How to Set Great Internship or Job Goals

Goals are critical to succeeding at your internship or entry-level job for several reasons.

  1. They help you focus on what matters and avoid spending time on fruitless endeavors.
  2. They enable you to track your progress and ensure you’re having the impact you want to have.
  3. They help you align expectations with your manager and stay on the same page.
  4. They allow you to document and demonstrate your effort and impact at the company, which can help you get a raise, promotion, or recommendation.

What Makes a Good Internship or Entry-Level Goal?

First, all goals should be several things:

  1. In your direct control.
    There’s no point in holding yourself accountable for things you can’t control. For example, if you’re in a social media marketing role, you should create a goal around growing the number of engaged followers by 50% instead of a goal to increase the revenue you get from each social media follower.
  2. Measurable.
    Avoid vague goals like “Grow our brand awareness.”. You’ll never know when you achieve vague goals. The easiest way to make goals measurable is to ensure there are numbers attached to them.
  3. Ambitious.
    Your goals should push you. They shouldn’t be easily accomplished. Goals don’t exist to make you feel accomplished. They exist to help you accomplish great things.

In addition, internship goals should have a specific focus on learning. That learning focus can be on you learning whether you want to pursue a career similar to the internship, learning a specific skill, or learning to succeed in a particular professional environment.

Good entry-level job goals aren’t so different in that there should be an emphasis on learning. However, learning cannot be the only goal as your impact is critical to your ability to maintain your career.

How to Choose Your Goals

Setting the best, achievable goals for your internship or entry-level job largely depends on knowing what you want, what you’re capable of, what your role will enable you to reasonably do, and what the company is trying to do. When setting your goals, it’s important to ask yourself a few key questions.

First, ask yourself why you accepted this internship or job. This should help you figure out what you should try and learn from it. Understanding your own personal motivation for taking the job should help you set a good personal learning goal.

Second, consider what the company is trying to do. Your goals should benefit you and the company. If your goals don’t align with the company’s goals, then your efforts likely won’t have any impact on the company’s success and you won’t be able to demonstrate your value to the company.

Third, ask yourself what type of impact you’d like to have on the company. What would you be most proud of achieving?

Fourth, examine the responsibilities of the role you have at the company and determine what your role will enable you to achieve. If you’re a sales intern, you probably won’t be super successful at helping the company achieve their engineering-related goals.

Setting the Scope of Your Goals

If you’re a summer intern, you probably shouldn’t have a yearly goal. Instead, you should set a goal for your summer internship.

Entry-level employees should start by trying to set 5 year goals. If you have absolutely no idea where you’d like to be in 5 years and what you’d like to be doing, that’s totally fine; start with 1 year goals instead. From those 1 year goals work backwards into quarterly and monthly goals. Some companies set quarterly goals and some set monthly goals. The scope of your goals should match with your company’s scope.

Internship Goal Examples

  1. Grow Twitter followers by 25% by the end of summer.

    Social Media Marketing Intern

  2. Demo 5 new accounts each week.

    Sales Intern

  3. Write 10 new articles each month.

    Content Marketing Intern

  4. Learn Ruby on Rails and deploy 1 new feature by the end of summer.

    Software Engineering Intern

  5. Have coffee with 1 full-time employee each week.

    Anyone

Entry-Level Job Goal Examples

  1. Create 2 new icons and add them to the icon font each month.

    Visual Designer

  2. Reduce expenses each quarter by 5%.

    Financial Analyst

  3. Retain 80% of part-time volunteers each quarter.

    Non-Profit Volunteer Coordinator

  4. Shadow a different person in their role at the company each month.

    Anyone

Tracking Your Progress

Once you have your goals set, you’ll need to be diligent about tracking your progress. A good rule of thumb is to check in on your status one time dimension below the scope of your goals. For example, you should check on your progress towards any yearly goals every quarter. You should check on any quarterly goals every month. You should check on any monthly goals every week.

Keep track of your progress somewhere digital (a spreadsheet or Google doc are good options). It’s not only important to know whether or not you’re making good progress, but at what rate you’re making progress. This can help you tie the progress to specific actions you took.

