Even Employers Need Cheat Sheets, 7 Things To Include In Your Written Intern Agreements + C.Y.A.


Hopefully, if you read yesterday’s post you are pretty clear on what an unpaid intern is and is not. Now, I want to give the quick + dirty on  additional ways to C.Y.A. and create a great experience for you and the future intern.


The golden rules of hiring unpaid interns.

  • Any work that the intern does, must be primarily for their benefit, not yours.
  • Interns are trainees.
  • Interns cannot displace your employees. So, if you lose your social media guru, you cannot “hire” an intern to replace him/her.
  • Make sure you have written agreements for ALL unpaid interns.

Compliant unpaid internship programs are well documented. That brings me to this….

7 things you must include in unpaid intern agreements

So, you’ve done your homework. You’ve reviewed the DOL requirements. You’ve reflected on the tips I gave you last go-round.  Now, it’s time to put the pen to paper and prepare a written agreement for your company’s legal unpaid internship program.

  • Clearly state that the unpaid internship does not guarantee continued employment with the company.
  • Provide the dates that the internship will begin and end.
  • Clearly state a learning objective. Ask yourself, “What skills do I want the intern to have developed at the end of this experience?”
  • Specifically state who will mentor the intern, and the objective of the mentoring. For example, “You will shadow Jennifer, Marketing Manager, who will help you develop skills in x, y, z.”
  • State how often the intern is required to meet with their mentor and the objectives of the meetings.
  • Specifically state the tasks that the intern will perform and make sure they align with the learning objective.
  • Require the intern to complete a final project demonstrating the new skills that they’ve learned.

Finally, future intern employer, it is not enough to simply write these things into a contract.

Act on it.

I know you’re scowling at me now, but you will love me later.

How are these tips helping you? I want to hear from you.

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