and to get a taste of how these events work.

At GenTwenty, we believe the mentor/mentee relationship is one of the most important relationships a person can have. When you’re in the position to pass your knowledge and experience on to a fresh, new mind — you’re lucky. Don’t miss the chance to be a worthwhile mentor to your intern, they’ll appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.