Choosing Internship Goals and Setting Priorities
Whether you are looking for an internship in your hometown or seeking an internship abroad – for an internship to be successful, you need to establish clear and measurable goals before deciding on a specific internship offer.
Many companies set goals and criteria for their interns, and provide guidelines in order to set them up for success. Why not do the same vice versa? It’s just important to identify your personal priorities when deciding whether or not an internship opportunity is a good one.
Priorities You Should Consider
Host Company: Before accepting an internship offer, make sure that the company has a good work and learning environment. Whether the company is big or small, if they have experienced management and a good mission and values, then your internship will have a higher chance of being a positive experience.
Internship Position: The internship position that the company offers you is very important. Firstly, your position should be relevant to your field of work. Secondly, your tasks should help you learn skills and practical work experience that you can apply for your future career.
Stipend: If a company offers hourly pay or a stipend for interns then the internship offer is definitely more attractive. However, many internships in the United States are unpaid. You should consider an unpaid internship if you like the company and if the internship provides you with the opportunity to learn skills and gain experience.
Cost of Living: You should definitely consider the cost of living in the city that your internship is located in. Living in the United States for 6-12 months can be expensive.
City: Obviously, the city where you live is a huge part of your internship abroad experience. Many people who want to do an internship in the United States dream of living in New York City or Los Angeles. However, NYC and LA are some of the most expensive cities to live in. There are so many beautiful cities in America that offer great museums, parks, restaurants, and nightlife. We encourage you to look outside of New York and California.
9 Goals You Should Keep in Mind When Selecting an Internship
Whether you have already worked full time before or just during summer college breaks, an internship should give you meaningful work experience related to your degree or future profession. It is this experience that will show future employers that you not only have theoretical knowledge but can also use it in practice.
Many students and graduates, who are early on in their careers, are not completely sure which career path they’d like to pursue in the future, often simply because they aren’t familiar with what it actually involves. An internship however allows you to experience a profession without fully committing to any particular company or job field. You can also explore different niches within an industry that could provide new directions for your future career – you never know what your internship will bring!
Learn! Learn! Learn!
Your internship is not a classroom. Getting theoretical knowledge is one thing, but what do companies do in reality? Your internship should allow you to learn about an industry, an organization, or a specific profession. The tasks and responsibilities assigned to you should help you gain practical experience that you can apply in your future career.
The Big Picture
Theory can only teach you about certain steps in a process – it is the internship, however, that will give you the big picture of how it all comes together. Your internship should allow you to see how processes are connected and related to each other!
Strengthen Your Resume
The more relevant experiences you can show in your resume, the better your chances for a real job offer later on. Choose an internship that will give you a competitive advantage over other future job applicants who may only have a theoretical background.
Secure References and Mentors
A successful internship should also provide you access to strong references and a solid mentor within the field of your prospective career. The mentor can assist you on your way to a great career by providing you with their personal knowledge of the industry – the more references and mentorships you can show, the better.
Most jobs are based on referrals and recommendations, so be sure your internship allows you to connect with as many people as possible! Networking and knowing important people in the company and industry will make your career entry much easier!
Foot in the Door
Choosing an internship with a company that could become a potential employer is a great entry strategy. You can prove yourself to an organization, even if they aren’t currently hiring for your dream job. Nothing looks better in a job application than having referrals from the company itself or making your internship be the job interview!
Regular and Effective Evaluation
The more you ask, the more you learn. In the end, an internship should give you an idea of what potential employers would think of your personal profile.
The company should provide regular and meaningful evaluations to let you know what you need to work on in the future. Make sure that you regularly receive feedback from your supervisor so that you can see whether you are on track.
Never forget the ultimate goal, which is to get a good internship position that suits you!
No matter what your personal goals for a successful internship are, you need to set them before searching for your internship. Think about the factors that are most important to you and turn them into five specific personal goals.
By doing this, you can focus on what you really want to achieve. Communicate your internship goals to your company and your supervisor so that you can work on reaching them together.
Once you have a clear picture of your goals, plan and organize your internship around them, and set priorities.