The C-Legs summer internship program recognizes that young college students working in one of their first professional jobs need guidance. One-on-one mentoring by a seasoned professional is the method we have found most effective to help interns succeed in their summer placement.
Mentors are long-time business professionals to whom we assign an intern in November of each year. The mentor then accompanies their intern throughout their training, development, and preparation. For instance, each mentor prepares their intern by conducting a mock interview, by reviewing their draft resume and providing comments, by quizzing the intern to see if they have researched the prospective hiring business sufficiently and by ensuring that their intern has completed all of the pre-work assigned by the business prior to arriving in May for their job.
Once hired, the mentor serves as a sounding board and helper to ensure that the intern is productive and accomplishing the tasks desired by their sponsoring business. Further, the mentor occasionally engages directly with the intern’s boss at the participating business to provide a back channel means of ensuring intern performance and accountability.
Mentors do not work for the sponsoring business. Their role is a backstage one.
The inclusion of mentors in the C-Legs program is another significant advantage for participants over their peers. It gives our interns a decided advantage and ensures that they are ready for the challenges that an internship will pose. Sponsoring businesses should see the mentor role as a major means of risk reduction and of performance assurance for any interns that work for them.