10 Ways to Increase Intern Employability

Show employers you got what it takes!

Applying for an internship can be an intimidating process but it is important to go into it with confidence and an understanding of what is going to be expected of you. And that starts from your CV all the way to the end of your internship.

We have selected the most talked about top 10 skills as identified by our employer partners. Hopefully our list below won’t come as too much of a surprise, but it is good to go into the internship process with a good understanding of these skills and more importantly being able to show them off!

It is worth taking the time to think about how you can show you got what they are looking for with real examples. We have given an example for each below.

1. Communication

When starting your application process for an internship it’s important to make sure that all of your communication is professional, this demonstrates an understanding of the working world, shows confidence and respect for your chosen profession. This professionalism should follow throughout the processes of applying for an internship from speaking on the phone to email, it is also worth checking your social media too! Take your time with your personal statement on your application or CV as this is often the first impression you will give your potential employer so make sure you proofread carefully. Your cover letter is also a good opportunity to match some of your skills and experience to what the internship is asking for. Don’t be afraid to talk about your experience even if your only experience so far is working in a shop or a pub as you can talk about working with the public, dealing with that awkward customer all whilst giving great service.

2. Commercial awareness

Despite what you may believe or how limited your work experience may be it does not mean that you have no commercial experience. Whilst looking for internships, take the time to research the organisation, why they do, how they do it, perhaps where they sit in their sector. This can help you show passion about their business whilst also showing an undering about how the business operates in relation to the potential internship as well as in the wider market of the industry.

3. Teamwork

As an intern it is likely that you will spend your time working as part of a team, or either more interns or some permanent staff, so it is important to show early on that you can also work as part of a team. So think about the times you have worked in a group, whether that be at school or university or perhaps a previous job. Use those experiences to talk about what you learned from that group work, the role you played, what was learned from others or what you were able to teach your group.

4. Negotiation and persuasion

The ability to negotiate and persuade others to do something makes you an attractive candidate for an internship. Try to think of times you’ve negotiated in your life whether personal or professional, it can help set you apart from other potential candidates.

5. Leadership

Do not think that just because you may be young means you have no leadership skills or experience in a leadership role. Think outside the box, perhaps you were a captain or a sports team or you organised an after school club.

6. Able to work under pressure

Try to think about times where you had to work to a schedule perhaps in school or university. It is also good to mention what skills you have that help you to work under pressure such as good time management, perhaps a good team to help out with whatever the workload might have been.

7. Confidence

It may seem difficult to demonstrate confidence when applying for an internship, you could get nervous in interviews, perhaps you feel under qualified applying at a large company or you may be a naturally shy person. Confidence can come from experience, this can come from practising interviews with friends or family to get familiar with an interview process. Or studying what is expected from you in the intern role, through this you will start to know the answers to some of the potential questions.

8. IT skills

It is expected from most companies offering internships for you to have basic computer skills, these range from being familiar with the Microsoft suite (Word, Excel etc), sending emails, using the internet for research. What can help set you apart from other intern candidates is a new tech skill, perhaps one that fits in with what is expected from the role or perhaps in the sector of what the industry does. There are a range of free digital courses from a large number of organisations like Google, Amazon, The Open University on the Government’s Skills Toolkit. Whilst more specific tech skills will be learnt as part of the internship, going down this route can set you apart and make a good impression from the first interview.

9. Decision-making skills

Decision making skills may seem just as daunting as confidence for some, and finding evidence of this may be hard. Employers want to know that you can make decisions with confidence and knowledge, try to think of times you have done this previously, perhaps at an old job failing that show that you can make decisions based on research, careful thought and taking into account the opinions of those it affects and how those inform your choice.

10. Creative problem solving

Similar to decision making skills it is important to show a good level of understanding when it comes to creative problem solving, showing the interviewer that you have taken into account the whole situation and how that leads to your solution.

One final tip for making sure you put your best foot forward is to remember to smile as it not only shows you as a friendly person but also is proven to make you feel good.