Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Internships and other work experiences

1 Goal setting for my internship or other work experience

In many cases, your employer will set goals for what they want you to achieve while you’re with them.

The definition of SMART goals
Figure 1 Setting SMART goals

Nguyen (2017) shares his experience of having interns at his company. He highlights ‘the importance of setting a set of ambitious goals for each of the interns we hired, and working closely with them to realize these goals over the course of the internship’. Goals he set for company interns included:

  • mastering technical skills
  • gaining essential background knowledge
  • perfecting interpersonal skills
  • building a network of contacts.

This is a great set of goals as they are well aligned with the ones you might set for yourself during work experience. However, you might already have come up with some different ones.

In Activity 1, you’ll look back at Activities 2 and 3 from Week 3, when you were thinking about what you wanted to gain from an internship or other work experience. This will be your opportunity to turn those thoughts and/or any skills gaps you identified into goals.

A common acronym used when setting goals is to make them SMART, i.e.:

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable (or Agreed, if you are working on them with a line manager etc.)

R = Realistic

T = Time bound

Making your goals specific and measurable helps you to clarify them and measure your progress towards achieving them. There’s no point in setting yourself goals that aren’t attainable or realistic as that will lead to disappointment and can impact on your self-confidence. Giving yourself a time limit to achieve them helps you to keep on track and stay motivated.

Activity 1 Making my goals SMART

Timing: Allow about 25 minutes for this activity
  • 1. Look back at Activities 2 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and 3 from Week 3 and list in the box below any goals that you came up with.
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
  • 2. Choose one goal for your next work experience and answer the relevant questions in the table below.

Table 1 Key questions to ask yourself

My goal is:
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Question Answer
S Is your goal specific and clear?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
M How will you measure success?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
A Is it attainable? Do you have the ability to achieve it?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
R Is it realistic in your context? Does it fit in with the other priorities in your life?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
T Is it time bound? What’s your deadline?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

In Week 8, you’ll work through a process that helps you to break down your goals into actions, but the key outcome for this activity is to refine them into SMART goals rather than a list of vague desires. If you found this a useful exercise, you could repeat it for your other goals.

Mead (2019) lists a selection of digital goal-setting tools that you might find useful. See the References section for a link to her article.

In the next section you’ll explore another valuable tactic when doing work experience – volunteering to take on additional responsibilities.

INT_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371