Essential Soft Skills For New Interns

  • Jul 20, 2020

Many employers look for certain basic skills in interns. We can divide these skills into technical and non-technical skills.

Technical skills include subject knowledge, practical experience, understanding the technology you will work with, etc. Non-technical skills include the way you interact with people, manage time, approach problems, etc. We also term these non-technical skills as soft skills.

Soft skills play a crucial role in career success as employers seek good soft skills while hiring interns. If a candidate is even average in subject knowledge but excellent in soft skills, their probability of selection is higher in a majority of career roles. Therefore, as a high school student, it is helpful if you are aware of this and start building these essential soft skills.

Strong Communication:

Ever wondered why most companies use interviews as their main resource for choosing candidates while hiring? Employers use it to assess the candidate’s ability to deliver their ideas. In many cases, communication skills are the most crucial skills to develop. If someone is confident, they can put forward their thoughts more easily.

According to LinkedIn research, effective communication tops the list of the most in-demand soft skills.

Communication includes both written and verbal skills. Learning how to give negative feedback politely, or talking to others, whether they are peers or those with seniority, comes under verbal communication.

Excellent writing skills are also vital. This comprises drafting emails and messages, writing reports, etc. Take our quiz on Business Communication to better understand how well-versed you are with formal writing.

Another lesser-known aspect of communication is active listening. This involves being a friendly listener and giving others the time to complete what they are saying. Active listening includes engaging in conversation based on what the other person has to say.

As a high schooler, there are some steps you can take to enhance this skill. You can join literary or debate societies through your school or other organizations. These act as a great platform to organize your ideas and learn how to present them.


Strong multi-tasking and time management abilities hold the key to success in the corporate world. One must learn to prioritize the tasks and try to complete them on time.

Time management also involves good organizational skills. Employers prefer interns who can juggle their time between study and work equally well and can get their Internships" href="../../search-internships">internship work done on time. It might seem counterintuitive to dedicate extra time to learn about time management, but it has many long-term benefits that will enable you to be productive and more efficient.

To develop this skill, try not to procrastinate right from your high school days. Plan work for projects and exams well before they need to be completed. You can also buy planners to plan your study and extra-curricular schedule. This habit will help you over time with tasks dealing with many aspects of your life.

Commitment To The Role:

Commitment to the role is a significant soft skill to show as an intern. Employers receive many applications for internship positions. To set yourself apart from others, you need to display commitment. This skill is harder to display than others as commitment is shown over time and can not be shown easily in one interview.

However, to work on achieving this, you can learn industry-relevant skills. An impressive resume with many skills shows employers that the candidate is passionate about the role. It is important to show some commitment to extracurriculars and work experience to show dedication.

You can also take classes in school that increases your subject knowledge. This not only shows commitment to the work you will do in an internship but also shows dedication towards work in general. Commitment will not just help in getting internships, but will also result in workplace success.

Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking is a huge requirement in most companies today. It involves analyzing a problem and thinking of logical and “out of the box” solutions to it. Top candidates should be able to find viable solutions quickly after evaluating all the options.

High school is the best time to develop critical thinking abilities. Some simple steps include solving aptitude questions regularly, trying out brain teasers and puzzles, keeping yourself updated with current affairs, and making a discussion about them, etc.

Take our logical reasoning quiz at to see how quickly and effectively you can solve problems.


Employers expect interns to adapt quickly to new roles and environments. Since interns perform a wide variety of tasks, being flexible is important. One should be able to take charge of additional responsibilities and handle them with equal efficiency. Adaptability also includes being open to learning new skills. Flexibility, perseverance, and curiosity leave a positive impression on employers.


Many new interns expect the company they are working for to help them in every step. This is a wrong assumption to have while joining an internship and can create an expectation gap between the managers and interns, as every company is different. It is important to be prepared to learn on the job, by yourself. Employers are mostly willing to guide, provided that you take the initiative to learn. Companies prefer interns who can show the ability to take direction themselves. Always be curious to learn new skills on your own and critique your work to learn from it, as this will be rewarding in the long run.

Soft skills are an essential requirement in today’s world. While you can learn many essential skills from school, soft skills are usually not explicitly taught. Our education system mainly focuses on technical and subject knowledge. To learn soft skills, one should gain practical experience by getting involved in extracurriculars, internships, and volunteer activities. Many valuable soft skills can be developed from these experiences that can prove very helpful in the professional world.

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