Once your organization has decided to develop an internship program, start the process of creating your internship posting. This is where you set the expectations of the internship. Be descriptive without being excessive. A long posting will likely be skimmed or passed over. Prepare a focused message. The following are five key parts to an effective internship posting.
Introduction. Provide a brief introduction to your company. Approach this as though you are writing to someone who has never heard of you. Speak to what type of business you are in and what role you play in the industry. Feel free to tout your company a little, but be concise. This is only an introduction.
Position Description. This is the meat of the posting, where you discuss what the intern will do. Start with intern title (i.e. Marketing Intern) then briefly describe what you are looking for in an intern. Think of what major(s) would be appropriate for your position. Include the primary responsibilities that the intern will handle. Establish timeframe, hours, etc. If you are working with a particular educational institution, remember to align your position to their internship standards. The school will likely have a minimum requirement of hours per week and length of the internship.
Desired Characteristics. The next section describes the experience, skills, and behavior that you desire of intern candidates. Think about what is necessary to accomplish the duties, but remember that this is for student interns. Don’t overstate your expectations and miss out on some great candidates.
Benefits. What is the student going to get from this experience? Include compensation information, if applicable, but also describe intangible benefits that you may be able to offer. This may be in the form of networking opportunities, training programs, event participation, certifications, etc.
Contact. The final component to the posting consists of contact information for how the student should apply for the position. Remember to include a method that will be accessible and often reviewed. Follow up with applicants. They will likely be applying for multiple positions. A quick response time will ensure you first access to the best possible candidates.
Once you have the posting developed, contact your local educational institutions to get your position in front of students. Finally, while you want to define the position effectively on the front end, realize that your final candidate may have additional skills that they will be able to display. Allow flexibility in their role to be able to make the best possible use of your intern. The student will appreciate you helping to tailor the final responsibilities around their skill set.
By Shane S. Kirby, MBA
Internship Program Coordinator
Business Programs, Integrated Media & Technology
Columbus State Community College