Attracting Rockstar Interns With a Great Program

How To Create Internship Programs The help Prepare One For the Workplace

Don’t forget about our newest webinar, 7 Best Intern and College Recruiting Best Practices! March 14 at 11AM CST. Register Now!

Do you have what it takes to attract rockstar talent?  College students want internships to help them fully prepare for the workplace and gain new skills and contacts. You will want to develop and then clearly articulate the value of your program for students and colleges.  Here’s what you will need:

Interesting projects: College students want real world experience.  The last thing an intern wants is a boring job. The biggest horror is to have nothing to do at all.  Interns can handle multiple projects at one time which is truly a realistic work experience.  A bored intern is a problem for everyone.  The challenging projects you give them will allow them to prepare for employment and keep them motivated.

Training: Are there new skills or training involved with the internship? College students want to add to their skill list during an internship. Can he master a software application like salesforce? Can she learn about corporate quality or compliance practices?  Think about what is going on across your company or in your department that the intern can take advantage of from a learning and development perspective.

Access and networking:  Interns want to grow their professional network while working. Expose them to company meetings, events and luncheons that are happening. In addition to that, create new opportunities for them to meet other employees, suppliers, and  customers.  Arrange for a one-on-one meeting with one of your top company executives to give the intern a senior level contact and opportunity for engagement.

Compensation: Make sure your compensation program is attractive to students.  Most students need to be paid for their work. If you are not offering compensation, your pool of applicants will be much smaller and you will have to comply with very specific laws regarding unpaid interns. The best plan is to pay your interns a fair and competitive wage.

Future opportunity: College students will be even more eager to work as an intern if they know that this internship may lead to a full time position post graduation at your company. Be clear about those prospects up front so there are no misunderstandings.

These are the components that will typically attract top university talent. Once you have recruited the students, it’s your job to make sure you are offering regular feedback and communication.  Keeping them happy, challenged and motivated is your goal.

What does your internship program look like?

What types of benefits or perks do you offer interns so they are attracted to your company?

Don’t forget about our newest webinar, 7 Best Intern and College Recruiting Best Practices! March 14 at 11AM CST. Register Now!

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Sandra Long

Sandra Long is the author of the bestselling book LinkedIn For Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. She is also the managing partner of Post Road Consulting LLC. Sandra and her team work with corporations, universities, and individuals to drive successful sales, career, and talent acquisition results.

Reader Interactions


  1. Rory Trotter says

    This is a great post, Sandra.

    I especially agree with your point about the importance of compensation. The truth of the matter is that too often companies put together great intern programs and then aren’t competitive with pay. Using surveys like NACE to stay abreast of what people are being paid here is key.

    Thanks for sharing.



  2. Sandra Long says

    Thanks for your comments Rory! You make a good point that using salary data helps companies determine competitive pay. Thanks very much, Sandra

  3. AFA Julie says

    These are all great points. It’s so discouraging to students to land an internship that doesn’t provide them with any real work experience or interesting projects. It’s a chance for the company to show why people should want to work there. If you make the intern miserable, they’re going to talk about!

  4. Sandra Long says

    Agree wholeheartedly- The students want interesting projects where they can really learn new things. Thanks for your post.



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