What digital skills do you want for your interns?

I’ve noticed a lot of people asking me on Twitter to retweet Tweets where they are looking for intern positions with marketing or PR companies or looking for digital work in other companies.

Companies have different criteria depending on the work they do. I’d be grateful for some feedback from PR and Marketing companies in particular as to what they want interns schooled in before they start the job.

Are things like the below important?

  • How to create and run Facebook Pages
  • How to run Facebook Ads
  • How to create Facebook Tabs
  • Running Twitter accounts
  • Creation of content plans for Facebook and Twitter
  • Running Google Ad campaigns

What other digital skills are needed?

10 thoughts on “What digital skills do you want for your interns?”

  1. Hi Damien, I am not a PR or Marketing business but a retail business with a growing social media presence. I believe that an intern should have all those skills you mentioned as well as an ability to write interesting blogs, make YouTube videos, possibly a bit of background information on running facebook competitions and most importantly have an interest and a smile on their face.

  2. Any intern who lists such remedial skills on his CV is probably a bit stupid. Anyone who couldn’t figure out every single one of those tasks listed in your post inside their first two days on the job shouldn’t be applying. Those who happen to have done them aren’t particular super genius like either.

    Begin slight rant…

    So I’d look for common sense, passion and evidence of following related areas. At the interview I’d ask them to setup a twitter account, and a facebook page and upload a provided video and present the video in both places in an appropriate way. If they can’t do it in what? 10 minutes? …then they can’t have a job because they don’t have basic computing skills or cop on, regardless of whether they’ve done it before.

    Want to screen more lazily before the interview? Get them to do all that via a pre-written email you send them and expect an email back in 15 minutes with results. Bonus points to the kid who posts it on Reddit and somehow gets it to the front page, because that kid *is* a fucking genius.

  3. Wow, danger clearly expects a lot from people he probably isn’t prepared to pay.

    Your list is realistic; I don’t think his expectations are.

  4. We regularly take on interns for our PR agency and online skills are very important. An ability to do what you have listed is desirable. We look for a general interest in social media, but most training is on the job.

    Over our 10 year history, internships have been our main method of recruiting junior staff. They are more important than any academic qualification in terms of demonstrating knowhow and ability.

    In an interview situation, showing concrete examples of social media work and traditional PR skills and results, is very impressive.

  5. I am considering the same query myself at the moment Damien and I will be looking out for;
    – Good written language; cannot afford to have typos
    – Number of facebook friends, twitter followers etc.
    – Presence on forums such as boards
    – Overall, cannot beat some cop-on, brains and sense of humour…

  6. We have been looking for an online intern. Lots of great CV’s but very few mention online skills. We only discover they have a good presence online when we look them up ourselves.

    The top points you raised, would be excellent to have and we could put them to good use. But I am puzzled by this disparty (smart interns with good CVs, but no listing of online experience). I am not sure if they are being advised badly on doing a CV, what skills are considered ‘PR’, or if they are not getting the skills in college. From my days in the UK, this was (but not anymore) an issue.

    We are always looking for candidates (for future hires as well as immediate vacancies, but something is not clicking. Perhaps it will change over time – I certainly hope so.

    I would love to see what your findings are, as I think it could be an issue worth addressing.

  7. I am a trainer with Fitzwilliam Institute and also arrange work placements for the Post Grad PR and Event Management students. I have almost 40 in an internship at the moment. The students are trained in online pr and would be equipped to do the things Damien mentions. Many would have these skills already and are ready to hit the ground running. I find that companies/organisations (not just agencies) are looking for them to take on a lot in this area as they are only just dipping their toe in the water themselves.

  8. Are we talking about paid internships, through a college program or work for free?

    What does the intern get out of this?

    Some of the expectations being asked for here are professional or rare skills. I could see that kind of on-the-job training being imparted through the internship, but I think that realistic expectations need to be considered.

    *Interns* with experience of running facebook/google AD campaigns? With whose money? Content Plans? Isn’t this the kind of experience that is meant to be imparted on the job?

  9. Good debate here – nice to see discussion on this. Mark – send me your CV at cyril.moloney@scomms.ie – no promises, but you never know.

    At this point, we are finding it hard to work out what level applicants are at online. Would be happy to train up where there are gaps, but we do need to get a baseline of where they are at. As an agency we are also learning, somethings we are strong on, some we need to work on.

    Zoe, would you be up for a phone call or email chat about this? Email is above, and would love to get a sense of what you are doing. As I spent most of my working life thus far in the UK, I am ashamedly unaware of what training you do and your graduate programme. Would be keen to know more.

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