Whether you are looking for an internship in your home town, or seeking internships abroad – for any internship to be successful, you need to establish clear and measurable goals before deciding on an internship offer.

Many companies set goals and criteria for their interns in order to give guidelines for establishing a successful program. Why not do the same? What are your personal criteria to judge whether or not an internship offer is a good one?

Here are 9 goals you should keep in mind when selecting an internship:

Meaningful Experience. 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 which will show future employers that you not only have theoretical knowledge, but can also use it in practice.

Exploration: Most likely, you are not completely sure which career you would like to do in the future, simply because you aren’t familiar with what it involves. An internship allows you to test a profession without fully committing to any particular company or job field. You can also explore different niches within an industry which 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 the 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 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!

Polish 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 the theoretical background.

Gain 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 should guide 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.

NETWORK: 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 the 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 prospective 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 is better for a job offer than getting referrals from the company itself or having 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 meaning 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.

Get a job: Never forget the ultimate goal: to get a good job!

No matter what your goals for successful internship, you need to set them before choosing your internship. Think about the factors that are most important to you and select the five goals that are the most important. 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.