As junior talent, it might feel like just yesterday that you were the new kid, starting to learn the ropes, and familiarizing yourself with office email etiquette. Then BAM—all of a sudden, you're being asked to oversee an intern. Most of us feel varying levels of imposter syndrome and unpreparedness—wait, I was *just* in that role, what can I teach them? The reality is, your close knowledge of the intern experience gives you some of the best perspective on how to support even newer-bies. Here are a few tips on supporting your interns so they're set up for success and have a positive experience overall.
Give them the agency lowdown.
In any agency, there are certain nuances you can't know until you've worked there for a bit. Like how to approach that one sort-of-surly Creative Director. The complicated inner workings of the conference call system. The best quick and leisurely lunch options. And any internal politics within teams. Be sure to let your intern in on any tips and tricks you've picked up. It'll go a long way in getting them integrated and comfortable in the agency.
Be their emotional outlet.
Chances are, your intern has a higher up boss—maybe your boss—who is the ultimate decision maker of whether or not they get hired. Even if the intern has direct access to this person, they may be more intimidated to speak openly about how they're doing and how they're feeling. By establishing yourself as someone the intern can come to if they're feeling overwhelmed or stressed (or elated and inspired), you not only give them an emotional outlet within the agency, but also help escalate their concerns to your boss, keeping higher ups in the loop of how the intern is doing/feeling. Win-win!
Advocate for them when they're not in the room.
Not everyone thinks about what the intern is experiencing, so watch out for opportunities and advocate for their involvement when appropriate. If you think a meeting would be a good learning opportunity for your intern and they're not on the invite, ask the organizer whether you can bring them along. If there's a small portion of a client presentation they worked on and you feel like they're ready, ask your account lead whether your intern can present a couple slides. You might hear some no's, but that's okay—the yeses will be worth it.
Look out for interns who aren't on your team.
Not all internships are created equal, even within the same agency. If you notice an intern on another team who's not getting enough attention or work, find ways to adopt them. Whether that means inviting them to lunch with your team, or finding ways they can work on a project you're on, they'll be extremely grateful that someone is looking out for them.
You got this,