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Shawna Scott - 7/2/2019

The talent war is very real, and other companies in your industry are trying to hire the very same bright students that you are. Read on for some strategies to make your internship opportunity stand out.

1. First off, we strongly encourage employers to pay interns! If a student is considering multiple opportunities, you bet they’re going to give preference to a position with compensation. Many students are replacing part-time work with an internship but continue to have bills for tuition, housing, etc. Paid internships also indicate that you are investing in the intern, creating a form of prestige that is desirable to other students. (For important legal info about compensation, check out page 20 of our Internship Guide.)

2. Highlight what other perks you can offer in addition to work experience, especially for nonpaid internships. Organizations that qualify for offering nonpaid internships should consider compensating their interns in other ways, such as:

  • Free or reduced housing, parking and meals
  • Company product discounts, event tickets, etc.
  • Working with the intern to establish a schedule that allows them to work a part-time job while interning
  • Reimbursing the intern for mileage when they travel
  • Inviting the intern to networking opportunities to help develop their professional network and secure future internships and/or job leads
  • Collaborating with the intern’s college/university so they can receive academic credit

3. Make your listing engaging! Try addressing your ideal candidate before delving into the specifics, and make sure to highlight what they will get out of the experience. Put yourself in a student’s shoes – which of these opening paragraphs sounds more appealing?

  • “XYZ Tech Firm seeks driven computer science intern. Primary responsibilities: Running maintenance, fixing software bugs…”
  • “Do you love to code? Does resolving a bug or creating a new program from scratch get you excited? Then XYZ Tech Firm could be a great fit for you. At this computer science internship, you’ll partner with professionals to provide programming and technical support, gain practical experience developing new software…”

4. Potential candidates want to know exactly what they may be getting into. Put them at ease by including as many details in your listing as possible, such as:

  • minimum GPA
  • preferred major(s)
  • if academic credit is available
  • beginning and ending dates of the position
  • number of weekly hours
  • required and preferred skills
  • position responsibilities
  • if the student should submit a writing sample or portfolio
  • application deadline
  • general timeframe for interviews
  • whether any travel is involved
  • if the intern will need a personal vehicle
  • a brief overview of your organization with links to your website, blog, social media accounts, etc.

5. If you hope to attract candidates from outside your immediate area, consider adding a paragraph near the bottom of your listing about some local attractions and what makes your city an interesting place to work/play. Many students are interested in exploring new places, but they want to make an informed decision about where to go. (If you click on a Region, you’ll get a list of local entertainment, restaurants, sports and so on for that area that you can incorporate into your description.)

6. Finally, start recruiting early! The hottest internship spots often open six months or even a year in advance, and many of the most high-achieving, go-getter candidates are already searching by then.

These strategies will go a long way toward helping you attract top talent to your internship position. Ready to get started?