Four Tips to Set and Meet Your Internship Goals

Updated: September 9, 2020

Congratulations! You’ve finally landed the internship of your dreams. Now that you’ve cleared the biggest hurdle, you want to ensure you get the most out of the experience.

To do so, you’ll want to set specific, measurable goals for your internship experience. Before you start, write down a wish list—the skills you want to master or the people you want to meet. Then, revise it after your first week on the job, based on your experience thus far. Make an actionable plan for each goal and set a timeline. Follow our top tips to meet your internship goals:

  1. Get organized. Some internship programs are carefully planned, with a tried-and-true onboarding process, regular check-ins, and clearly defined metrics of success. Others, not so much. Either way, you’ll want to sit down with your supervisor early on to review your goals for the internship. Check in with your supervisor every couple of weeks to ensure you’re on track with your various projects and nothing new has cropped up. Throughout the internship, write down every assignment you work on, the hard and soft skills you utilized, and what you learned. By being organized from the start, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your professional goals—now and in the future.
  2. Make the most of your teammates. At college, you were surrounded by eager, inexperienced scholars across dozens of fields. Now, you have access to colleagues with years of experience, all of whom work in your desired industry. Your internship is an ideal place to learn new skills from these experts. As you build your network, use your coworkers’ unique skill sets and practiced advice to help you meet your own goals. It will give you a leg up in future internships and jobs.
  3. Be proactive. While your supervisor may have clear goals for you, you still need to be proactive if you want to be viewed as a key player at the company. Always offer to lend a hand, even if you’re busy; people will return the favor later on. If you’re having a slow day, see how you can help out on other projects. If you see that your work is starting to pile up, take steps to manage it before you get overwhelmed.
  4. Under-promise and over-deliver. When it comes to meeting your goals, it’s always better to protect yourself by under-promising and over-delivering. It’s okay to say that a project will take a week and then deliver it in two days. If you feel overwhelmed by your supervisor’s goals or your set schedule feels unrealistic, ask your supervisor to help you prioritize your goals, so you can complete them in order of importance. It’s better to set fewer goals but to exceed expectations than to do a sub-par job across the board.