Applying for internships may be perceived by some as a daunting task. Worries about one’s own qualifications, multiple interview rounds, multiple editing of cover letters and resumes – the process towards landing one’s ideal internship can indeed be an arduous one. Here, we discuss the skills that all employees look out for in their prospective interns to prepare you for what’s ahead! It’s worthy to note that some of these expected skills can be gained through one’s campus involvement and extracurricular activities.
1.Positive Attitude – Initiative and Responsibility
Employees and mentors immensely appreciate interns who take ownership and responsibility of their experiences. Taking the initiative to hit the ground running and go beyond one’s own communicated job scope is always welcomed. Your employees will appreciate the chance to bring someone onboard their team who does not need to wait to receive instructions for every task, and is proactive in contributing. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself as you uncover potentials or affinities you never knew existed within yourself. Surely, greater investments into your professional learning process will reap greater lessons and professional growth. Furthermore in today’s working world where innovation and creativity is emphasised, employees are receptive to fresh perspectives from millennials who may have the knowledge and capability to contribute to projects, even if interns may not fully helm the directives of certain projects. Taking initiative at the workplace is certainly a win-win situation for both yourselves and your employees!
2. An Open Mind
To be given an opportunity to intern at the workplace by your supervisors is a privilege, where you are allowed to learn and fail. Most companies would understand that an internship is a period of growth and learning for the intern, rather than the usual KPIs and targets full-time employees have to fulfil. That being said, it’s important that where one meets with failures, you fail fast and learn fast thereafter. Receptiveness to feedback regarding making future improvements will immensely help in creating a progressive work performance overtime. Criticisms may sting at the onset but being able to take them in stride alongside our learnings will go a long way in creating small successes at the workplace for yourself.
3. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
The ability to communicate effectively – to convey your ideas and perspectives in ways that will allow your team members and supervisors to understand them the way your intend for them to – is of paramount importance in the workplace. Aside from being able to speak and write well, excellent communication is also through being able to establish mutual understandings. This is where interpersonal skills come in – the ability to relate well to others or simply put, “people skills”. It’s essential to build and maintain relationships of the right nature – you want to be the team player whose presence is greatly valued at work everyday. It will make your experience with the firm a whole lot more meaningful too!
4.Office Tools Proficiency
Microsoft Office and G Suite tools are the most basic set of tools that every prospective intern should already grasped the use of even before starting any internship. Creating proposals and pitch decks, presenting data, conducting various business analysis, collaborating over projects – these tasks are common in many internships and it is through the Microsoft Office and G Suite mediums where they can be completed. In any case, the assignments and projects taken on in school should have prepared prospective interns for what’s to come in the workplace hence this should not be an alarming cause of concern.
However, it does not hurt to upgrade one’s skills with regards to harnessing these tools for more complex tasks at work. Given that analytics has been a “buzzword” field of late in many industries, many firms are steering towards collecting, organizing and consolidating data. Having advanced Microsoft Excel skills (pivot table, excelVBA, financial modelling, etc.) will be of tremendous personal help at work. There are many online courses that can assist in being familiarized w these advanced office tools. What’s more, there are a handful of them that are completely free of charge!
5.Technical Proficiency / Experiences
For the type of roles you have an interest for, it is important to find out the required skills needed on the job. One cannot be a graphic design intern without having some reasonable photoshopping, illustrator and designing skills. Similarly, one cannot expect to be employed in an esteemed tech company without having a demonstrated portfolio of various programming projects done. Even for non-technical roles such as sales, operations and marketing, one’s ability to demonstrate knowledge of and produce results of past experiences in such roles will be of immense help when it comes to getting an employment.
Article contributed by Lok SiYing