Attract Awesome: What to Include in a Great Internship Job Description

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Image courtesy of Thewmatt via Flickr.

Writing an internship job description isn’t actually all that drastically different from writing a great full time job description. For the most part, many of same guidelines apply.

When crafting job descriptions, it’s important to remember that this isn’t just a description, it’s an advertisement; you’re writing this to encourage internship seekers to apply. Knowing your audience is essential. Not only are you looking to engage Millennials – the type of job, company, or work environment will likely effect your target audience. This is also a great opportunity to answer some basic questions about the internship—including location, what to expect, and what someone can hope to learn during this experience.

This is what I consider when writing internship job descriptions:

Start With Something Enticing

There are millions of job descriptions out there. Start your job description with something that’s going to make candidates want to read more. This can be done by starting with a question, using a genuine and on-brand tone, or starting with an exciting opportunity that differentiates this experience from others.

In the body of the description answer interns’ questions and make sure you’re honest! There’s nothing worse than setting incorrect expectations. Also, think about the questions your applicants would ask. Put yourself in their shoes.

About the Team

What does this team do? Tell your audience all the great things your team is responsible for. Don’t expect that college kids understand the Ad Operations and Supply Chain function. Remember that your applicant may not know that your job function or team existed before seeing this description. That doesn’t mean they might not be a rock star intern. Talk about team size, and all the cool things your group has their hand in. Showcase why your team is a great one to join!

Responsibilities

Interns want to know what they’re going to learn, how this role will help them grow their resumes, and if they’re going to like what they’re doing every day. Be as detailed as possible here and avoid fluff. Talk about the programs this intern will use and avoid using abbreviations. Interns don’t always know what a CMS or RFP is, so quickly explain the programs you use.

Requirements

Show, don’t tell. Keep up a fun, on-brand tone, lose the vague descriptions, and let candidates know exactly what you’re looking for. Looking for folks who’ve handled multiple extracurricular activities simultaneously? Don’t just say you are looking for someone who can multi-task.  Specify if you’re looking for rising seniors or certain majors, and make sure to put the most important requirements first. Those are the ones applicants remember and consider most.

Logistics

Be honest: let them know if this is a paid or unpaid internship. Outline your expected start date, and how many hours per week you’d like the intern to work. If you’ve got awesome office perks, don’t hesitate to include them. If all of the candidates you interview ask if you’ll cover re-location, put that in the job description as well. Often times, at AOL, we include sections in our internship job descriptions that say “You’ll love this job if” and “This job isn’t for you if” with a few bullet points. This helps internship candidates easily identify if this job is for them.

The Application Process

Make sure to include the information you need from the applicant, such as resumes, cover letters, writing samples, and references. Lastly, if you can, tell candidates when applications are due and when they should expect to hear from the company. Setting expectations from the application process only helps!

What do you include in your internship descriptions? Intern hopefuls, what do you look for? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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