Editor’s Top Picks: Four Types of Interns Who Are Worth Your Time


Firmology’s editor, Laura Whitener, has launched a new column, Editor’s Top Picks. Featuring mostly weekend content, you’ll be most likely to find gadgetry, apps, and ideas being recommended for either the person or the small business. Looking for some top picks but haven’t seen them here on Firmology? Leave a comment below!

Long past are the days where the word “intern” was equated with “coffee runner.” With most college students focused on finding gainful employment after graduation, internships are becoming a coveted, and sometimes mandatory, experience for entering the workforce.

While some may think of an internship as a semester-long part-time job of trying to figure out the copy machine and answering the phones, SMBs can utilize interns to build their business and visibility. You can probably still get away with sending one intern to the coffee shop with twenty orders, but this way you’ll be able to utilize them for more than your amusement.

Here’s a list of the five types of interns your business can benefit from:

1. The Artist

One of the keys to succeeding with your business is having a more-than-decent marketing strategy. An art major interning for you can offer more than just background knowledge of art history and figure drawing.

A graphic designer could partner up with your in-house marketing team to develop marketing materials or even collaborate on a logo. Think of the possibilities, and the savings, you could reap from pairing your artsy intern with the web designer on staff. You get some potentially long-term useful materials and your intern gets a sweet portfolio booster out of the deal.

A photographer could get some decent head shots going for your staff or even help build up your stock-photo bank, helping to better supply you with marketing material, meaning you aren’t stuck using the same image six thousand other people are also using off of istockphoto.

2. The Marketing and Event Planner

Piggybacking off of the art major possibility is the marketing and even planning major. If you have the ability to, hire them when you know you’ll be planning a fundraising event or before you launch a marketing campaign.

If you’re not so hip with the times, you can utilize this intern to jump-start your social media presence and strategies; who wouldn’t want to spend their internship bouncing around on Twitter and Facebook? By letting your intern help develop your online presence, you can set the foundation for maintaining steady visibility to your customers via social media.

Setting your intern up to take a role in planning your next large event or paving the way for your social media campaign stomp you’ll get a better perspective for the current trends and strategies without having to hire too many professional consultants.

3. The Accountant

Tax season already?! Bringing in a numbers-savvy accounting intern can help alleviate some of the stress load from your employees and give the student some serious experience.

Not too sure about trusting them with getting their hands dirty with your finances? Partner them up with a senior staff member to help out with some of their workload.

While this intern might not be able to offer you any mind-blowing insights in the world of accounting, if you manage to attract a half-way decent student, you could set yourself up for opportunities to catch up on lagging workloads and in-house audits.

4. The Writer

With more and more businesses bringing blogging in to their community structure, bringing in an intern who specializes in writing could bring in a fresh perspective—and content—to your business’s blog. Have them write about their experience as an intern or do a day-in-the-life for each employee (if you have a small office).

Your marketing materials could even benefit from having that English major sit down with them, especially if they’ve been around for a while. Bringing this young blood in could also bring a fresh perspective to your content (and they might even help you out with the ever-confusing its/it’s issue. Win-win!).

Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Laura Whitener is the managing editor of Firmology, technology focused news and insight for small business owners and online entrepreneurs. Laura graduated from DePaul’s notable Master of Writing and Publishing program in Chicago. She survives on coffee, apples, and Pandora.

When she isn’t editing or writing, Laura enjoys knitting, adding to her massive book collection, and culinary adventures.

You can find Laura on Twitter and LinkedIn.