Developing an Internship Position
Once you have assessed the needs of your agency, it is much easier to set goals for the internship program. Have a discussion with management about the internship program's goals. In order for the internship to be successful, it will require the commitment of management.
Once the internship goals have been defined, it will be easy to develop work responsibilities. Challenging work assignments that complement students' academic programs, will sell the internship experience to students. Create a preliminary list of work activities that fit your department. A detailed description of typical tasks will help the university to promote your internship. Later, when the intern joins your agency, you will have a chance to review the work activities and modify them according to the intern's knowledge and personal work/learning goals.
As part of the educational process, internship work activities should focus on projects specifically related to the academic major and the degree the interns expect to receive. Students who perform only menial tasks will become quickly demoralized and will learn nothing about applying their expertise to a professional environment. While many students work (or have worked) at part-time jobs to finance their education, an internship does not fall into the category of a job. It is actually part of their academic program and should offer every opportunity to link classroom learning to workplace experience.
Sample tasks that undergraduate student interns have provided for their agency include the following:
- Performing laboratory tests
- Writing handbooks or manuals
- Designing posters, charts and graphs
- Conducting studies and surveys
- Developing slide/sound presentations
- Compiling technical reports
- Developing and presenting educational programs
- Conducting research
- Generating marketing plans
- Creating or updating a website
- Providing technical training assistance
- Preparing budgets and financial reports
- Writing press releases
- Creating brochures
- Generating financial forecast and cost recovery reports
- Performing software/hardware modifications
Developing challenging work assignments relative to the student's abilities is a major part of the description. The final internship description will incorporate the needs of your organization as well as the abilities and academic goals of the students who intern.
Organizations/companies may create several internship position descriptions depending on their needs.
The internship position description should include the following:
- Internship Title and duties/responsibilities
- Skills or academic qualifications needed
- Number of hours per week, if applicable
- Work schedule (can be flexible)
- Compensation: paid or unpaid. If paid, how much.
- Start and end dates
- Organization's name
- Internship supervisor's name and title
- Required application materials and procedure (resume, cover letter, interview, etc.)
- How you would like applicants to contact you and corresponding contact information.
- Application deadline, if applicable
- Describe challenging, but realistic tasks students can accomplish within a three-to-four month period.