Do you want to create practical goals to succeed in your internship? Then you’ll want to set SMART goals.
From building your network to improving communication among team members, using the SMART framework will lay the groundwork for a successful career after completing your internship role.
Since an internship is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable real-world skills and experience, it would be a waste not to take advantage of it.
What is a SMART Goal?
As you begin your internship, consider creating SMART goals for yourself. SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
- Specific: Your goals must be well-defined and easy to understand.
- Measurable: Track progress to know whether or not you’re staying on course toward your objectives.
- Attainable: It does you no good to develop unrealistic goals, so ensure they are within your capabilities and skill set.
- Relevant: Make sure your goals align with your overall mission and values.
- Time-based: Set a deadline to keep you accountable. It will also create a sense of urgency for goal completion.
Missing even one of these criteria would drastically lower your chances of achieving your dreams. That wouldn’t be ideal, so make sure every one of your goals is SMART. You’ll be doing everything necessary to succeed in all areas.
13 Examples of SMART Goals for Your Internship
Let’s dive into a few examples of SMART goals to set during your internship:
1. Improve Your Writing Skills
SMART Goal: I want to improve my writing skills to create more compelling and interesting reports within the next three weeks. I will read one book on writing techniques weekly and practice writing for 30 minutes daily.
- Specific: The goal is clear and concise, stating precisely what the individual wants to achieve and how they plan on doing it.
- Measurable: By reading one book on writing techniques per week and practicing writing for 30 minutes every day, the intern will be able to track their progress and improvement.
- Attainable: This goal is achievable by reading books and practicing writing regularly.
- Relevant: This is relevant to the intern’s career because being a good writer can help them create better reports.
- Time-based: There is a three-week timeline for accomplishing this goal.
2. Deepen Understanding of the Company’s Mission
SMART Goal: Over the two weeks, I will deepen my understanding of the company’s mission and values. I’ll do this by attending the weekly staff meeting, reading the company’s blog, and speaking with my supervisor about the company’s mission and values.
- Specific: This goal outlines what you need to do (attend meetings, read the blog, speak with your supervisor) and how often you need to do it (at least once a week).
- Measurable: You could follow your progress by counting the number of meetings you attend, blog posts you read, and conversations with your supervisor.
- Attainable: Attending meetings, reading the blog, and speaking with your supervisor is definitely doable.
- Relevant: Deepening your understanding of the company’s mission and values will help you contribute to the company in a more meaningful way.
- Time-based: Goal completion is expected in two weeks.
3. Increase Your Industry Knowledge
SMART Goal: I want to spend four hours per week reading industry-related articles, attending relevant conferences and webinars, and networking with professionals in my field. After three months, I should be able to list three new trends in my industry and explain how they may affect my company.
- Specific: The goal is clear about which industry-related activities the intern wants to engage in and how often.
- Measurable: The individual can measure whether they are completing the activity four hours per week and list three new trends after three months.
- Attainable: This realistic goal can be achieved with commitment and hard work.
- Relevant: The goal is relevant to the intern’s professional development.
- Time-based: The goal should be reached after whole three months.
4. Expand Your Network of Contacts
SMART Goal: To expand my network of contacts, I want to attend one company event every three weeks for two months. At each event, I’ll speak with at least three people. I will exchange business cards with each person and follow up with them days after.
- Specific: The goal is clear. The intern knows they need to expand their network of contacts by attending company events and speaking with people.
- Measurable: The person will check progress by attending one company event every three weeks and speaking with three people at each event.
- Attainable: This is absolutely possible with dedication and directed effort.
- Relevant: As an intern, this goal is appropriate for your desire to build your network.
- Time-based: Goal attainment will be met within two months.
5. Develop Research Skills
SMART Goal: I’ll aim to develop my research skills by completing an online course on research methods and reading 5 books on the subject by next month. Additionally, I’ll put my research skills into practice by working on three research projects during my internship.
- Specific: The goal-setter wants to improve their research skills by taking an online course and reading books on the subject.
- Measurable: You will complete an online course and read 5 books on the subject.
- Attainable: Sharpening your research skills is key to a professional career.
- Relevant: This goal is suitable because it addresses the need for improved research skills.
- Time-based: There is a one-month window for taking the online course and reading the books.
6. Manage Time More Efficiently
SMART Goal: I want to be able to take on more projects without feeling overwhelmed, so I’ll start using a time management technique called the Pomodoro technique. For three months, I’ll work for 25 minutes on a task, then take a 5-minute break. After four pomodoros, I’ll take a longer break.
- Specific: The statement is clear and concise, stating precisely the objective and how it will be accomplished.
- Measurable: The intern could confirm whether or not they can take on more projects and feel less overwhelmed by using the Pomodoro technique.
