Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Interns

Back in the mists of time, when I was the director of one of the state’s political parties, I used to joke that with ten good interns, you could probably run many of the smaller countries out there (San Marino, Andorra, Liechtenstein, etc.). I’m a big believer in internships here at New Harbor, and I had a chance to talk about that earlier today as part of a panel on the topic at the Greater Providence Chamber Business Expo. Joining me on the panel were Tim Hebert, CEO of Atrion Networking Corporation; Phil Carlucci, Vice President, Global Service Delivery at Hasbro; Rachel Croce, Services Administrator at Atrion; Dan Egan, President of AICURI, and Mike Tevolini a student at Johnson & Wales University and a member of the Class of 2009.

For any organization, the main point about internships is this: If you take just a few minutes a day to plan an intern’s work, the benefits can be enormous. I usually tell interns that while they may have to go on the occasional coffee run or make copies now and then, my goal is for them to be able to walk away with something tangible for their portfolio – something they can point to at a future interview and say, “I did this.” (This summary of legislative campaign finances is a good example of a New Harbor intern project).

On the intern’s end, here’s the short list of what I need: a professional demeanor, can-do/I-can-figure-it-out approach (tempered by good judgment), and a minimum of ten regularly scheduled hours per week. A regular schedule is the key to the whole package, because it helps me plan the work, which allows them to put together their portfolio piece. And finally, we generally get many more inquiries than we can accommodate, so misspellings or mistakes on the resume or cover letter result in automatic disqualification.

Oh, and there’s a happy ending. We hired Erin Canfield, 23, our “In-House Media Mogul”, from an internship two years ago. I expect we’ll be doing more of that in the future.


Posted by David Preston