WORK EXPERIENCE AND INTERNSHIPS
We need to locate the development of our careers with the scope and sequence of our work experience and internships – how we make the most of the opportunities presented to us for work within the context of what we will need to maximise our choices now and later in our lives.
The sequence of growth in our professional career is defined by taking the opportunities that present themselves to us. Further opportunities may also be engineered and manifested by us. Rarely are we ever spoon-fed any opportunity to prove ourselves or our abilities to contribute to an organisation. We need to identify how we might provide an ongoing demonstration of character, competency, and capacity in our personal and professional lives. This will come about through specific internships and work experience placements.
Which organisations or fields do we want to find ourselves working in? How can we create possibilities to do so? When are we going to do this? We need to know our potential career paths and use experiences to test whether or not they're really suitable for us. In this way, we can refine our options until we have a clear next stage for career development. Sometimes these opportunities will be brief and undertaken on a voluntary basis. The lessons we learn from them are just as important as those we gain from paid employment. Sometimes these opportunities will flourish and lead to a full-time paid position with a tangible future attached to it. Other times we need to take away from an experience positive learning outcomes instead.
Our strategy, in all of this, returns us to our understanding of the values, strengths, dispositions, and competencies that set us apart from others. These aspects of who we are and who we are becoming establish the direction for what we want to do and what we believe we will be best at. Proving this to ourselves and others comes from our academic performance, how we demonstrate confidence in ourselves when the opportunity to do so arises, and everything in between.
“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
- Am I intentional and strategic in identifying work experiences and internships that expose me to new learning opportunities and test and refine my choices for my career path and development?
- Am I proactive in finding opportunities to undertake a variety of tasks and I establish good working relationships with supervisors, directors and leaders whom I consult for career guidance and insight?
- Do I have a reputation for commitment, reliability, punctuality, effort and achievement and for my effectiveness?
- Do I offer to take on an extra task or assignment that stretches me and gives me an opportunity to demonstrate my skills and to stand out?
- Will I ask for a meeting with my supervisor at the end of my work experience placement or internship to review my work and career development pathway and to extend my personal network?