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Effective Internship Descriptions & Programs

How you describe your internship will determine the type of interest and candidates it generates. For this reason, it is important to make the most of your internship's description in Handshake.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure our students know what they would be applying to and why they should.

Whether your company is a small operation or has Fortune 500 status, students can be unaware or unsure of what your company does. It is increasingly important for students to also know how and why you do it. So share details about your company's history and industry, the services or products that are being provided, and the values that inform the work being down. What type of work environment can they expect? Can you point to previous interns who have gone on to succeed at your company or in other professional opportunities as a result of taking part in the opportunity you are posting?

Sharing these types of details builds context that can help students determine if your company is right for them. This can create an applicant pool that you know is serious about the work you do and that aligns with your company's values.

Providing them with accurate and thorough details is also important to help students visualize themselves as your intern and thus determining if it is an opportunity for which that should apply. List responsibilities that include day-to-day duties and tasks. Describe what the student should expect to learn through this internship, otherwise known as learning objectives. Will they participate in company meetings? What about networking events? These can be viewed as an added value to the experience. Internships that will allow them to connect with professionals from whom they can learn will be expected criteria for many of the students.

Some companies are able to compensate students with a competitive hourly rate or significant stipend, which proves to be both wonderful and deserved. However, monetary compensation is only one type of benefit. Be sure to describe the mentoring and training the intern will receive. Ongoing mentoring and training are key elements of all internships. You are much more likely to get your internship posting approved and generate serious candidates when this type of benefit is incorporated into the student experience. Additionally, you will want to provide the dates of the internship, desired hours, and location of the internship.

What are the requirements? Some companies will have specific majors they are looking to hire and maybe even a minimum GPA. Let the students know this. You can also set these requirements when creating your post in Handshake. Be as specific as you need to be in your description, however. If you are open to different majors and backgrounds, be sure that is clearly expressed. If you are looking for a student with prior experience, let this also be known, but be careful. Some students shy away from applying to internships that require experience because they aren’t sure if their experience applies. Many internships do not require previous experience; if this is true for your organization, be sure to state it.

Other requirements might be specific skills and abilities or experience using certain software or computer applications. Whatever it is, be sure the students have the opportunity to know it before applying.

Besides your contact information (name, title, email address, website, etc.), so they know to whom they are submitting their application and documents, students should also be given information about the next steps in the application procedure. When possible, provide details related to your application timeline. When is the application deadline? When is the hire date? When can candidates expect contact if selected for an interview?

These details remove some of the ambiguity from the experience and help students set reasonable expectations.

If you would like to see samples of acceptable internship descriptions, you can do so here and here. Additionally, here is a template of suggested bullet points necessary for creating a compelling internship description.

If you're hosting a student intern, we encourage you to have a formal debrief towards the end of the student's internship. This is a valuable time for a student to hear constructive feedback from you as their supervisor and help them continue to grow professionally. 

You can find a template of a performance evaluation debrief here to guide the conversation with your intern.

Internship Programs

Are you interested in partnering with us as an internship placement site? The Career Development Center is here to help establish an internship partnership with your organization.

Many departments across campus require their majors to participate in an internship in order to graduate. Such departments include Mass Communication, English, Music Industry Studies, Criminology & Justice, and many more. To learn more about the major-specific requirements, contact Katie Bandy Krikorian at


Need additional assistance crafting effective job or internship descriptions? Contact us at