Internships and other work experiences
Internships and other work experiences

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Internships and other work experiences

2 My next steps

Throughout this course, you’ve been exploring what an internship is and how this or another form of work experience can benefit you. In Week 6, you looked at the value of setting goals for your work experience. This week, you’ll take those goals and break them down into actions.

Table 1 and Table 2 show one way of breaking down each of your goals and recording the outcomes of your actions. In both cases, the person has secured some work experience and has set a goal to achieve during that period.

Table 1 Scenario A

Goal To find out more about the sector and whether it is right for me

Current status:

  • a.Experience
  • b.Knowledge
  • c.Skills
  • a.I have never worked in this sector before.
  • b.I have researched it thoroughly by looking online and speaking to people.
  • c.I’m a good communicator so can use that to my advantage.
Development/training/knowledge needed to reach my goal I need to find out as much as possible during my internship.
Action plan
  • Come up with a set of questions that will encourage colleagues to share useful information.
  • Look for opportunities to speak to as many people as possible during my internship and build my LinkedIn connections.
  • Make a note of the things I learn.
Outcome I have a useful set of questions that I’ve committed to memory so I can ask them whenever appropriate, and I’ve joined a social group within the organisation that meets up every Thursday evening.
Evaluation I’m currently noting anything useful I learn in a journal that I’ve bought specifically for this internship. I try to do this every day.
Next step I’m attending a professional conference in August where I’ll be able to talk to others across the sector.

 

Table 2 Scenario B

Goal To develop my self-awareness during my work experience

Current status:

  • a.Experience
  • b.Knowledge
  • c.Skills
  • a.I know what’s important to me and I spend time thinking about my values and strengths etc. but I don’t know what others think of me.
  • b.I’ve read some useful resources that explain what self-awareness is.
  • c.I’m quite analytical and good at reflecting on experiences I’ve had.
Development/training/knowledge needed to reach my goal I’d like to find a mentor who could give me feedback.
Action plan
  • Ask my line manager if it would be possible to find a mentor in my workplace.
  • Approach that person to see if we can meet up each week while I’m here.
  • Consider what I’d like to know about myself, e.g. how I come across in meetings.
Outcome My line manager has suggested an experienced mentor who would be happy to work with me. We are meeting for the first time next week.
Evaluation The person who has been suggested sounds great. They started off doing work experience here too and they have mentored several new staff.
Next step Think about how I can make the most of this mentoring relationship and be clear about what I need help with in our first meeting. Spend some time after our conversation reflecting on its value.

Now it’s your turn!

Activity 2 Achieving my goals

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes for this activity

Choose up to three of your goals that you have identified during this course (look back to Activity 1 of Week 6 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] if you need a reminder). Then use the template below to set your goals, reflect on where you are now and identify appropriate actions. If your workplace has a template that is used to support performance review processes etc., use that if you prefer. You can come back to the Outcome, Evaluation and Next Step sections when you’re ready.

Table 3 Breaking it down

  1 2 3
Goal
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Current status:

  • a.Experience
  • b.Knowledge
  • c.Skills
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Development/training/knowledge needed to reach my goal
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Action plan
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Outcome
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Evaluation
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Next step
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Discussion

If you have identified more than one goal in this activity, your next step should be to prioritise your action plans. Which goal will you work towards first? Are they actually sequential goals or can you do them alongside each other? Make sure you don’t take on too much alongside your day job – if you don’t achieve all your goals this can be a negative experience.

You should now have a set of SMART goals and an action plan for achieving them.

The goals you have focused on in this course are specifically about your work experience and what you want to gain from it. However, you could also use these goal setting techniques to think about your career aims in the longer term. In that scenario, work experience would be one of the steps towards achieving those aims.

Most people experience rejection in the job application process at some point during their careers. In the next section, you’ll consider what happens when you are rejected. Although it might seem like a failure to meet your goals, it can actually be a useful step towards them.

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