Assessing Your Impact

The final, and perhaps the most critical part, of effectively using goals in your internship or entry-level job is to ensure that you take time to reflect on the goals you set. You may have achieved them, or you may not have. Regardless, you should take time to think about:

  1. Did this goal actually measure the impact that you had? Was it a good goal?
  2. Why did you or did you not meet your goal?
  3. Was this goal effective in motivating you?
  4. Should you use this goal again?

Now that you know why goals are a critical part of any internship or entry-level job and how to set good ones, go use your new knowledge! Your manager will be impressed. We promise.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Internship? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

How To Become A Confident Public Speaker

Confidence is a key part of being successful in almost any situation, and it’s especially important when it comes to your professional life. One of the areas where confidence really matters is public speaking. Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid of public speaking (including seasoned professionals). If you’re among them, don’t worry. With a little bit of practice and preparation, you can conquer your fears and learn how to deliver a powerful and engaging speech.

Here are five tips for becoming a confident public speaker.

1. Have a positive attitude.

Being able to get your message across effectively starts with having a positive attitude. Although this may seem difficult if you’re feeling nervous, it’s actually not as hard as it sounds. The key is to know your goal and to tell yourself that you can do it. For example, if your goal is to present a new strategy to the entire company, reminding yourself that you have the knowledge and the skills to deliver a great speech is crucial to your success. This will help boost your confidence and ensure that you stay positive as you get closer to giving your presentation.

2. Picture a successful outcome.

If you’ve ever heard of athletes who prepare for big games by visualizing success, there’s a good reason for that: it works! The best way to apply this tactic to public speaking is by picturing yourself giving a speech. Picture yourself feeling confident and delivering a speech that you feel good about. Then focus on what part of your visualization makes you feel the most successful. Is it being prepared and knowledgeable about the material? Or maybe it’s the way the audience engages with your speech, smiling and nodding in all the right places. Whatever it is, focus on this feeling of success and keep repeating the visualization until you’re able to convince yourself that the real speech will go just as well.

Pro Tip: Although this exercise should be a positive one, don’t be afraid to do a similar visualization where you picture the worst case scenario. Why? Because this will help prepare you for any curve balls. Although you’re unlikely to encounter any real embarrassment or problems during the speech, seeing it play out in your imagination (and knowing that you can get past it) is a great way to remind yourself that you can handle whatever comes your way.

3. Know what you want to communicate.

Along with building confidence, knowing what you want to communicate is a key component of successful public speaking. The best way to do this is by coming up with a list of 2-3 bullet points that you consider to be the key takeaways of your speech. Then craft your speech with these in mind and practice it several times to ensure that you’re emphasizing these points as effectively as possible.

4. Clear your mind

Once you have you have your speech prepared and you’ve visualized a successful outcome, the next step is being able to clear your mind right before your speech. There are several ways to do this but the most effective is to practice some deep breathing. This works best if done right before the speech. Spend a few minutes breathing in and out slowly and focusing on your breath. This will help clear your mind of any remaining anxiety and will ensure that your mind and body are relaxed as you prepare to start your speech.

5. Connect with the audience.

Along with being calm and prepared, one of the keys to giving a successful speech is being able to connect with your audience. The best way to do this is by making regular eye contact during your speech and by asking questions designed to engage your listeners.

Pro Tip: A great way to practice connecting with your audience is by rehearsing your speech in front of friends. This will ensure that you’re comfortable with the delivery and able to focus on engaging with your audience.

Public speaking is a great skill to have in any professional context and it’s especially impressive for recent grads who are just establishing themselves in their careers. By following these tips and growing your self-confidence, you’ll be able to become a confident public speaker and to impress current and future employers along the way.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Write a Thank You Note After An Interview and find answers to common interview questions such as What Gets You Up in the Morning?

Here’s How To Make A Great First Impression At An Entry-Level Job

You’ve worked hard to earn your degree and even hard to lock down that first job after college. You should recognize and celebrate the successes you’ve had, but don’t underestimate the importance of starting your first entry-level job off on the right foot.

Here are 5 actionable tips to help you succeed beyond your wildest dreams in your first entry-level job:

Prepare for your first day. 

