I managed Dell’s internship program in the US this summer and it’s amazing what you can learn by watching 400 college students navigate through the corporate world over the course of 12 weeks. It reminded me how overwhelming the first days in a large, complex organization can be; particularly if it’s your first “real” job like it was for many of these interns.
Our interns, regardless of their degree level and major, want to stand out above the rest and leave a legacy (and get a full time offer!). I was grateful to have a few years of work experience under my belt, as I remembered how little they teach you in school about the “real world.” It can be difficult to make a lasting impression when you are competing against hundreds of like-minded individuals.
We decided to provide an outlet for interns to express their creativity, share their honest experiences on what interning at Dell is like and be noticed internally and externally. ‘The Most Influential Intern’ contest invited all US-based Dell interns to blog about their summer experience on LinkedIn Publisher allowing them to develop their personal brand and share stories that bring more depth to Dell’s employment brand. The contest was judged on writing style, content, and engagement. Members of our Social Media and Communities (SMaC) and Global Talent teams provided guidance and governance for, but kept input to a minimum to encourage authentic and creative perspectives to shine through.
20 interns participated and published a combined 52 posts, generating over 50,000 views, 3,000 likes, and 650 comments. As well as social media engagement, these posts showed potential future interns what a summer at Dell would be like through peer perspectives on the culture, projects, and people.
Zaid Nassir (above), a marketing intern who is studying for his Masters in Marketing at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University was our “2015 Most Influential Intern.” His winning blog post, Office Survival Series – Emailing Effectively, CC: All Management, which poked fun at the corporate world and offered advice how to thrive in an Outlook world, has over 6,300 views to date.
“Office e-mails. It’s like being in a teenage relationship. The stress of waiting for a reply, the meticulousness in drafting the right response, the panic that ensues when you don’t receive an answer, and the heartache when your invite is accepted as ‘tentative,’” Zaid said.
Zaid focused on a topic near and dear to interns – the basics! His post was hilarious and relevant and he was able to highlight the culture at Dell without even mentioning his internship. His blog was unconventional, unexpected and extremely well-received. This parallels Dell’s culture, where innovation and entrepreneurship are coveted traits for current and potential employees. Individuals who are not afraid to take a smart risk and share their unconventional, unexpected ideas with their team members are praised and rewarded.
We encourage our interns to be innovative and the contest provided a platform to do just that. Check out the other top five blogs to learn more about what this summer was like for our interns.
- 3 Ways to Change the World at Work, Zach Schultz
- 5 Ways Dell Embraces Millennials, Andrea Rodgers
- 7 Deadly Sins of Internships, Karen McCann
- 5 Reasons Liberal Arts Degrees aren't Completely Useless, Audrey Lecker
I’m looking forward to hearing what our next class of interns has to say!
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