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.
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
- 1. Look back at 3 from Week 3 and list in the box below any goals that you came up with. and
- 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:|
|S||Is your goal specific and clear?|
|M||How will you measure success?|
|A||Is it attainable? Do you have the ability to achieve it?|
|R||Is it realistic in your context? Does it fit in with the other priorities in your life?|
|T||Is it time bound? What’s your deadline?|
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.