Planning activities for interns involves a number of considerations. The activities need to be challenging, well-rounded, interesting and relevant.
- Extracurricular activities-One of the best ways to begin planning activities for interns is through extracurricular activities. The extracurricular activities should relate to the academic focus of the career in some manner, but keep in mind that a variety of extracurricular programs can be educational. In fact in many cases, potential employers like to see a wide variety of experiences on a resume, even if those experiences don't relate directly to the exact job position. Employers should encourage their interns to look for relevant extracurricular activities.
- Volunteer work-Intern activities can and should include volunteer work. The volunteer work can run the gamut from helping coach a high school athletic squad to working as an aide in a hospital. The volunteer situation should relate in some way to the actual internship. While volunteer hours may not be required for completing the internship, they look great on a resume, and they also offer interns the opportunity to meet people who might be able to help them move forward in their chosen careers. Employers might suggest a variety of volunteer work possibilities, even giving interns contact numbers of various organizations if applicable.
- Take the lead-Employers should encourage their interns to branch out. They should help their interns look for ways to incorporate new and exciting ideas that showcase the interns' talents. Examples of this might include beginning a new tutoring program, inventing a new marketing strategy, or starting a peer review group among other interns in a program. Many employers seek self-starters and innovative individuals who aren't afraid of becoming leaders. Creating internship activities that will focus on these qualities will allow the employers to see evidence of an intern's work ethic and leadership ability.
- Connect with alumni-What better way to learn than to rub elbows with those who've already traveled the same road? Interns should be encouraged to become acquainted with alumni who work in their field or area of interest. Interns may even be able to find volunteer activities through an alumni association, which will in turn open doors to employment in the future. Employers could provide names and contact numbers of alumni associations to the interns.
- Attend career fairs-Networking through career fairs is an excellent activity for interns. Career fairs typically occur over several days at local colleges and universities and major corporations and businesses. Employers can help interns complete resumes and participate in interviews, giving tips and suggestions for future interviews as well. Employers might also give interns a list of contacts for various departments within the company.