Setting Internship and Career Goals

Your internship is an opportunity to gain real work experience in a professional work
setting. It is the chance to develop confidence, maturity, and responsibility; to test your abilities; and to help you attain your career goals.

First, you must identify your personal and professional goals, making sure your academic skills and interests can fit an internship.

Next, consider the importance of matching yourself and each internship opportunity.

Examine what skills, attributes, abilities, and limitations you will bring to an internship
to enable you to attain your goals and be useful to the organization for which you want to work. Think about your skills and abilities. Even if you have had no formal work experience, you have acquired a number of skills:

  • Research and writing skills from working on research papers
  • Applicable computer and technology skills from coursework
  • Management skills from summer jobs
  • Communication skills from classroom presentations and group projects
  • Time management and organizational skills from being in school and having a busy schedule

These are transferable skills (writing, research, and managing) that you could add to your list of personal offerings.

Transferable skills, also known as portable skills, are qualities and/or abilities that you have acquired while doing many activities in your life – classes, volunteering projects, jobs, hobbies, sports, and other skills – and that are transferable and relevant to what you want to do in your next job. You can strengthen those skills and develop new ones that employers value across industries and jobs.

Examine your everyday life and identify your personal abilities, strengths, attributes, and knowledge. Use your Strength Quest traits and Internship Action Plan to assist you with making a list of your strengths; this list will come in handy in everything from writing a résumé and preparing for interviews to evaluating your experience when you’ve finished the internship.

Here are a few more examples of transferable skills you may have attained thus far in college:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Time management and organization
  • Customer service
  • Proficiency in another language
  • Reliability and trustworthiness
  • Problem-solving
  • Working independently and as a team
  • Initiative and leadership abilities
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Multitasking
  • Attention to detail
  • Adaptability to change
  • Promoting change
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Decision making with others
  • Organizational skills
  • Managing conflict
  • Management experience
  • Making and implementing decisions
  • Computer skills
  • Setting deadlines and meeting them
  • Enlisting help
  • Creating ideas
  • Setting goals