When given a start date for your new job, it can be extremely tempting to relax and passively wait for that date to come before you start getting familiar with your new job. That’s not a good idea. You should spend an hour or so each day getting more familiar with the company, the role, and the people you’re likely to work with. Here are some tips for getting on top of the job before it begins:

  1. Ask your hiring manager for any guides or information to ponder before you start.
  2. Get familiar with the industry you’re working in and your company’s place in it. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Do some additional research into the professional history (best to avoid personal history) of the other team members you’ll be working with. Where have they worked? What have they done?
  4. Ask the company to help you get in touch with previous entry-level hires in your role. They will have fantastic advice for you on succeeding at the company.
  5. Get coffee with your coworkers before you start.

Show up early and prepared.

There are going to be a lot of moving pieces on your first day. There will be new people to meet, new processes to learn, routines to establish, and the list goes on. Arrive early and create structure for yourself to make it less overwhelming. Here are some suggestions for creating helpful structure on your first day:

  1. Write everything down. It doesn’t matter where. What’s important is that writing things down helps you retain them.
  2. Start a to-do list and be diligent about checking items off as they happen. This will help you when your boss asks what you’ve done lately.
  3. Take breaks to reflect. Take 15 minutes at the end of the day to make any additional notes.
  4. Create a routine. Get lunch at the same time every day. Create structure in your daily agenda.

Be a humble sponge.

Recognize that there’s going to be a lot for you to learn and that your coworkers have a lot to teach. Be patient, respectful, humble, and curious. If you don’t know or understand something, ask for some guidance and help, listen intently, write it down, and take it to heart.

You might find yourself not agreeing with the way certain parts of the company or processes are run. That’s fine. However, it’s always a good idea to attempt to understand why the current processes exist before attempting to change them. You want to work in a place where your voice is heard and respected. Your fellow employees will listen and respect you only if you’re willing to listen and respect them first.

Set goals.

If you remember one thing from this list, let this be it. Nothing is more important than setting good goals for yourself. Ideally, you’re creating these goals with your manager so that you’re both on the same page with respect to the expectations for you in your role. Only once you know what you’re working towards and how you’ll be evaluating your success can you truly start making progress in your job. Good goals will help you push yourself to learn new things, meet new people, tackle new challenges, and get the absolute most from any job.

Learn to Set Good Job Goals

Be introspective.

Truly knowing yourself and attempting to understand what you find challenging and rewarding about your job will pay dividends. The better you know yourself, the easier it is for you to set great goals for yourself and achieve them. You’ll get more meaningful results faster in almost every aspect of your work.

So being introspective is important. Great. Now how do you do it?

  1. Consider what you’re hoping to get out of your first job. Are you assessing whether or not you want to continue a career in marketing? Or are you trying to figure out whether or not the industry is interesting to you? Why are you here?
  2. Ask yourself, how do you feel at work? Are you upbeat and happy? Or are you distracted and bitter?
  3. Dig into what you’ve actually learned each day. Is what you’re learning what you want to be learning?

Start using these actionable tips.

Sometimes success in a new job comes naturally and sometimes it requires a great deal of effort. Regardless of what situation you find yourself in, these tips should help you start taking control of the situation and ensure you make the most of your first job after college.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

What is an Entry-Level Job?

Whether you’ve just graduated with your degree or you’ve just wrapped up your first internship, you may be starting to think about what your career path will look like after college. Either way, you’re likely to have some questions as you begin your job search. For example, what is an entry-level job and what can you expect to get out of it?

Here some tips to help you figure out the ins and outs of entry-level jobs.

What are entry-level jobs?

Entry-level jobs are jobs that require minimal professional work experience and open the door to larger, work-related opportunities. These positions generally mean that the employer is looking for a young professional who has some prior experience such as an internship under their belt, but not necessarily someone who has any full-time experience.

Pro Tip: Although having significant internship experience is great, it’s not a substitute for full-time experience so you won’t be able to bypass entry-level roles even if you’ve interned throughout your time in college.

How to identify entry-level jobs

Most entry-level jobs are marked that way in job descriptions and have titles that begin with anything from assistant to associate. When searching through listings, you’ll likely come across the following types of entry-level jobs:

“Degree not required” entry-level jobs

These are jobs that don’t require a college degree or much (if any) previous experience. Typical jobs in this category include roles in hospitality, retail and certain administrative positions. Since these jobs don’t require a college education, candidates with a bachelor’s degree may often be overlooked because employers are likely to consider them overqualified.

