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There’s a lot of stress these days on collecting as many internships on your resume as possible before getting to apply for a graduate job. While there’s some truth in the value of internships, listing several on your CV without being able to demonstrate you learned anything during your time working as an intern will make it difficult for you to a cinch a long-term job.  

It can be difficult ensuring your internship is a valuable experience, especially if your primary responsibilities usually just involve making coffee or faxing documents.

Setting goals can be one way of ensuring you’re staying on track in terms of gaining the experience you’re after.

They’re also a good way to chart your progress and will help you give your manager a clearer understanding of what you’re hoping to learn.

Coming up with personal goals 

When you’re formulating targets for yourself, there are a couple of things you may want to keep in mind. Firstly your goals need to be accomplishable and within your direct control. This means you’re avoiding targets that would be difficult for someone who has double your experience, and you’re also keeping them grounded within your own responsibilities in the company. 

Secondly, you’ll need to ensure your targets are quantifiable. Coming out of an internship with statistics or measurable units of your progress is an incredibly important element of having it add value on your CV – so instead of stating you ‘boosted overall sales’, you might want to think about saying you signed on an x amount of clients in a month.  

Finally, tailor your goals to your personal ambitions. If you want a career as a Sales Manager, you’re likely to want to be taking initiative or opportunities that allow you to lead within your internship. Structuring your goals to suit your long-term career plans can be a really effective way of coming up with them.  

Ensuring you achieve your targets 

Sure, it’s pretty easy to say you want to speak up more during team meetings, but it can be far harder in theory when everyone seems to have an established rapport and you feel a little bit like you’re at the bottom of the office food chain.  

Remembering your motivations for applying to your company in the first place and thinking about why you were hired can be a great way to get back on track when it comes to your goals. Your manager is going to appreciate and remember the intern who was engaged and curious about their work, as opposed to one who may have felt it wasn’t their place to speak up.

Stay respectful of boundaries and show a willingness to learn, and you’ll be surprised at how far you’re able to go. 

Check in with yourself and create sub-goals to ensure you’re staying on track with your overall targets. You could use a planner to do this or even record your progress digitally. As you progress within your internship, don’t hesitate to adapt or expand your plan according to how you see yourself growing.  

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