First Year at Uni Part 4: The Key Skills Employers Want When Recruiting Summer Interns


Just like those annoying YouTube adverts say, ‘Don’t skip, Don’t skip’. READ THIS. YOUR FUTURE COULD DEPEND UPON IT.

Spare me the details about your degree. Let’s fast forward to the present day. So, the working world looms but you realise that your dream job will not simply fall into your lap. A struggle for needing money and to honour your degree with a related job begins to surface. So what options are there?

One of those options is an internship. Internships can be paid, or unpaid, and tend to last anything from a few months to a whole year. They are fantastic opportunities to enrich your CV and most importantly, begin to outshine the competition that you will inevitably face. Internships provide preliminary work experience for those who perhaps want to ultimately pursue a career of interest. Some may even be fortunate and get offered a job at the end of the internship. It is not uncommon!

However, it is not all plain sailing. You will have to demonstrate key skills in order to persuade the employer that you are the most suitable candidate for the position. Listed below are the five key skills that you should have when applying for internships.





Communication Skills 

Unless you’re a hermit, you will have undoubtedly communicated at some stage in your life. So let them know about it! Whether you have delivered oral presentations at university, written for a website, or even responded to telephone/email enquiries, employers appreciate individuals that can build rapport with customers, clients and work colleagues. You need team-work to make the dream work!


Time Management 

Managing your time effectively is crucial to many employers. They certainly do not want to micro-manage all aspects of your job. If you have been to university, then can refer to your experience balancing multiple assignments, or if you participate in any extra-curricular activities then mention them too! They expect you to be able to prioritise and organise your workload responsibly, meeting tight deadlines while performing to the highest standard possible.


Willingness to learn 

Even if you’re an ‘expert’ in your field, you need to show a level of flexibility and willingness to learn new skills. Some companies regularly use bespoke, specialist equipment that is only applicable to them. Additionally, your employer may need you to carry out a different duty in order to support other members of the team. So, don’t be stubborn and rigid with your career path. Embrace and be open to new opportunities and experiences. You might even find that you prefer carrying out a different job in a different department.



Working in a team is incredibly important but you should give equal consideration as to how you perform on your own. Sometimes you will be required to make decisions, or take courses of action, that may not be expected of you, but will create an impact on yourself and the company. For example, you might assist a customer with their enquiry while your colleague is busy on the telephone?


Knowledge of company/industry

Anyone can claim to be interested in a job. Yet many fall short when they are questioned about their knowledge of the role and/or company and instead reply with ‘erm, well I thought it had good pay’. So make sure that you have conducted research into various aspects of the job, and let them know it too! Employers are looking for candidates that share the same values, ethos and direction of the company. So, the more familiar you are with them, the better!

A lot of what you have just read may be familiar to you. However, many candidates still fail to understand the expectations and realities of the working world. So make sure you nail these basics before doing anything!


And one more thing.

Good luck.


Written by Jack Kelly


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