True entry-level jobs

Many employers still consider entry-level jobs to be just that. You’ll need an undergraduate degree and perhaps an internship or two under your belt in order to be considered for these positions. These types of jobs are the most common entry-level jobs and you’re likely to come across them in fields like finance, consulting, marketing and healthcare.

“Professional experience required” entry-level jobs

These types of entry-level jobs are less common but you’re still likely to come across them during your job search. Although they may be labeled “entry-level,” they would be better defined as entry- to mid-level jobs, since they expect you to have 1-3 years of full-time, professional experience. You’re likely to encounter these roles at smaller companies that are operating under tighter budgets but still trying to attract talented candidates.

Reading between the lines can help you save valuable time during your job search by giving you a clear sense of the jobs you’re qualified for and those where you’re likely to earn the highest salary with your qualifications.

What can you expect from an entry-level job?

One of the hallmarks of entry-level jobs is that they offer valuable training and experience. This means that you will often be exposed to many aspects of your chosen industry while also being asked to work on tasks that will help you learn more about the position and the field. Although some of these tasks might be mundane, many will be exciting, offering you the chance to expand your skill set and learn as much as possible along the way.

Entry-level jobs are a great starting point for your career. With the proper skills and a little research, you’re sure to land a job in your field in no time.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Ways to Impress Your Boss and find answers to common interview questions such as What Gets You Up in the Morning?

How to Be a Team Player

Learning how to work well with others is a crucial part of driving an organization towards success. If you’re working at your first paid or unpaid internship or entry-level job, it’s also a great way of showing that you’re committed to the position and to the company.

Here are a few qualities that can make a team player really shine in the workplace.

Identify your strengths, but try to be a utility player.

Know your strengths and use them to your advantage. A good team has people who can help out wherever is needed, but who also specialize in one area. Find out what your strength is and you will quickly become a revered member of the team. But be willing to jump in when someone on the team needs help or if the company faces an unforeseen challenge.

Be flexible.

Being flexible is a big part of the reason you were hired. Lots of employers prefer hiring interns and recent grads because they have yet to become “set” in their ways. Being flexible and useful is going to be valuable to everyone around you, so make sure that you demonstrate that flexibility by finding out where you can be helpful and then doing your best to make a positive impact.

Added bonus: Being flexible means that you’ll likely be exposed to different opportunities and learn a lot more than you anticipated.

Avoid falling into the trap of “playing politics.”

If you haven’t worked in an office before, you might not be familiar with office politics. However, one of the realities of working as part of a team (both large and small) is that team dynamics can be tricky. If you want to give yourself the best chance of success, be situationally aware and sensitive to everyone’s needs. More importantly, don’t fall into the trap of gossiping about your co-workers. This can seem harmless in the moment but it can create a lot of problems for the team and the company. Instead, be real and be confident in what you contribute to the team on a daily basis. Your work should and will speak for itself.

Be prepared with solutions, not problems.

Good leaders are looking to hire people that will one day replace them. It’s your job to always come prepared with solutions to a problem, rather than just talking about the problem itself. Many times people fall into the trap of going to management with an issue and hoping it will be fixed for them, but it’s very important to address each problem or pain point you see with a possible solution. Being a key member of a team means offering solutions not only to your own problems but to problems other team members might be facing.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Mastering Your Summer Internship and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Your Hobbies?.

How to Get the Job You Really Want

When it comes to looking for a job, identifying the type of job you want is the single most important thing you can do. This will make it easier to be effective in your job search while also ensuring that you’re focusing on roles that match your interests and your skill set.

Here’s what you need to know about landing the job you really want.

1. Identify your career goals

Although it may seem a bit intimidating to outline your five-year plan when you’re just starting out, setting career goals is a great way to ensure that you’re focusing on the big picture and looking for roles that fit with your long-term plans. The best way to do this is by determining a specific career goal and outlining the steps you’ll need to take in order to get there. With this goal in place, you’ll be able to create a clear path for yourself and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Pro Tip: If you want to outline more than one goal that’s okay too, but be sure that at least one of your goals is something you can achieve within the next one to two years. Short-term goals are great for maintaining focus in general and when you’re just starting out, having achievable goals is even more important.

