HR Intern Skills (Definition, Examples And How To Improve)

Updated 15 September 2023

Many human resources (HR) departments hire interns who assist regular employees with their duties and receive training while they work. Interns perform many of the duties of a regular employee but with limited responsibilities and work under the supervision of a more experienced employee. Learning more about the skills of an HR intern may help you determine if pursuing the role is suitable for your goals. In this article, we examine what HR intern skills are, list examples and explore ways to improve, use and highlight them.

What Are HR Intern Skills?

HR intern skills are a range of competencies that enable interns in the field of HR to fulfil their responsibilities and complete their duties successfully and efficiently. These competencies may include soft skills, such as time management or teamwork, that individuals have developed through various experiences. They may also relate to hard skills and technical competencies that individuals develop through their training, and education. Some crucial skills for HR interns include communication, organisation, problem-solving and knowledge of HR practices.

Examples Of HR Intern Skills

Here are some examples of important skills for HR interns:

Knowledge of HR practices

HR interns benefit from developing a nuanced understanding of labour policies, regulations and trends pertaining to staffing, and recruitment processes. The HR department of a firm is usually in charge of processing and managing documentation that serves as a record of remuneration, and benefits for employees. This team also works with management staff to establish employment terms and develops policies for different types of professional engagements. Employees in an HR department also stay current on the latest technological developments and best practices in the industry.

Related: The Functions And Departments Of HR: A Complete Guide


Interns in an HR department require excellent communication skills, as they are likely to interact with a wide variety of employees, including administrators, executives, independent contractors and clerical staff. They may also prepare reports, onboarding materials, technical documentation and written communications, such as emails, letters and notices. Possessing good written communication skills enables HR professionals to manage these responsibilities effectively.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples


The HR department of an enterprise is usually responsible for keeping employment records, remuneration details and documents outlining employment terms for each employee. Interns in an HR department can use their organisational skills to store and access these materials efficiently. They may also use software solutions to maintain and navigate large volumes of data pertaining to employment, recruitment and remuneration. Developing computer literacy, along with organisational skills, enables interns to easily prepare detailed reports and infographics for management staff.

Related: What Are Organisation Skills? (Plus How To Improve Them)


Employees in an HR department often serve as mediators and negotiators to address conflicts between two or more employees or between employees and members of management. Although interns may not be directly in charge of addressing such situations, developing problem-solving skills can help them contribute solutions that consider the interests of all involved parties. Typically, when HR staff possess good problem-solving capabilities, they are better able to promote employee retention.


Integrity is a personal quality that refers to being honest and principled. Interns in the HR department of an enterprise often work with sensitive and confidential information about employees and work situations. HR professionals who possess and exercise integrity help ensure that their employer does not face any legal liabilities as a result of careless or dishonest actions. Interns who demonstrate high levels of professionalism and trustworthiness may also be able to secure permanent employment opportunities in a firm, as the employer can envision their value to the company.

Analytical thinking

Data analysis enables enterprises to make informed recruitment and staffing decisions. Most enterprises follow specific strategies for employing, remunerating and retaining employees in a particular department. Interns who possess good analytical skills can contribute by assisting HR managers and executives in processing large volumes of information pertaining to HR. They may be able to provide valuable insights using their analytical mindset, which management can use to make positive, impactful business decisions.

Related: How To Improve Analytical Skills (With Steps And Benefits)


Compliance typically pertains to adhering to government and corporate regulations and guidelines. HR professionals who possess a thorough understanding of these rules can help ensure that an enterprise stays compliant while making crucial decisions regarding remuneration, staffing and recruitment. While employed with a company, HR interns can make an effort to study corporate law to become familiar with compliance expectations that govern business practices.

How To Improve HR Intern Skills?

Here are some steps you can follow to improve your skills as an HR intern:

1. Identify relevant skills to improve

Because HR is a broad field, employees who work in an HR department may require a wide variety of skills. The operations and functions of an HR department may vary slightly from company to company. Evaluate the competency requirements of the firm you are interning at to identify a list of skills that are most relevant to their HR department. You can then concentrate on improving these specific abilities.

2. Perform a self-evaluation

After you create a list of relevant skills to improve, you can perform a self-evaluation to consider which of those competencies you already possess and which ones you can develop. Many companies provide appraisals and evaluations for employees who work for them for an extended period. Once your evaluation is complete, you can create SMART goals for specific competencies to better develop them.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition And Examples

3. Pursue opportunities for mentorship

Interns typically work under the supervision of more experienced employees in a company. You can approach experienced HR employees and request a mentorship opportunity to learn more about their specific roles and responsibilities. Mentors can significantly improve your professional growth, and you can learn from their expertise and experience.

Related: What Is A Mentor And How To Find The Right One For You

HR Intern Skills In The Workplace

As an HR intern, you can use your skills in the workplace by:

  • Seeking additional responsibilities: Interns may have a limited scope of work when they join a firm. As an intern, you can get opportunities to apply your skills by requesting additional responsibilities that align with typical HR roles.

  • Assisting executives and managers with their duties: As the role of an intern involves assisting other employees with their duties, you can actively offer to help HR staff members in fulfilling the routine responsibilities associated with their role.

  • Practicing negotiation and mediation: HR staff often function as mediators and negotiate on behalf of employees and the enterprise. You can practice mediation and negotiation during your internship period to become effective at liaising between staff and management.

How To Highlight HR Intern Skills?

Here are some tips for highlighting your skills as an HR intern:

For a resume and cover letter

Before you apply for an internship, review the job description to identify keywords to highlight on your application materials. This not only improves your chances of securing the internship opportunity but also ensures that your HR intern resume and cover letter align specifically with the role for which you are applying. Many enterprises use applicant tracking systems to perform initial screenings. Featuring the right skill-related keywords can help ensure that your application passes the initial automated stage of the recruitment process.

For a job interview

As an intern with limited work experience, you can demonstrate your skills by connecting them to your academic performance. During an interview, mention the coursework you have completed that relates to the duties of an HR intern. Elaborate on how these academic activities have prepared you to address the responsibilities of an internship in HR. For example, if you performed well in an HR accounting module in your class, you can mention how this has enabled you to become familiar with crucial HR workflows.

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