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5 Fast Shortcuts to Creating a Stellar Internship Program When You’re Under Pressure

Written by Angela Finding

Under ideal circumstances, you’d take some time several months in advance of when you intend to hire an intern, developing an internship program with long-term goals for success. Not only does this give you more time to plan for your new intern, it also maximizes the breadth of talent you can attract since you’ll be posting earlier.

Unfortunately, not all businesses find the time to be this proactive; more than 50 percent of all employees feel overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time. So what are you to do if you need to put together an internship program fast?

  1. Leverage the team. You don’t have to do this all by yourself. Chances are, you have an entire team of workers with experience they can leverage to help you build an effective program. Make a list of everything you have to do, and divvy up the responsibilities accordingly. With each of you working on a different section, you’ll have a program together quickly.
  2. Mimic an existing program. You also don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Lots of companies already have internship programs, which they thoroughly describe on their public-facing websites. The S. State Department is one generic example, but you can find one related more specifically to your niche. Don’t copy everything verbatim, but you can use these existing structures as blueprints for your own program.
  3. Start advertising immediately. If you’re behind schedule, start advertising immediately, and be vague in your descriptions if you have to. Every extra day you have to spread the word about your internship is another batch of potential candidates you’ll have to review.
  4. Design as you go. Instead of trying to build out the entire program at once, start with the first section, or the first week of work, and commit to designing the rest of the program as your intern begins working through it. This also has the benefit of supplying “real time” feedback on early pieces of your program and you can better design upcoming activities.
  5. Focus on the fundamentals. Don’t get bogged down by the details; instead, focus only on the most important elements of your program. What are your main goals? What are your intern’s main responsibilities? What will they focus on learning?

Remember, if this is your first intern or first internship program, you’ll have plenty of room to grow from here. Do what you can for this first foray, and gather information throughout this process to make your next program even better. No internship program is perfect, so focus on doing the best you can.

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