Dear Employers: An Open Letter From Your Interns

Dear Employers,

As a young professional entering the workforce for the first time, I have heard one too many horror stories about what to expect from you.

I’ve been told to be cautious; to work with my head down; to put my emotions on hold and “wait my turn”; and to simply cross assigned tasks off a to-do list. I am no longer listening to any of this advice. I am too eager to contribute to a high-quality organization’s success to just keep my head down and wait for you to employ my skills!

I refuse to remain an under-utilized, misunderstood cog in the machine simply because I am young. I refuse to see myself the way you see me. Recent grads are often treated poorly because we have limited experience and are said to be “desperate” for employment. Too many millennials are given useless, menial tasks to complete, instead of being given real responsibility that many of us can manage easily, and are eager to take on right now.

You may think interns are only hired to accomplish tasks that are “beneath you”. You may see me as an intern in a bad economy who will do anything to keep a position. You may take me for granted because you (and I) know there are 1,000 people lined up behind me ready to work. You may see me as someone whose purpose is to get you coffee, schedule your ride to the airport, and pick up your dry cleaning…

I am so much more than that.

I am hungry to learn from you. I am itching to work hard to help you succeed. I am absorbing all of the (valuable) information you will impart to me as my mentor. I am willing to bust my ass to help strengthen your brand. And I would love to show you how much passion and energy I can bring to your organization. And… I am happy to complete tasks you don’t have time for – if they add value to the company I am helping you grow.

I chose to apply to your position not because I just need any internship. I chose to apply to your internship specifically. I am rooting for your success. I have the talent and ability to help you build your company.

If you treat me with the respect I deserve, and allow me to have some creative freedom and responsibility, I will prove myself to you.

Sincerely,

– Interns

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19 thoughts on “Dear Employers: An Open Letter From Your Interns

  1. Love the sentiment, but I’d love it even more if it wasn’t packaged as being so specific to new graduates and ‘young professionals entering the workforce for the first time’. There are employees of all ages and experience levels who struggle with this daily.

    • I agree with you – people of all ages deal with these issues, and that is very important to recognize. The post is so centered around recent grads because it was originally posted on a blog targeted to interns and college students. :) Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Pingback: What Employers Want « careerdramatist

  3. “Too many millennials are given useless, menial tasks to complete, instead of being given real responsibility that many of us can manage easily, and are eager to take on right now.” isn’t that the truth! But it is not only for the young, but the older worker who has been downsized and had to take on something completely different (and possibly “beneath him or her”) after a long career.

    • Agreed, Susan. This is certainly a problem that is faced by people of all ages in the workplace – I just identify more with those who I’ve spoken to in my generation who are facing this issue. Thanks for your comment!

  4. I wonder would I have to tame this down…If I recieved this letter after being guilty of giving menial tasks to complete I would take notice, but I wonder would it fly over, could a higher up really appreciate this? Great stuff!

  5. Wow. You are a bold woman to speak your mind so publicly. As a person who has both done menial jobs and hired people to do such, I can appreciate both sides. In any business, there are a lot of icky jobs that have to be done. Chief Cook and Bottle Washer is a term I applied to myself many times through the years of owning my bricks and mortar businesses.

    I wish you great success in your quest. There are many opportunities available now for freelancers. It might be worth your consideration.

  6. I worked a long time proving I could do more. Not waiting for someone else to think about delegating the work to me, I would offer to do it first. Soon I had enough experience to move into another position.

    It’s tough sometimes, hang in there and good luck!

    • Shannon, I’ve also taken this approach and found it’s helped GREATLY with the amount of time I have to spend proving myself to an organization. When I am inspired by the people I’m working for, I have no problem solving more issues than I’m asked to. Thanks for your feedback!

  7. Fantastic post! I am sending this to my son, a college freshman and paid intern. He doesn’t realize how lucky he is to not only be paid well, but to work alongside a partner who wants to teach him his trade. Interns are often mistreated in the ways you mention, but they also have to stand up for themselves. That’s your most important point–after the filing is done, and the dry cleaning picked up, offer to stay late on your own time to work alongside someone. Employers notice that kind of drive and it can often lead to a fantastic mentorship.

    • Thanks Lisa! It sounds like your son is VERY lucky – finding a good mentor is such a gift. I’ve been lucky enough to take part in great internships and jobs and meet amazing people along the way. And you’re exactly right – the best way to get your employer’s attention is to do whatever tasks are handed to you with pride and enthusiasm, then stay late and do extra work to show them how much you appreciate their time and knowledge.

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