Intern Job Description (Plus Duties and Requirements)
Updated 7 September 2023
Internships are paid or unpaid job stints at a company for a limited period. Doing an internship can help you gain valuable industry experience and decide if you want to pursue your chosen career path. Learning about what the role of an intern entails and what employers look for in an ideal candidate can help you prepare your job application more effectively. In this article, we discuss what an intern job description is, share typical duties and responsibilities of an intern, explain the requirements to become one and provide some tips to secure an internship.
Intern job description
An intern job description contains information about the duties and responsibilities of an intern role. It also specifies what the employer requires to perform the role, such as educational qualifications, relevant experience and skills. The job description usually details the length of the internship and includes information about the allowance, if it's a paid internship. It also mentions the benefits of the internship, such as receiving mentorship, and if there are any opportunities to secure a full-time role at the end of the internship.
Read the description carefully to determine if you qualify for the position. For example, the company may only want to recruit interns who are undergraduates in a tertiary institution from a science, technology, engineering or mathematics faculty. Note the keywords used by the employer, and incorporate them into your resume to show the hiring manager you understand what the role entails and to demonstrate that you're a suitable candidate. If the description specifies that the company is seeking a self-motivated and independent candidate, include this in your cover letter or resume and substantiate it with examples.
The responsibilities of an intern may differ depending on the company and department you're working in. The following is a list of their general duties and responsibilities:
Interns may answer phone calls and handle enquiries, such as basic information about the company. They may also direct the calls to the relevant staff. For example, if a potential client calls the company to enquire about its products and services, they may transfer the call to the sales and marketing team.
They may do research to find useful information that helps their team accomplish the project goals. For example, if the intern works for an event management company, a colleague may task them with sourcing different venues for a company dinner and dance. This may involve looking for potential venues, making enquiries about the cost of booking the place and availability, compiling the information on a spreadsheet and sharing it with their team.
Related: How to Get an Internship in 15 Steps
Assist during meetings
Interns may help with meeting preparation by creating presentations. They may also prepare documents to hand out to management and clients. During the meeting, they may take minutes and disseminate them to the management and team.
Perform clerical and administrative duties
Interns do various administrative tasks, such as photocopying, printing and organising documents and maintaining files. They may post or courier items and track the parcels to make sure the recipient gets them. They may also manage databases by inputting employee or customer details or financial information. To ensure that everyone in the organisation has the most current and accurate information about company events, interns often maintain event calendars.
Maintain social media pages
Interns help to keep the company's social media pages active and engaging by creating interesting posts and posting them at optimal times. When users comment on the posts, interns respond to them in a timely and professional manner to maintain a positive image of the company. They may also help with online outreach and promotion using social media platforms and perform keyword analysis.
Requirements for an intern position
Here are the typical requirements for an intern position:
There are internships for various educational qualifications. Individuals can pursue internships after completing their GCE O-levels or A-levels or while pursuing a diploma or bachelor's degree. Polytechnic and university students may complete an internship during one of their semesters as part of their graduation requirements.
The educational qualifications required by the employer largely depend on the position. A company typically wants to hire interns who've acquired theoretical knowledge about the industry or field they're operating in so that they execute their duties well. For example, if a company is looking for a finance intern, the job description may specify that it prefers candidates who are pursuing a bachelor's degree in business administration, finance, accounting, economics, maths or a related field. With this background, finance interns can analyse financial performance by observing trends and anomalies and provide insights and recommendations for operational improvements.
Employers typically want to hire candidates who have achieved strong academic results, as this demonstrates that they're driven and highly capable. The job description may include a minimum GPA for candidates to qualify for the position. The hiring manager may also look for significant academic achievements, such as being on the dean's list or winning awards for papers or projects.
Involvement in co-curricular activities (CCA)
As interns are typically students with little professional work experience, employers may want to assess their qualities and strengths through their involvement in CCA. They may want to view evidence of leadership or teamwork abilities, such as through playing a team sport at university. They may also value CCA achievements, such as winning prizes at sports, robotics, music or writing competitions, as this can demonstrate qualities such as resilience, ambition and commitment.
Here are some skills that employers often seek in interns:
Multitasking: Team members often approach interns and ask them to do various tasks, such as informing a client of an upcoming meeting or booking a venue for an event. Interns require strong multitasking skills to complete all the tasks punctually.
Communication: Interns require excellent verbal communication skills to understand their supervisor's and team members' instructions and to convey their ideas effectively. Written communication skills help them prepare reports and memos without any grammatical or spelling mistakes.
Interpersonal: Depending on the industry, interns may interact with clients and vendors to schedule or change meetings, confirm details of the project or place orders for supplies. Employers may seek to hire individuals who can build and maintain good relationships with others, react with empathy and patience and acknowledge the value of different perspectives.
Teamwork: Interns typically collaborate with other interns and team members from the department, so fitting into the team is essential. Being a strong team player involves understanding one's strengths and weaknesses so that you know how best to contribute.
Adaptability: Interns may assist various teams and departments, such as sales, marketing, IT or administration. This makes it important for them to be flexible and learn how to perform new tasks quickly.
Critical thinking: Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyse and evaluate a situation or issue logically and independently based on the evidence. For certain internship positions, the supervisor or manager may expect interns to critically analyse information and propose creative solutions to challenges.
Tips to apply for an internship
Here are some useful tips to improve your success of securing an internship:
Take note of the application process and guidelines. Some companies only accept applications through an online portal and don't consider any job applications sent to the company's HR email address. Companies may also include specific instructions, such as submitting the resume and cover letter in a single PDF.
Start looking for internships early. As certain internships are during fixed periods in the year, starting the search process early can help you prepare and submit your job application before the deadlines.
Prepare supporting documents. Some companies may request unofficial academic transcripts to assess your academic performance. It's also beneficial to scan any important certificates and save them in PDF format so that it's easy to upload on the company website or send by email.
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