Internship Creation Guide

Congratulations! There is a talented high school student interested in joining your team. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to turn them from an interested student into a fully integrated team member and hopefully inspire their future career along the way. 

Step One: Understanding a Student’s Profile

What makes our students special is that they represent the most talented students in their generation who are eager to start learning and developing professional skills. By virtue of their age, many already have basic exposure to professional skills such as content creation, graphic design, or video editing, but ultimately they are here to learn and develop skills on the job. 

Thus we recommend that when evaluating a student’s profile you look at their academic and extracurricular background and their passion for your organization above other factors such as their prerequisites and work samples. What you are evaluating is not if the student is already the perfect intern, but if they have the potential to become your perfect intern with some guidance and self-learning. 

Step Two: The Interview

When you interview a student make sure to ask them about their interests and learning goals for the internship. This will help ensure that the internship is a good match for the both of you. 

Also be sure to ask about their desired timelines and schedule so that you are on the same page about when the internship will start and end, how many hours per week the inten will be putting in, and any vacations or other commitments either of you might have during the internship period. Also be sure to re-iterate if the opportunity is paid or unpaid. 

Step Three: The Offer

We ask that opportunities issue an informal email offer or rejection within a week of interviewing a student. This is because students are often on a deadline to find an internship opportunity. Please be sure to CC StandOut Search on this email and include rough start and end dates for the opportunity, the hours per week requirement, and a reiteration of if it is paid or unpaid. If you choose not to extend an offer to a student, please send them a polite email letting them know and CC StandOut Search. 

Students will have a week to accept the offer. After a student accepts an offer, we encourage you to start your own onboarding process. This process is entirely at your own discretion based on the laws in your state and your usual hiring practices. Many opportunities choose to have students sign a formal offer letter, internship agreement, and or non-disclosure. While we receive parental consent from students for the internship matching program, we encourage you to receive parental consent again before beginning the internship experience. 

Step Four: Setting Expectations 

When you first meet with a student at the beginning of their internship, it is important to make sure you are both on the same page about what the opportunity will entail. 

Important Expectations to Discuss:

  • Make a list of the student’s learning goals for the internship and let them know which ones you will be able to support and how. For example, if a student is interested in sales, we encourage you to discuss your sales methodology with them, or invite them to listen in on a sales call. 
  • What enrichment opportunities can they look forward to throughout the internship such as sitting in on team meetings, attending a conference with you, or scheduling coffee chats with other team members? 
  • Do they have any other commitments during the internship that you should be aware of such as a family vacation or standardized test? 
  • What email address you would like the intern to use for you and within what timeframe can they expect responses from you. Within what timeframe should they respond to you? What should they do if you forget to respond to them? 
  • What is an additional way they can use to contact you just in case? Students generally appreciate being able to communicate via text. 
  • How often will you meet and where (Zoom, phone call, at your office?)
  • How often and how will you assign new projects?
  • When will new projects be due? We highly encourage you to provide due dates for everything as this is what students are accustomed to. 
  • What should they do when they have a question or need help? Should they reach out to you right away or research things on their own first? 
  • What should they do if they feel overwhelmed and need more time for something?
  • At what stages during the internship can the student expect feedback on their performance? Be sure to take time to tell the student what they are good at and where they have more learning to do. 

Keep in mind that the structure you envision for the internship program should match the initial mentorship level you selected:

High mentorship is an opportunity where you will meet with the intern 1 or more times per week and have regular text and other digital communication with them. There will also be consistent invitations for the intern to join team meetings and other enrichment opportunities and introductions will be made with other members of the company.  

Medium mentorship is an opportunity where you will meet at least biweekly with the intern and have regular text and other digital communication with them. There will also be some exposure to team meetings and other enrichment opportunities.

Low mentorship is an opportunity where you will meet at least biweekly with the intern and have regular text and other digital communication with them.

Step Five: Enrichment 

Throughout the internship you should find ways to make it a meaningful educational experience for the student. Always leave room for them to ask questions and share the advice you wish someone gave you at their age. This is often the most fun and rewarding part of taking on an intern! Some example enrichment opportunities include:

  • Inviting the student to sit in on team meetings, sales calls, meetings with advisors, or other novel events  
  • Encouraging the student to get to know different team members by setting up virtual coffees or eating lunch with them at the office
  • Give the student additional materials about your company or organization to read and discuss with you such as your business plan or marketing strategy. You can also give them other relevant materials to read and discuss such as a scientific article or novel relevant to your field.
  • Consistently take the time to explain the big picture to them. What direction is the company going in? How do their projects fit into the organization’s overall trajectory? What creative ideas do they have to contribute? 

Step Six: Conclusion

For high school students, their resume and letters of recommendation are essential to help them get into their dream university. Thus we highly encourage you to write your interns unique and thoughtful recommendation letters. Also take the time to talk to the student about how they can best describe the experience on their resume. Connect with them on Linkedin so that you can stay in touch and serve as a mentor for them going forward. 

If a student expresses that they would like to stay with your organization beyond the intended internship length make sure to set clear expectations for how this new phase of the internship will work. 

Also, make sure that you have responded to all surveys from StandOut Search. This feedback is essential for us as we continue to grow and expand this program to more students. We will drop companies and organizations from our program who do not respond to our feedback surveys in a timely manner. 

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