While some people get an internship with the intention of just getting the mail and making coffee runs, a majority of college students are looking for more than just exercise. In today’s job market, most employers look for entry-level employees with some experience on top of their degree. As a result, most college students are also searching for that experience. Additionally, students are also gauging the reality of their career choice and whether or not it’s the right fit for them. Here are a few things interns are looking for in the firms that choose to hire them.

Real World Experience

Professors assign homework on a regular basis. While students appreciate what they learned in the classroom, they understand that there is no substitute for real world experience. In many cases, a class assignment has no value nor use after the grade, and carries less weight in a portfolio than something done working for a real client.

No matter how small, interns are looking to help with something that a firm needs or assists in getting the job done. Not only is it a better learning experience, but it also gets them good content for a portfolio.

Constructive Criticism

Nobody likes criticism, but interns understand that if they are not told how to improve, their work will not get any better. In fact, without constructive criticism, one could say that working with the intern is a waste of time. We have established that interns want the real world experience- they also want to learn from the experience. Interns understand they will never be able to get a permanent position by producing intern level results.

They will stumble from time to time and maybe (but hopefully not) make a big mistake. Interns aren’t asking to be yelled at, but they want to know how they can improve. An employer can give interns insight into how they would do things and how to be successful. In a way, employers have the power to mold the perfect employee.


Yes, we know, listening to an intern does not sound ideal. However, one cannot escape the fact that target audiences are gearing more and more to millennials. It just so happens that most of the interns are millennials. From a marketing standpoint, they may be able to offer some insightful angles and different ways to reach this audience.

In other career fields, the ability for interns to give good input might be a bit more limited. For example, with fields like engineering, barring a catastrophe of the laws of nature, there are only so many ways that two plus two can be solved. There is a chance, however, that an intern may be able to find a glitch in the logistics or find a system to make a process more efficient. Interns are looking for internships where they can put in educated feedback and be treated professionally.

Freedom to ask questions

It may be a common belief that interns don’t know anything. In a way that may be true, imagine what an intern has to process during the first days at a new job on their very first job. Sometimes they will be hesitant or shy to ask questions. What many of them appreciate is a work environment where they can ask whatever questions they have. Some things may be common sense to an experienced professional; however, interns are not experienced. As stated in the first point, they hope to gain that experience from the employer.

Much like how a happy employee gives good work, by following these steps the intern will enjoy working for the company and give their best, every time. It becomes a win, win situation. It is also good to consider asking the interns about their expectations and how it will help them in their career path as a Public Relations professional.  

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