- Attainable: You can accomplish this goal using the Pomodoro technique.
- Relevant: This is relevant to time management because it helps interns manage their time more efficiently.
- Time-based: There is a three-month timeline for achieving this goal.
7. Become a Better Presenter
SMART Goal: I want to work on my presentation skills by giving at least one presentation per week during my four-month internship. After each presentation, I’ll also ask for feedback from my manager and colleagues.
- Specific: You have a definite action plan—give one weekly presentation and seek feedback from your manager and colleagues.
- Measurable: You will track how many weekly presentations you give out.
- Attainable: This is a challenging but reasonable goal, especially if you’re already an experienced presenter.
- Relevant: This SMART goal will allow you to succeed and excel in your internship role.
- Time-based: You should complete this goal within a 4-month time frame.
8. Learn About the Company’s Products and Services
SMART Goal: In the next two weeks, I want to learn about all the products and services my company offers to be more effective in my role. I will do this by reading our company’s product and service manuals and talking to customer service representatives.
- Specific: The goal is well-defined because it describes precisely what the person wants to learn and how they plan to do it.
- Measurable: The individual could measure their progress by taking notes while reading manuals and talking to customer service representatives.
- Attainable: This is realistic and achievable, given the specified time frame.
- Relevant: The goal is pertinent to the person’s role and responsibilities as an intern.
- Time-based: Goal attainment is expected within the next two weeks.
9. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
SMART Goal: I’ll strive to get out of my comfort zone by talking to at least one new person every day within three weeks. I’ll do this by introducing myself to someone new at lunch, joining a club or group, or attending events.
- Specific: The person wants to feel more comfortable talking to new people.
- Measurable: They will talk to at least one new person each day.
- Attainable: This is a feasible goal that can be accomplished with intentional effort.
- Relevant: Leaving your comfort zone will foster personal and professional growth.
- Time-based: The goal-setter has three weeks to complete this goal.
10. Gain Experience Working on a Team
SMART Goal: Over the course of four months, I will work on at least three team projects, including leading one project, to increase my experience collaborating with others and working toward a common mission.
- Specific: The goal states the objective, what will be done to achieve it, and the timeline.
- Measurable: You could determine the number of team projects you worked on and whether or not you led one of the projects.
- Attainable: This goal is possible because it is realistic to work on multiple team projects over four months.
- Relevant: Every intern should consider gaining experience working with others and taking on leadership roles.
- Time-based: There is a four-month timeline for reaching this goal.
11. Take on Additional Responsibilities
SMART Goal: Starting today until one month later, I hope to take on additional work responsibilities to develop my skills and knowledge. I will speak to my supervisor about taking on more tasks and volunteering for new projects.
- Specific: You know exactly what you must do—talk to your supervisor and volunteer for new projects.
- Measurable: Check progress by the number of new tasks or projects you take on.
- Attainable: You could realistically accomplish this goal in a month.
- Relevant: This is pertinent to your objective of developing your skills and knowledge.
- Time-based: You have a one-month time frame to attain this particular goal.
12. Be Proactive and Contribute New Ideas
SMART Goal: I will contribute at least one new idea in every team meeting for two months. I’ll prepare for meetings by brainstorming beforehand and coming up with at least three potential ideas. I will try to speak up and share my ideas even if I’m not sure they are fully developed yet.
- Specific: This statement is explicit because it sets a clear expectation for what the person wants.
- Measurable: The person could track whether or not they’re contributing new ideas by counting how often they speak up in team meetings.
- Attainable: This is achievable if the person is proactive and takes the time to prepare for meetings.
- Relevant: This goal is appropriate because it will help the individual become more involved in their team’s work.
- Time-based: The goal should be completed within two months.
13. Keep a Positive Attitude
SMART Goal: I’ll strive to keep a positive attitude throughout my internship. I will try to be friendly and helpful, even if I feel stressed. If I feel overwhelmed, I will take a break and talk to my supervisor if I have any concerns.
- Specific: This SMART goal outlines how you will maintain a positive attitude during your internship.
- Measurable: The intern could track how often they display a positive attitude or how often they need to take a break.
- Attainable: It’s within your ability to control your attitude and take breaks when needed.
- Relevant: Interns must maintain a positive attitude as it sets the tone for their work and can affect those around them.
- Time-based: This goal should ideally be met throughout the duration of the internship (four months).
Developing SMART goals is crucial for internship success. They encourage you to grow professionally and make the most of your internship experience.
The listed examples of SMART goals will inspire you to make successful progress; you’re less likely to lose motivation early on.
And remember, your internship is what you make of it. If you want to learn and grow, create some SMART goals to serve as a guiding light.
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