2. Develop the right skills

Once you’ve identified your career goals, it’s time to take stock of your skills and identify opportunities for learning and improvement. This will help you determine where to focus your energies and also give you a better idea of how to showcase your current skills in an impressive way.

Pro tip: Don’t panic if you don’t have all the skills you need for a specific job. Instead, look for ways to develop those skills by taking classes or taking on projects. Hiring managers are always impressed by candidates who take a proactive approach to learning and building your skill set in this way will show them that you’re a self-starter who is motivated to learn and grow.

3. Have a great resume

Although having a strong skill set is important, those skills aren’t enough without a great resume to showcase them. When writing your resume, be sure to focus on your key achievements in each previous role (including internships and part-time jobs) and to use numbers to quantify those achievements.

Pro Tip: Your resume should represent not only your accomplishments, but also the fact that you’re a well-rounded person, so don’t be afraid to include skills and achievements from extracurricular activities or individual projects.

4. Network effectively

Networking is a key component of professional success and it’s especially important if you’re just starting out in a particular industry (or when you’re looking to change industries). The best way to go about it is by reaching out to people in your alumni and social networks and staying in touch with co-workers and managers from your previous jobs. This is a great way to ensure that you’ll hear about new opportunities directly from people in your network and that you’ll already be on their radar when they’re looking to recruit for that the role that might just be your dream job.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have any contacts in your particular industry, don’t be afraid to send a cold email to someone you admire asking them to grab a cup of coffee or have a 15-minute phone chat. Chances are, they’ll say yes and you’ll have the opportunity to connect with someone who can help you understand the ins and outs of the industry.

5. Nail the interview

The final step to landing the perfect job is nailing the interview and this comes down to doing your research and being prepared. We recommend the R.E.A.F. approach — doing your research, being enthusiastic, asking questions and following up. Once you know who you’ll be interviewing with, take the time to research them and their role at the company. This will give you a sense of how your role will interact with theirs and help you understand their specific expectations for that position. Another great thing to do is to practice answers to commonly asked interview questions like, “Tell me about yourself,” and “What are you passionate about?” so that you can answer them confidently and present yourself in the best possible light.

Pro Tip: If you’re feeling nervous about the interview, try practicing with a friend. Ask them to quiz you on specific questions and to give you feedback on your answers. This is a great way to get a confidence boost and will also help you realize that the interview is really just a conversation.

Having a plan of attack is the first step to landing the job you want. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to getting there.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job and find answers to common interview questions such as What’s Your Dream Job?

6 Things to Do in Your First Week at a New Job

The first week of any new job can seem a little overwhelming. It’s probably the one week where you’ll have the most “ramping up” to do throughout your time at a company. Here are a few tips to make sure you nail that week, no matter what the job entails.

1. Ask lots of questions

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. This isn’t the only week you’re allowed to ask questions, but it’s the week when everyone will want to help. Don’t worry about being annoying; you’re expected to have a lot of questions, and asking them shows that you’re eager to learn. Just make sure you ask things that will help you learn and keep track of people’s answers so you won’t be asking the same questions over and over again. Most importantly, if you have a question that isn’t specific to the company, be sure to Google it first so that you’re not asking obvious questions.

2. Don’t be the last one in, or the first one out

The first week is all about first impressions, so it’s important to demonstrate your commitment by being in the office as much as possible. Being one of the first people in and one of the last to leave is a great way to show everyone that you’re a hard worker. It also shows that you are eager to learn and participate. You’re not just there to clock in and clock out, you want to show you’re dedicated and willing to go the extra mile to be a valuable team member.

3. Learn the office

Figure out where everything in the office is. Where’s the bathroom, printer, kitchen and coffee machine? You should definitely try to figure things out on your own before tapping someone on the shoulder, but don’t be afraid to ask about how the bathroom situation works or which snacks are on- and off-limits.

