Internship preparation form

This form is designed to help you prepare for your internship. It assumes you have already contacted the employer (you want to intern with) and they have accepted for an agreed period of time. It also assumes you have been advised who your supervisor (contact) will be during this time.


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1: What to expect as an employer?

Congratulations. Inviting an intern into your world is a great way to give back to our industry and a great opportunity for you both.

For all intents and purposes, they should be treated as an employee – it will make it a better, more real experience for both sides – but in reality, they may need just a bit of help at the start…

Here are three ways you can make the best of the opportunity:

1. Have empathy – walk a few steps in their converse

Before the intern starts, think about involving the whole studio in an empathy-map or customer journey map exercise to imagine life in their shoes. Expect someone to not be in their natural habitat and probably feeling intimidated and overwhelmed.

Remember there are more of you than them — the sooner you can calm their nerves and make them feel comfortable, the better the experience will be for everyone.

Assure them everyone in the studio is happy to have them and will do their best to make your experience valuable.

Assure them of your expectations - they are not expected to churn out work immediately.

Do what you can to help them grasp the opportunity.

2. Have patience – they’re nervous

Nervousness can manifest itself in many ways. Your intern may appear stressed, or overawed, and may even appear overconfident.

Have patience, be prepared to take the lead and be prepared to repeat yourself a few times.

Prompt them to take notes or record instructions on their iPhones

Prompt them to ask questions and stress there are no wrong or dumb questions.

3. Plan for the long haul.

After the excitement of the first week, reality will set in that this is not a sprint.

Don’t try to go it alone.

Make sure your intern has a buddy. Or give them a few buddies. Share the love.

Buddies work really well to give the intern experience across the whole of the studio.

One week with an account service buddy, one with a design buddy, one with a creative director buddy - you get the idea. It not only helps them settle their nerves (because they’ll get to know everyone), it will deliver a spread of experiences.

A few tips

  • Make sure your intern knows where the kitchen, the bathroom and the best lunch spot is
  • Make sure you include your intern in any coffee runs (and not just as the coffee runner)
  • Be mindful, their budget may not extend to cafes and they’ve bought their lunch – let them know the best places to eat it (for example, a nearby park, the board room with others)
  • Be clear about the time clock of your studio –  when to start, and especially when to stop (many might feel awkward about when to leave).
  • Run through your expectations (see the Joint Commitment form)

A few extra ideas

  • Get to know them early: a few of you pitch in to buy them lunch on the first day, or better still everyone bring in a dish to share.
  • Welcome them warmly: perhaps give them their own keep cup on the first day as a welcome gift.
  • Make it as easy for them as possible: if it’s not on your website, give the intern a list of your staff members and their titles - you could include a photo and list something they like to do outside work as a conversation starter.
  • Help them share their news: Tell them your elevator spiel – a brief description of your agency and the type of work you do. That way they can talk to their parents/friends/colleagues about their internship.