University Student Internship Role in Ireland – What to Expect?


What does a university student intern do exactly you might be thinking? Contrary to popular belief, an internship isn’t about organising a filing cabinet or making coffees all day for your boss. The responsibilities of an intern have evolved. You’ll find yourself working on different projects.


Here is more on internship and placement in Ireland. HomeHak has shared some insights into the role of an intern below. 



What is a university student intern? 

An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organisation for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in. Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The work experience period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. It’s also not uncommon to receive a full-time offer upon completion of your internship with a company. Studies show that employers like to hire interns and use their internships as well to source new talent for their company.


Photo by Annie Sratt on Unsplash

Where can you intern?

You can intern pretty much anywhere you would like. In most cases, you have the option of doing an internship close to home or abroad.  An international internship can help give you a competitive edge in today’s saturated job market. Even better, an international internship is a fantastic way to help you build a global career and network. 


What does an intern do?

That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. A university student intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight. 


Assist and contribute to the team!

As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project right off the bat, at least not yet. In the beginning of your internship, you may spend your time simply trying to learn how the company works. You may shadow an employee to get an understanding of their role. After a day or a few days of learning the ins-and-outs of the company. You’ll start to assist and contribute more to the team. Some duties to be performed include clerical duties, managing social media and emails, event handling and research. 


Learn and gain experience 

This is an opportunity to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. It can be broken down into two main areas: hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, and soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships.


Job shadow

Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. 




Take on an increasing amount of responsibility 

As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with your initial workload. 



This involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation. Here are some tips on how to network while on placement. 


Make a career call 

Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision. Do you continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely. You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else? That’s the beauty of an internship, you can always go into another field you would like.



You should have the goal to secure a solid employer reference at the end of your internship. This will help you throughout the rest of your professional career. Check out this article to see how to ask someone to be a reference




To summarise

It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skill set that will shine in your next role. 


For more information on internships in Ireland, check out our other articles:

University Student Internship in Ireland – How to Get one


Even if not required, completing a University Student internship while in college gives you exposure to the workforce. It helps develop your skills. Additionally, it begins to fill out your resume so that acquiring work is easier for you later. 


College education in itself used to be enough to guarantee you a high-paying job after graduation. But with more and more choosing to attend college, a degree alone unfortunately doesn’t cut it anymore. Employers expect you to have internship experience. This is so that you come to your first job out of school ready to hit the ground running.


We know that getting one can be tough — which is why we’ve come up with a guide. Follow HomeHak’s top tips to get an internship and you’ll get an offer in no time!


Young people working on a white board
Photo by Austin Diste on Unsplash

University students need to consider their qualifications

What is one of the most common misconceptions that university students have about how to get an internship? That they must apply to every position that catches their eye to increase their odds. But this is a sure-fire recipe for radio silence from recruiters and hiring managers. Instead, think about the skills and experience you currently possess, and which positions you might be a good fit for based on that information.


A few ways to narrow down which internships are right for you:


  • Think about your degree: Look up common career fields and job titles for people with your major.
  • Consider your experience: Think about your previous work experience, and which roles it might prepare you for. 
  • Identify transferable skills: Skills that help you succeed in school or in the student organisations you participate in — such as organisation, critical thinking and time management — will all be useful in the working world. 
  • Explore your interests: With how much time you spend at work, you want to make sure you enjoy it! Write down a few career fields that interest you, and search internships in those areas.
  • Start small: Don’t feel pressured to get your dream internship right away, especially if you have no prior work experience. 


Know Where to Look

Once you have a more concrete idea of which university student internships would be the right fit, it’s time to see what’s out there! Here’s how you can do that.

  • Visit Job Sites: Websites like Glassdoor have millions of job listings, so you’re bound to find something that’s right for you. You can search for the internship titles you’re interested in.
  • Use Your College’s Career Resources: Almost all colleges have a career site where employers interested in hiring their students can post positions. Career and internship fairs can also be invaluable, as they allow you to connect face-to-face with hiring decision-makers. Here is an example of one. 
  • Leverage Your Network: Getting a personal recommendation can make all the difference in your internship search, so make sure to reach out to friends, family, colleagues, classmates, professors and alumni to see if they know anyone hiring. 
  • Contact Companies Directly: If you have a dream company in mind, but they don’t have any relevant internships, you can always try writing them a letter of interest in hopes that they will either contact you when one opens or even create a new one for you. 


Prepare Your Application Materials

No matter what job you apply to, there are a few key materials you’re going to want to have on hand. Here are the most common ones, and how to perfect them before you apply.


Resumes are brief documents that showcase your skills, education and professional background. Typically, resumes will contain your name and contact info, education, professional summary, work experience, skills and additional experience.

Cover letters add additional colour and context to your application. They should persuade whoever is reading the letter that you are uniquely right for the job. They show that you are passionate about the opportunity, and provide a more well-rounded picture of who you are as a candidate.

Social Media Profiles – many recruiters use social media to research candidates. So if you haven’t already, you may want to create a professional social media profile, especially on a networking site like LinkedIn.


Interview Like an Expert as a university student

Before your interview, make sure to look up some basic information on the company — things like what products/services they offer, who’s on their leadership team, what milestones they’ve reached recently, who their competitors are, etc.


Make sure to come up with a few questions of your own. Ask your interviewer specific questions about the company. This will show that you are passionate, curious and well-informed. Here are 7 good questions to ask at an interview. 


Job interview
Photo by Christina Wocintech on Unsplash

Follow Up & Finalise the Offer

We recommend that you send a thank-you note to anybody you spoke with. Thank-you notes show that you’re organised and thoughtful, which both matter a great deal to employers. 

With any luck, you’ll get an internship offer from the company shortly afterwards. Most companies make it official by sending you an offer letter, which you will be expected to sign and return to them. Look out for important details like start dates, responsibilities, pay and location. You should also ask if there’s anything you can do between now and your start date in order to prepare for your role — you want to make sure to start off on the right foot.


To summarise

College is the ideal time to gain the knowledge and experience needed to prepare you for a new career. While it is a transition time into adulthood where critical thinking and a broader sense of learning is acquired, traditionally it is also where moves to start a career are made. For this reason, attending college and acquiring an internship often go hand in hand.


We hope you enjoyed HomeHak’s university student internship in Ireland – how to get one top tips guide!


For more information on internships in Ireland, check out our other articles: