Using Zelda In an Internship Posting, How To Write An Engaging Post Without Sounding Cheesy

I see a lot of internship descriptions everyday (hundreds upon hundreds in total).
While a lot of them are good (but not necessarily noteworthy), many of them are disorganized, thrown together or worse.  In talking with students one of the biggest turn offs is positions written in all CAPS saying something along the lines of Come intern at XYZ HOT NEW START-UP.  These usually make me cringe.  Students are trying to find professional work experience and there are a lot of ways to be engaging or funny while still maintaining a professional tone.

One of the best descriptions I have ever seen was posted by Redfin
, a tech start-up company here in Seattle.  All of their postings are to the point and incredibly punchy, making them both serious and engaging.

In one example, Redfin was looking for a QA intern and they state that they were looking for someone who is incredibly detail oriented and who is willing to test every potential bug before checking in a set of code.  To sum up their ideal intern candidate they said, “Basically, if you’re going to do it, you’ll master it. You’ve beat the Legend of Zelda and found all the secret rooms.”

Wow, this is a great line as it adds humor but is far from gimmicky. In fact, in my mind these 11 words say more about the position then any 11 others. They are looking for a computer science undergraduate (who has most likely played Zelda), someone who obsesses over project details, and they’re demanding of their interns, but (it would seem) also a fun place to work.

Recommendation: If you are trying to add some humor or youth appeal to your internship posting you should give your message careful thought and be creative.  By default you should create a professional tone.  Then, if you are interested you can add in a humorous line or a Gen-Y culture reference to let the student know your office is a fun place to work.  Simply adding caps and asking for a marketing ninja is usually not the best approach and may even discourage some students from applying to your position.

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Nathan Parcells

Nathan Parcells is VP of Marketing and co-founder of Looksharp. He has spent the past decade helping students launch their career, researching best practices for hiring millennials (including running Looksharp's annual "State of College Hiring") and sharing these insights with employers. Nathan's work has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, Business Insider and more. Outside of work, Nathan is an avid rock climber, back packer and Bob Dylan fan.