The Importance of Creating Internship Goals

Creating Internship Goals | Tips & Examples |

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Internships are a great time for students to learn more about their intended career path and gain relevant job experience. Before starting an internship, it’s important to think about what you want to learn and achieve. Learn more in this article about creating thoughtful goals so that your internship will help guide you to the next step in your career.

Why are internship goals important?

Internship goals are important because they help you gain relevant skills and experience for your career. By working toward an objective, you can show employers that you are a driven individual who is ready to take on more responsibilities. The goals you achieve during your internship will be great talking points for future interviews, which could help you get a job.

How to choose internship goals

Here are the steps to follow when choosing internship goals:

1. First, think about your passions

An internship is a great starting point for your career. It’s a chance to figure out your likes and dislikes before fully committing to a job. Use your internship to explore your areas of interest more.

2. Second, decide the purpose of your internship

It’s important to remember the reason you applied for your internship when creating goals. Use this reason to influence your goals. For example, one reason could be to have more job experience. In this case, you can develop relevant job skills or learn the programs you need for your career.

3. Third, create SMART goals

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based. When creating internship goals, think of each part of the SMART acronym to create goals that are realistic to achieve.

Here is each part of SMART explained:

  • Specific. Create a goal that is focused and detailed
  • Measurable. Plan how you will determine the progress and success of your goal
  • Achievable. Make your goal realistic for your internship
  • Relevant. Choose a goal that will help you grow in your profession
  • Time-based. Since internships typically have an end date, choose a goal you can complete within this timeframe

4. Fourth, write your goals down

After thinking through your goals, write them down so you can regularly refer to them. Putting your goals in a visible spot in your workspace helps you remember to work toward them.

5. Fifth, discuss your goals with a manager

Throughout your internship, meet with your manager to discuss your goals and get feedback. They can help you achieve these goals by providing you with resources and mentorship.

6. Finally, periodically look at goal progress

When writing your goals, create checkpoints for your progress. For each checkpoint, decide where you expect to be in achieving your goal. Your goals can also include specific numbers or quotas that can help you stay on track.

By following this process, you can choose goals that help you grow as a professional. An internship allows you to learn more about yourself and the career you intend to get into, so take full advantage of this opportunity by creating thoughtful goals.

General internship goals

Here are some internship goals you could try to achieve:

Learning technical skills

Learning specific technical skills, also known as hard skills, is a great goal for your internship. For example, if you want to become a web developer, use your internship to develop your coding skills. When setting your goals, think of which specific technical skills will help you increase your job opportunities. During your internship, use your coworkers and managers as a resource to learn these skills. They will more than likely be happy to show you how to do a specific task and answer your questions.

Developing soft skills

Soft skills are your people and social skills that help you create successful interpersonal relationships. Soft skills are also important to develop during your internship. Use your internship to practice your verbal and written communication skills. Also, get to know the company’s culture and how to work well within it.

Understanding a career path

Use your internship to learn more about a career you’re interested in. Practical experience with a career can give you insight into all of the responsibilities involved. Your internship can help you determine if you should still work toward this career or if you should explore other options.

Gaining job experience

Internships could involve completing many administrative tasks, such as filing, sorting mail and updating spreadsheets. Since most entry-level jobs have similar responsibilities, learning how to complete these duties in an internship can reduce your training time when you start a career. These tasks also help you build valuable skills, such as organization and time management.

Finding networking opportunities and mentors

Create connections with coworkers and clients during your internship. These connections are useful for when you need career advice. Your connections may even know of job openings that you could apply to in the future. By making a lasting impression, you can have more professionals you can ask for references when looking for a full-time job. Also, find a mentor during your internship. Mentors are experienced professionals in your field who can help you create focused career goals. They can offer advice and can also serve as an excellent reference for future opportunities.

Getting a full-time job

Many college graduates start off their career with an internship. This gives them time to acclimate to a professional environment and gradually gain more responsibilities. Employers like to use internships as a preliminary period to see if a candidate is a good fit. If an intern proves that they are a valuable member of the company, the employer may offer them a full-time position. If this is a goal you have for your internship, ask your employer early on if there are any full-time opportunities with the company.

Internship goals examples

Here are a few examples of SMART goals:

Example for developing your public speaking skills

By the end of your internship, you want to be a confident public speaker. To do this, you speak to your manager about giving a presentation to the entire company during the last week of your internship. Throughout your internship, you learn public speaking techniques. At the halfway point of your internship, you give part of your presentation to your team and receive feedback from them. You use that feedback to create your final presentation.

Example for learning a new technical skill

Your goal is to learn how to use Adobe Suite. You discuss this goal with your manager and ask them to create assignments that require you to use Adobe Suite. Throughout your internship, you ask your coworkers for feedback and resources to use. At the end of your internship, you present a graphic design project that you have been working on for the duration of your internship.

Example for shadowing a mentor

Your internship goal is to learn more about being a marketing specialist. You reach out to your manager and the marketing specialist to set up shadowing days. On the days you shadow the marketing specialist, you ask questions about their daily responsibilities, quotas or KPIs they need to meet and any special projects they’re working on. At the end of your internship, you can decide if being a marketing specialist is a good career for you.

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