4. Pay attention to people’s routines

Pay close attention to your co-workers’ daily routines. This applies especially to your boss or supervisor and other people in your position who have been there for a while. Learn what the high performers in your role are doing well and incorporate that into your new routine. Don’t be afraid to ask what makes people successful at the company. This is the best way to get a sense of what you can do to succeed in your own position.

5. Get to know everyone

Most importantly, make an effort to get to know all your co-workers. If you work for a big company or have a huge office, focus on the people you actually work with. Set up a meeting outside the office, like a coffee or a lunch, and do a little research on what that person’s role is and what he or she does on a daily basis. Use these meetings as a chance to ask questions, and more importantly, build relationships.

Not only will your days be more enjoyable if you have good relationships with the people you work with, but your co-workers will be more open to helping you if you’re on good terms with them. You will be spending a lot of time with these people, so it’s best to build those strong bonds from the beginning.

6. Send a status update at the end of the week

Sending an end of week update to your manager is a great way to wrap up your first week. Be sure to include everything you’ve accomplished during the week, any questions you may have and a plan of what you intend to do the following week. This will show your manager that you’re organized and proactive about succeeding in your new role.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Be a Team Player, and find answers to common interview questions such as, What Gets You Up in The Morning?

Top 10 Skills Employers Want in an Intern

Internships provide invaluable professional experience and allow you to test the theories and concepts you’ve been introduced to throughout your college career — not to mention they increase your chances of being offered a full-time job later on.

No matter what your major or preferred industry, employers look for a core set of skills and traits when considering applicants for both internships and entry-level jobs. Your prospective supervisor is interested in more than just your GPA, so whether you’re hoping to be a summer intern, planning on honing your time-management skills as an intern during the academic year, or applying for your first job out of college, it’s worth your while to draw attention to the transferable skills you’ve picked up during your courses, community service and extracurricular activities.

Below are the top 10 skills employers want in an intern:

1. Communication

Communication occurs in a variety of ways, but future employers are primarily interested in your ability to write and speak professionally. You have the opportunity to demonstrate your written skills in your resume and cover letter, and your verbal skills as you supply thoughtful answers to the common interview questions you’ll likely be asked. During your interview, you might mention your experience giving oral presentations (which perhaps was required in some of your classes). The ability to communicate effectively — to translate ideas and convey information — is key in any field, whether it’s with your supervisor, coworkers, or clients, and employers are well aware that it is a valuable skill.

2. Interpersonal

The ability to communicate effectively is often related to one’s ability to relate well to others, or “people skills.” Depending on the industry, you may be interacting with clients and vendors as well as your co-workers and managers. It’s important to be able to build and maintain relationships and be the kind of person team members want in the office with them every day. Interpersonal skills are also important because employers seek individuals who can identify the wants and needs of others and who can recognize and acknowledge the value of differing perspectives.

3. Collaboration

As an intern, you’ll likely collaborate with other interns and company employees. Your ability to communicate and relate well to others is certainly important for collaboration, as is the capacity to work with others toward a common goal. As part of a team, you have to understand your own strengths and weaknesses so you know how you can best contribute, as well as be aware of how you can bring out the best in others.

4. Time Management

If you’ve managed to successfully take a full course load every semester and meet assignment deadlines, to some extent, you’ve already demonstrated time management skills. But as an intern, you’re not going to have a syllabus to tell you when your deadlines are. It’s up to you to organize your time and produce results. Employers want to know that you can prioritize responsibilities and recognize when it’s appropriate to multitask or focus on one particular project at a time.

5. Adaptability

Today’s work culture — whether you’re hoping to intern for a startup or well-established organization — often requires even the most senior level executives to wear multiple hats. As an intern, one day you might find yourself supporting the sales team and the next day performing customer service. While you may have an interest in a particular aspect of an industry, a willingness to become familiar with the different parts of an organization is definitely viewed as an asset (and also increases your exposure within the company).

6. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking refers to your ability to analyze and evaluate a situation or issue and form a judgment. The tendency to think critically can be demonstrated by a willingness to ask questions in order to understand an issue from all possible angles, and to pose creative solutions to challenges. It’s something many of your professors have likely emphasized and is highly valued by employers.

7. Research and Analysis

If you’ve completed any research papers or projects for your coursework (and you likely have), you already have experience with research and analysis. