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Many times in the wedding world you need help, but either you can’t afford it on a regular basis or find it difficult to recruit quality help.  I know of many wedding pros who utilize the help of interns year-round.  For example, an intern during consultation season may email contracts and proposals; schedule and confirm consultations; help setup at bridal shows.  An intern during peak wedding season months may help onsite at weddings; ensure product has arrived; post pictures to your social media platforms.

Internships are one way of finding that help, but setting up a program can be tricky.  Here are 3 steps to creating an internship program that works for your wedding business:

1.)  DECIDE WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE HIRING.  Will this person be an assistant during shoots?  Will this person handle your social media or something internal?  You have to examine your company, identify the weak areas and how an extra set of hands will strengthen that area.  Write down exactly what the intern will do and create a “job description.”  Determine how many interns you need as well.

2.)  BUILD THE PROGRAM.  What are the hours?  Is this a paid internship?  Is it for college credit (you must work directly with the school on this detail)?  When does the internship begin and end?  What exactly (and I do mean EXACTLY) will he/she be doing?  If you need help with this, interview other wedding pros who have created internship programs.

3.)  POSTING, APPLICATIONS AND INTERVIEWS.  You will need an application to apply for this position, just like any other position, so create that first (you can use the one in Profitable Weddings’ download library for free!!).  Then create an ad and post to Facebook, Craigslist, internal school job boards at the local college…even contact professors direct and share this opportunity.  Have the applicant submit a resume so you can see his/her work history and also complete the application.  Review resumes and applications and chose the candidates you feel will be a good fit, at least on paper.  Next, schedule interviews with each candidate.  In person works best, but over the phone is acceptable, too.  Ask each person questions pertaining to the scope of work he/she will do (there is an entire section on this in The Wedding Success Blueprint!!), and rate him/her on a scale of 1-10, 10 being perfect for the position!  Then, review those with scores of 8 or higher, and select your intern(s) from this pool.

Helpful Tips:

1.)  Give the intern real work.  Don’t just make her fetch your coffee, give her real assignments that you feel she can successfully accomplish.  It’s a great way to get tedious work off your plate.

2.)  Hold a real orientation and training sessions.  Treat her like a real employee–someone you are hiring on a permanent basis.  Not only do you get practice but your intern gets real-world experience.    The orientation and training sessions are also when you set expectations of what she is to do and show exactly how to do it.  This way, she cannot come back later and say, “you never showed me how to do that.”

3.)  Remember this person is just an intern, not your Fairy Godmother.  She can’t do it all, nor should she.  She is here to get work experience to make herself more attractive to employers once she graduates, and to explore possible career paths.  You need help.  It’s a win-win, but don’t expect her to make you a million dollars.

4.)  Hold an exit interview.  Ask the intern what they liked, what they didn’t, and look for ways to improve your program for both your benefit and the intern’s.

Do you have an intern program?  What has (or hasn’t) worked for you?  Please share in the comments!