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How to Create an Effective Internship Offer Letter

February 27, 2020
Ben Siegel

So, your company is looking to hire a paid intern? That’s great news. Internship programs are a valuable and rewarding way to expand your business and develop new talent. Whether it’s full-time or part-time, internship positions benefit both parties. Interns can receive real-world work experience while your company can cultivate new talent and ideas from tomorrow's workforce.As with any new job posting, your company's recruiter must convey a clear understanding of what's expected for a paid internship. When you send an internship offer letter, it's similar to a regular job offer. You'll need to include some specifics that protect you legally and communicate the compensation and job duties you expect from the new intern.

Why Paid Internships Are Better Than Unpaid

If you're planning on hiring an unpaid intern versus a paid intern, there are some important factors your company should know before sending an internship offer letter.While unpaid interns are common in today's business world, some of the job tasks of a paid intern can't be required of an unpaid intern. What’s more, there are certain criteria you must meet to legally comply with all the state and federal regulations of an unpaid internship.Before you decide what kind of internship you want to offer, consult the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) for information specific to your type of company and its location. If you're hiring paid interns, great. You're already in compliance with FSLA.

Creating an Attractive Paid Internship

Internship offer letter: Guy writing a letter

Your company’s offer letter must clearly outline the specifics of the internship. This document will help a potential intern decide if the position provides real-world experience for their future career. But how do you know if your internship will interest future talent?The best way to create an exciting and rewarding paid internship is to think like an intern. What job skills are currently in demand in the market? What kind of hands-on experience can your company offer that someone can't get at any other outlet? Will the work be boring?Interns are great for additional routine labor around the office, but they aren't looking to do strictly administrative duties. Be sure to balance out mundane tasks with unique and compelling work that will engage and challenge them. The more rewarded and valued a paid intern feels, the harder they'll be willing to work for your company.

Key Elements for Internship Offer Letters

Whether you’re offering a graphic design internship, sales internship, or something altogether different, every hiring manager should include the following key elements in an internship letter.

Basic Company Information

Include your company name and location of your organization. It's also smart to use company letterhead on the internship offer letter. In some cases you can also include the job title and manager's name who will be in charge of the intern, as well as contact information for that person. Also, what exactly does your company do? It might be helpful to include a brief description of your business or any kind of public relations boilerplate language.

Work Hours

Be sure to include both the start date and end date of the internship, as well as the number of hours required each week. The start and end dates are crucial for many interns to plan their schedules around academic coursework, which is usually by semester. Knowing the number of expected hours can also help interns who are looking for additional paid work outside of your company during their internship.

Position Title and Job Description

What will your intern be doing for your company? Posting a detailed job description in the offer letter will convey exactly what your company expects from an intern. You should also include the relevant skills necessary for the duties requested. While it's likely that you've already vetted an internship candidate you're sending an offer letter to, putting your expectations and requirements in print is a smart move.


Since your company is offering a paid internship, include specifics regarding compensation in the letter. You'll need to coordinate with your legal team to ensure payment is compliant with local and state labor laws. Most states require interns to be paid at least minimum wage, so it’s crucial to confirm what those wages are as they can vary greatly from state to state.

Get Legal Counsel Before Sending an Internship Offer Letter

While you can find any number of sample offer letters online, be sure to audit any internship letter from your company with legal counsel before sending. You want to make sure you don’t omit any necessary legal statements to protect your company, such as non-disclosure or non-compete agreements or the protection of your company's intellectual property.

Sample Paid Internship Offer Letter Template

To create an internship offer letter, you can take a look at this basic template as a starting-off point. Remember, this is only an example of how you might want to structure your internship offer letter. You can build from this template with all of the necessary details or legal notices specific to your company. In addition, obtaining legal counsel will ensure that your best interests are protected.

The Right Internship Offer Letter Can Start a Great Relationship for Both Parties

Internship offer letter: People shaking hands

By outlining specific job tasks and clearly conveying information like the number of hours required per week as well as compensation, your company and its future interns can start on the right foot together. Internships are as productive as each party wants them to be, and by providing the security of payment and an agreed upon set of duties, you'll be able to better manage the expectations of your interns and your company.

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