Non-javascript browsers support

The 3 Most Valuable Skills You Need for a Student Internship

By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.

Student internships are becoming more and more competitive, and even though high schools and colleges can help set students up with companies seeking interns, you still have to apply to these internships and set yourself apart from every other student with the same goals.

That’s where skills come in. Hear me out. Most students applying for internships have either no work experience or very limited work experience going into the application process. So the differentiator becomes the skills that you bring to the table. If you have the right skills that would make you a valuable intern, you will almost always get the position over someone who has more experience but the wrong skills.

In this blog post, I share the 3 most valuable skills you need for a student internship.

The 3 Most Valuable Skills You Need for a Student Internship

Student internships are incredibly valuable experiences for high school and college students. If you’re searching for a student internship or you’re already in a student internship, you know that the purpose of your experience is to build your skills, get exposure to a particular industry, and establish meaningful connections that could potentially lead to future opportunities.

But don’t forget that there has to be something in it for the employer. Most companies that hire interns are looking for someone to do an actual job. With the following 3 skills, you increase not only your chances of being chosen for a student internship, but also for succeeding in it.

1. Resourcefulness

Being resourceful is an essential skill for students, interns, employees, and humans in general. The more resourceful you are, the more success you’ll have in whatever you’re doing. (PS: These are the top 5 life skills students need to be functional adults.)

Resourcefulness is the ability to figure things out. It’s the ability to figure out how to take the next step when you’re stuck. It’s knowing where to go for answers when you have questions. And, resourcefulness involves doing all of this independently before reaching out for help.

Internships – even paid ones – are different than jobs because internships come with an element of education and instruction. In other words, the employer is agreeing to teach you the ropes along the way. With that being said, most internships start with some training, and then that hand-holding dwindles away after a short time. From this point, you’re expected to be resourceful and figure things out on your own.

In this tutorial here I explain how to increase your resourcefulness skills. There are three skills in this blog post that you’re currently reading, but I argue that resourcefulness is the most important. So, if this is not currently a strength of yours, watch my video tutorial that teaches you how to be more resourceful.

2. Open-mindedness and Willingness to Learn

Another of the most valuable skills you need for a student internship is a willingness to do what you’re asked and to learn along the way. 

It’s true that your internship will likely have a title and job description, but most internships will ask you to go beyond the job description and your comfort zone.

The most valuable interns and the interns who get the most out of their experiences are those who are open-minded and curious to go beyond the basic job description.

An example of what this might look like could be if you’re asked to make a presentation that another employee will present at an upcoming meeting. An example of someone who’s open-minded and willing to learn would ask permission to attend that meeting and perhaps contribute to the presentation delivery.  The worst that can happen is you’re told no, but the best that can happen is that you look like a valuable asset and you learn valuable lessons that no classroom can teach you.

3.  Communication

Like resourcefulness, communication is another valuable skill that is not only critical for student internships but also for school, your job, and your life.

Good communication involves speaking clearly, writing concisely, listening actively, and reading the room in various contexts. It also includes emotional regulation in challenging positions and knowing how to cooperate and collaborate with others.

If you’re applying for a student internship, or perhaps you’re currently being interviewed, make sure to emphasize that you have strong communication skills. But go beyond that and get specific about what that means and give examples of times you have communicated well. Hiring managers love this because good communicators are almost always good workers.

Furthermore, all your interactions with the hiring manager should exemplify your communication skills. For example, your emails should demonstrate professionalism and an ability to be concise, your face-to-face interactions should be friendly and appropriate, and phone calls should reveal your ability to regulate your tone and respond clearly and quickly without visual cues that come from face-to-face interactions.

Final Notes About Student Internships

If you’ve been debating about getting a student internship or you’ve been stuck on how to secure one, let this be your sign to go out and make it happen. To do this, you want to try to find an internship that aligns with your career goals, obviously – but even if you end up interning in an industry outside your comfort zone, you can still have an incredibly valuable experience.

Remember, student internships are two-way streets. You’re going to do an actual job for an actual company and provide them real value. And to do this, you need to show up, work hard, and demonstrate a willingness to learn and be open-minded. 

But before that happens, you need to stand out from the crowd and be hired over the others in the first place. To make this happen, you need to market yourself as someone who is resourceful, willing to learn, and communicates well. 

Again, these three skills will not only make you a valuable asset to whoever hires you, but they will also ensure that you’ll get the most out of your internship experience and will have the greatest opportunities to further develop your skills while you’re interning. (Are you in college? These are the 4 most important skills you need as a college student.)

The post The 3 Most Valuable Skills You Need for a Student Internship appeared first on SchoolHabits.

Scroll to Top