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6 Ways Educators Can Limit Interns’ Potential

Written by Angela Finding

Most teachers, counselors, professors, and other faculty do their best to give their students a strong educational foundation for future career development. They almost always have the best intentions, but ultimately, efforts may come up short. More than 80 percent of students graduate without a job, and not much direction to find one, so what can educators do to help students find the jobs and internships they need to get a leg-up in the professional world?

They can start by addressing some of the most common ways they can limit interns’ potential:

  1. Not staying up-to-date. Industry standards and business practices can change significantly over time, as well as internships themselves, especially when it comes to application processes and onsite responsibilities. If you aren’t up-to-date, you won’t be as able to assist your students.
  2. Not seeking new connections. As many as 92 percent of companies have some kind of internship or co-op program. How many are you currently working with in partnership with your high school or university to place more students? Go out of your way to seek new business connections.
  3. Not providing adequate information. How informed are your students about the importance of internships, and how to go about getting one? Some students may ask you for help directly, but the majority will be uninformed without your intervention.
  4. Not setting early expectations. Assuming your students land internships, will they know what’s expected of them when they show up for the job? An intern who performs poorly because they were underprepared will jeopardize their career and possibly damage the school’s reputation as well.
  5. Not matchmaking. Are you helping students find internships that will help them achieve their career goals, or are you just trying to fill spots as quickly as possible? Not all internships are the same, and different students will have different needs.
  6. Not encouraging more internship events. Career fairs and other networking events are crucial to helping students find internships. How many do you host on an annual basis? How well do you advertise them?

Being an educator, your main priority is equipping your students with the academic knowledge they need to succeed, so it’s hard to also juggle career development responsibilities. Still, by addressing these issues proactively, you’ll establish a much better professional foundation for your students, and your entire school will benefit.

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