(or, Why You Should be Optimistic About the Next Generation)
… From the desk of Jayne Battey
This summer we were fortunate enough to have an outstanding intern at Miramar Environmental and Miramar Farms. Lindley Dobbrow is a rising Junior at U.C. Santa Barbara majoring in Environmental Studies. She joined us just about 12 weeks ago and today is her last day before she gets ready to set off for Semester at Sea.
This summer we asked Lindley to do everything from preparing research reports to developing our social media platform to growing pumpkins (seriously). She did them all and she did them with zeal and a smile on her face.
So I thought before she left us we should get her opinion on a few things, including how to hire a good summer intern and what we should know about 20 year-olds entering the workforce. I think what she has to say will make you feel pretty good about this upcoming generation.
So … what does your summer intern have to share before they head back to school? We’d love to hear what they think about some of these same questions.
Interview with Lindley Dobbrow (Miramar Intern Extraordinaire) conducted by Jayne Battey, Founder and Owner of Miramar Farms.
What would your advice be to someone hiring a summer intern? What should they look for, and how can they tell they’ll get a person who is a self-starter and motivated?
LD: When hiring a summer intern, you want someone who is going to be committed and motivated. Someone who will come to work on time and with a smile on their face, ready to work even when they aren’t quite ready to be awake. The way people present themselves on paper can be very different than how they present themselves in person. Even if someone looks perfect on paper, chances are they have their flaws like everyone else.
I would recommend meeting or at least having a phone interview with your prospective intern to assess both their communication skills and enthusiasm for the potential job. Through emails you can’t really tell someone’s actual response but over the phone or face to face you can hear it in their voice or see their expressions. I also think it is important to see how your future intern presents themselves both on Facebook and LinkedIn and what their references say about them. Facebook will demonstrate how they personally present themselves and LinkedIn will illustrate how they present themselves professionally.
Someone who is motivated and enthusiastic about the potential opportunity is going to follow up with you right away. They might be persistent almost to the point of being annoying, but they are doing that because they really want the internship and they really want to learn from and work with you.
Did you learn anything interesting about yourself or the working world this summer?
LD: Over the past year I was told over and over again by my parents, counselor, and even some friends, how I had to get a summer internship. Everyone said it was important because you can put it on your résumé for future employers and that an internship will help you gain experience. I had no idea how beneficial having an internship would actually be. Not only did I practice writing a report, learn what “cc” actually stands for, and do things I had never really done before (like gardening) but I also learned that in the working world I need to be flexible and to be able to adapt to different situations.
Throughout the summer, I was given assignments that did not always come with detailed instructions. I had to go with my gut and try my best to get it done. I would go with the instructions I had and do what I thought was best, and I found that the outcome was usually right. I also learned that I needed to be ready to change my strategy and to prioritize. These are just a couple of the things I discovered during my internship with Miramar Farms this summer, along with other valuable learning experiences.
You were born in 1993 and will be coming out of college in another two years. What should employers know about your generation, as they get ready to recruit employees in 2014-2016?
LD: My mom recently sent me an article from Forbes that was titled 20 Things 20-Year-Olds-Don’t Get. After reading the article, I thought about some of the statements the writer had made, like that 20 year olds do not get that you should “spend 25% less than you make” or that “you HAVE to build your technical chops.”
Speaking from personal experience, although I know both these statements are true, I need to be reminded of them over and over again. I think there are some people in my age group who assume that because most of us grew up with computers and cell phones, we are proficient in technology. I can honestly say this is an area I need work on, but I am definitely trying.
The technology we grew up with has opened more doors of creativity and more connections around the world. I believe that my generation is open-minded, socially conscious and creative. Employers should ditch the negative stereotypes and try to learn more about my generation and what we have to offer. Every individual is different and employers should have an open mind when recruiting employees in the next coming years because they will be surprised.
You are about to head off to Semester at Sea. What are you most looking forward to on this adventure?
LD: I am so excited to experience every minute of my upcoming adventure at Semester at Sea. I can’t believe that in about two weeks I will be stepping onto the ship that will become my home for the next three and a half months. I am a mixture of incredibly excited and super nervous. I can’t wait to meet everyone I am going to be living with on the ship, to take classes in a way I have never experienced, and to see places I have always dreamed about visiting.
If I had to pick one thing I am most excited about it would be experiencing all the various cultures. I love traveling, and always have. I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to visit thirteen different countries all around the world. For me, traveling is not just about seeing the architecture and learning about the history of the city or country I am in, but embracing the culture and meeting the people. It is so cool to see different cultures, traditions and ways of life and it really makes you reflect back on your own life. I am so excited for these next few months and cannot wait for them to begin!
Thanks, Lindley. Along with my own amazing children, you make me feel confident that the future is in very good hands.