Internship Program Design Tips


Step by Step Tips for Employers

1. Navigating ZagTrax

2. Writing a Good Job Description

3. Writing Learning Objectives

4. Increasing Your Presence in the GU Community

5. Interviewing a College Student

6. Making Your Internship Meaningful

7. Giving feedback to a College Intern

1. Navigating ZagTrax:

As a service to both our students and their potential employers we use an online recruiting and job posting system called ZagTrax powered by NACElink/Symplicity.  Utilizing ZagTrax is a free service to employer partners and can streamline your recruiting efforts.

  • For complete instructions on how to create a profile and post an internship on ZagTrax, click here.

To find the most Qualified Candidates it helps to:

o   Make a specific selection of which majors you are recruiting.  Some students set up an alert for internships only posted in their major. Note: If you select ALL MAJORS some students will not see the posting because it is too general.

o   Remember to give a title to the job, even when it is an internship

o   Be complete when listing the Qualifications you require.

o   Provide a thorough Job Description. If possible, include a sample of the learning objectives.

Things to know when posting in ZagTrax:

o   There are a few options for receiving resumes from the ZagTrax posting.:

§  E-mail: This is an excellent option if you have an opening that needs to be filled immediately.  Resumes will be directed to the e-mail associated to the opening.

§  Accumulate Online: Allows for the resumes to be accumulate in a packet form which will be sent directly to the person of contact once the post is closed.

o   Additional Requested Documents:  Here you can request applicants to include a cover letter, unofficial transcript, writing sample or other required documents.


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2.  Writing a Good Job Description: 

  • Identify the need within your company.  Ask, “Is this something an intern could accomplish?” Be sure the design for the internship is actually within reach of the student.
  • Make a plan before you begin.  Determine the specific tasks and role the intern will have. If possible, collaborate with others in your company to generate the best vision for how this will work.
  • Be specific. Outline the tasks and roles and expectations with enough description that it is clear to the intern what will be expected. Avoid generalities.
  • Be project centered when possible.  Interns understand that part of their work is “basic routine.” But most students are anxious to accomplish a task from beginning to end that represents the industry. Try to build this into the internship, AND the job description.
  • Communicate the essentials. Be forthcoming about location, time frame, compensation, work hours, supervision.
  • Identify details.  Offer open disclose of duration, compensation and relevant perimeters.

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3. How to Write Learning Objectives:

  • Make a brief list of what you consider important for your intern to learn while in your workplace. Identify what “enduring understanding” will be helpful to the intern upon completion.   Ask, “What will the intern need to do or learn in order to gain this?  What do you hope the intern will be able to do or understand at the end of training?”
  • Use the formula,   SWiBAT + Outcome    

        “Upon completion of the their internship, Students Will Be Able To______(state outcome)

  • Select several (3 to 5) specific learning objectives that have the capacity for learning success.

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4.  How to Increase Your Presence in the Gonzaga Community:

Once your internship is posted on, there are few methods you can utilize to promote your opportunity to Gonzaga students:

  • Be sure to include dynamic descriptions of the internship and how a student will benefit.
  • Send marketing materials (either digitally or hard copy) to the Gonzaga Career Center. It can be posted in high traffic areas on campus or sent to departments to alert students.
  • Participate in Student Mock Interviews, held in the evenings once each semester.
  • Participate as an excursion host in one of Gonzaga’s Treks held in multiple cities during the school year
  • Participate in a hosted training seminar or workshop with other employers. Check with Career Center for time and place.
  • Contact the Recruitment Specialist in the Career Center & GAMP office to schedule Information Sessions, interviews, and participate in a Career Fair or related event.  For more information, contact: Karen Franks-Harding, Recruitment Specialist: or 509.313.4085.

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5. How to Interview a College Student:

Interviewing students for an internship can be different than a full time job.  Since an intern is only a short term employee and a part of your work place for the specific experience of learning about it, your interview questions will be geared toward the goals and objectives of the intern as well as the qualifications necessary to do the work. College students are eager, focused and often trained in newer technology. They are also anxious to test out their growing knowledge in an applied way.

As you begin the process consider the following:

  • Begin with an engaging conversation. College students are relational, and are pleased to discover your interest. They are often eager to be connected. You will learn much of what you need to know about the potential for success with this initial exchange.
  • Inquire about their education and training. Interning college students are serious about learning. Most are ready to apply their learning in the real work place. In many cases you will be delighted to hear the creativity and passion they bring.
  • Inquire about their goals and objectives. There is usually a specific reason college students have applied to a particular internship. Investigating what their goals are will help articulate the kind of training that will take place. It will also identify whether this is the “right fit.” 
  • Be comfortable communicating expectations. The more specific you are about what you expect the greater potential for success. College students are accustomed to well outlined course syllabuses and deadlines. They love a challenge, and are ready to take on a project that has a concrete outcome.

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6. Tips on Making Your Internship Meaningful for Employer and Student: 

  • A meaningful internship begins when an employer and intern have an open conversation identifying goals, objectives and expectations. The student will seek specific learning, guidance and constructive feedback. The employer will seek skills applied, assistance, and effort in performance.
  • Ongoing and two-way communication builds trust and increases success.
  • Including specific and meaningful tasks or projects as a part of the learning creates motivation.
  • Opportunity for growth in professional relationships trains interpersonal skills and creates meaning.
  • Framing feedback in the most constructive ways encourages growth and loyalty.
  • Verbal and written assessments with an evaluation at the conclusion.
For further help, click link: "What Makes a Good Internship?"

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7.  Giving feedback to a College Intern:

College students are serious about learning. In its Best Practice, an internship will train and educate a student in a chosen field. Clearly outlined tasks and expectations sets the stage for valuable feedback.  As a professional, a student is interested in your assessment.  Offering consistent, insightful and encouraging feedback increases their learning and shapes productivity. 

  • Use specifics. Anchor your comments directly to the work they are doing.
  • Set reasonable expectations. They are there as novices, there to learn.
  • Honest and timely feedback is most helpful. This encourages trust and good performance. Staying current with assessment guides outcomes for both student and employer.
  • Create relationship when possible. Students are interning to learn about the work, but also about the people within the work! They want to interact and build professional relationships. Seize the opportunity to model a Best Practice for this!
  • Conduct written as well as verbal evaluations. This gives a record to students.

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