How to Create an Effective “Intern Wanted” Ad to Get the Right Intern

Want_Ad_for_InternOnce you have decided that an intern would be a valuable asset for your company, the next challenge is to find the intern talent you want in your company by creating a great want ad or online ad. Even though interns work for little or no money, you still want to attract people who will contribute to your company’s success rather than be a drag on your output.

Writing this ad, as with writing ads to find full time staff or freelancers, is an investment in your business, so if it means spending a bit of money to get the ad right and find the right intern, it will be worth it. Let’s look at how to create a great ad that attracts the talent you’re looking for.

Who Are You?

The first thing potential interns want to know is about your company, so create a brief but informative description of who you are. This is not just your company tagline or motto, think “elevator speech” here. This statement should, as briefly as possible tell what the benefit to your customers is by doing business with you – this immediately positions you for prospective interns and motivates them to read on.

Next, look at an, “elevator speech” aimed at employees – what’s in it for them to work with you:

  • The “culture” in your company. What kind of people work with you? What does your office “feel” like – friendly, etc.? Describe the vibe. Exciting? Fast paced? Supportive? Creative?
  • Talk about any unusual benefits your business offers (like the perks at Google).
  • What does your business stands for? How are you trying to impact, not only your market, but the world?
  • Is there an overall philosophy motivating your employees.
  • Location! Location! Location! Where are you, and what is nearby.

Like advertising to your customers and clients, your ad should attract prospective interns so they feel drawn to working with you.

What Does Your Company Need From Them?

Outline generally and specifically what you will expect them to do: The kinds of projects will they’ll be working on, the educational experiences they’ll likely encounter, even how many hours you will expect them to work – this will be especially important for students.

As specific as you are, no one can foretell what the future holds, so leave room for flexibility. Your needs may change, and the intern you hire may prove better than you expected and therefore able to do more for you while learning more for themselves. Basically give them the information they need to determine if they want to take the next step and call you for an appointment.

The Big Question for Interns, “What can I expect to learn?”

Any prospective employee wants to know, “What’s in it for me?” Your prospective interns might learn about:

  • Website setup.
  • Product creation.
  • Product and Sales Marketing.
  • Web analytics.
  • Attracting traffic to web sites.
  • Search engine optimization.
  • Purchased traffic.
  • Building and maintaining a blog.
  • Social media support.

Don’t just tell them what they’ll learn, tell them, “What’s in it for them?” For instance, it they will be maintaining your company blog, let them know how important it is to your company, and how important it is for them to know this skill for the future.

If a term isn’t “self-explanatory,” explain it. “CMS” is pretty meaningless by itself, but even, “Content Management System” might leave them not fully informed – and they will want to know what they might be getting themselves in for.

Limit the responses to save your time

To find best talent, as well as to save time, who need not apply. You might say:

“This position is perfect for anyone interested in response oriented marketing. This position is not aimed at branding-type marketing. You’ll learn how to optimize promotions for maximum sales, rather than trying to gain market share. Interns who want to learn how a profitable web business works should apply. But for branding experience, this is not the job for you.”

Once you have stated up front who is best for this job – as well as who this is not aimed at, will save you time filtering out unnecessary applications.

Working Arrangement and Future Job Opportunities

Give interns an honest view on how the working arrangement will work and what their future job opportunities are.

Do not promise a future job. But if you do plan on hiring someone after the internship, tell them so in the ad. By all means, tell them about future job opportunities, both in your company and outside your company. Tell them what positions may open in your firm, and what kinds of jobs people with their skills they learn with your company might expect on the open market.

And, of course, tell them how long the internship will last. And what criteria you’ll use to if you might want to keep them on full time.

Tell Them How to Respond

Finally, end your ad by telling them how to respond. Should they send a resume? Should they send samples of their past work? Should they include their email and phone number?

Some people ask interns to send in a 2 minute video introduction. That’s a great way to get the vibe of someone, though you’ll reduce the number of applicants you get because you’re making people jump through more hoops.

Here’s a good trick. Ask applicants to include a code word in their email. For example, “Include a nonsense word like ‘gormln’ (I hope that’s a nonsense word) in your subject line.” Anyone who neglects the code word didn’t bother to read your whole ad – a good pre-screen.

This pathway to a great, “Intern Wanted” ad will help you quickly find the candidate most likely to be of real value to your company and most likely to benefit from your intern program.

Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions. ~ Anthony Robbins




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