It probably seems like just yesterday you were waking up for the very first day of your internship. Time flew by, didn’t it? But the experience doesn’t end once you say your final goodbyes and head out the door on your last day. The next step? Reflecting on the time you spent learning. Get started with our five questions below.
1. Was the work culture a good fit?
Figuring out your cultural fit is a major part of evolving in your career. So, what exactly is work culture? We like how GrowEverywhere.com puts it best — it’s the personality of an organization from the employee perspective and includes the company’s mission, expectations, and work atmosphere. We can sum up why this is important pretty easily. Would you spend energy nurturing a friendship with someone who’s personality didn’t mesh well with your own? Probably not. In a similar aspect, employees working for a company that isn’t a cultural fit often find themselves unmotivated and not working toward their full potential.
Think about how the work environment at your internship made you feel. Were you frantic and constantly stressed? Were you bored and underwhelmed? Or, maybe the company felt friendly and supportive, just like a second home. Only you know what type of environment you thrive in best, so reflect on your experience and keep these learnings in mind for future job interviews!
2. Are there any skills you were hoping to work on, but didn’t?
Based on your college courses and your own knowledge of your future career, you likely have a good sense of the skills you’ll need to sharpen in order to move up the career ladder. Are there any skills you can pinpoint that you really didn’t work on as much as you hoped? This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (so don’t sweat it!), as you can only do so much in the time you’re allotted. However, this is still an important thing to reflect on so that you can seek alternative ways to pick up these skills.
3. What areas do you want to explore more of?
Internships aren’t just about learning skills. They’re also about learning where you want to steer your career someday. We suggest putting together a list of your top three favorite projects you worked on during your internship. When you start searching for future opportunities, you’ll then have a better idea of what types of job descriptions to look out for. Another great tip? Don’t just pay attention to your own daily tasks — look to your mentors as well! Your manager, or other colleagues you’re working alongside, might have some really cool expertise that you hope you can hone one day.
4. What areas do you want to move away from?
On a similar note, it’s also really important looking at the parts of your internship you weren’t so keen on. Unfortunately, this isn’t to say that if you hated the tedious work (like updating spreadsheets), you’ll be able to avoid that in the future. Every job has some tasks that aren’t the most fun! Instead, look at the broader picture. Maybe you’re more of a creative thinker, but your current internship had you working with hard numbers and data more than you’d like. Or, maybe you loved the actual tasks you worked on, but the industry bored you to the bone. Hey, you might even find out you’re on the completely wrong path and want to switch your major entirely! As scary as that seems, it’s a great learning.
5. What kind of feedback did you receive?
Feedback — whether it’s an accomplishment or a critique — is golden information as an intern! Opening yourself up to constructive criticism isn’t easy, but it’s the best way to find out where you need to focus your efforts so you can improve as a professional. As for your accomplishments? Aside from giving you a sense of satisfaction, this is great information for your future job hunt. These are your strong points, so use that to your advantage during interviews and on your resume!