Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process from idea to posting.
Step 1: Assess your needs.
What is your overall goal? For example, you may want an intern to:
- Participate in an important short term project that could move your organization or department forward
- Help develop a plan or strategy to launch a new initiative or program
- Examine a problem and provide creative solutions with an objective, unbiased view
- Enhance delivery of professional services; e.g. counseling/mentoring, teaching, foreign language
- Suggest innovative ideas and/or provide technical assistance
- Improve efficiencies with a fresh approach
Step 2: Identify concrete activities that contribute to student learning.
Certain internships are developed with academic departments and therefore activities are specialized (scientific research, health or engineering related), but here are some possible activities:
- Collaborate with team on R & D projects
- Conduct market or topical research via the internet, interviews, print sources
- Develop and administer a customer or employee survey
- Perform statistical analysis and develop detailed spreadsheets or databases
- Co-create a sample business or marketing plan
- Design a website, implement social media content
- Create and/or edit print and online media including newsletters, brochures (PDF's), manuals, forms, presentations(PowerPoint), news articles, press releases
- Help provide human service assistance to special or underserved populations
- Plan and facilitate fundraising events including logistics, food, invitations and advertising plans
Step 3: Determine desired education level, experience and qualifications. Consider:
- Project complexity: Is the assignment more suited to an undergraduate or graduate level student?
- Specialization: Does the experience relate to a specific skill set, technical or professional program?
- Essential skills: Writing, verbal/listening, presentation, accuracy , foreign language
- Soft skills: teamwork, interpersonal skills, multicultural effectiveness, creative thinking
- Academic program(s): What kind of educational preparation do you require and how specific? Business, engineering, liberal arts? Keep in mind that despite the actual program or concentration, many times students from a variety of educational programs can perform well in your internship. For example, English majors may do an excellent job assisting your marketing or HR department. In other internships, however, it is best to ask for exactly what kind of student you envision as the best fit for your project.
Step 4: Add structure and clarity.
- Is this a fall, spring or summer opportunity?
- Number of
hours per week and duration of time (start and end dates)?
Tip: Full-time students may be available up to 20 hours per week during fall and spring semesters, or up to 40 during summers. Again, each college has practices exclusive to their student population.
- Compensation - paid or unpaid? Any perks included?
- How does the student apply? Application deadline?
- Who is the main contact for the posting? Who is the mentor?
- When is orientation and training?
Step 5: Write the internship description.
- Be sure to include complete information from each of steps 2 - 4 above.
- Contact your preferred college career center for sample internship descriptions.
Step 6: Post the internship.
Once you have submitted the College Employment Connection form, your posting will be sent to your selected WNY colleges. Each college will advertise your opportunity, and students will apply as per your instructions.
Tricks of the Trade
- Impress. Develop an interesting, real-world internship project that will enhance a student's résumé.
- Post early. Each institution will set its own recruiting dates, but a simple rule of thumb is to post your internship during the semester before the opportunity. Requesting interns that can start 'right away' is a tall order to fill for any of our member institutions.
- Offer pay or perks. The most competitive and challenging opportunities provided by our top organizations are also paid positions. Especially crucial during the summer when students are charged separate tuition to complete a credit-bearing internship.
- Ask questions. If you are confused about the internship recruiting process, select one of our member colleges and contact the career center. You will be directed to an internship coordinator who can help. Visit our member colleges page for details.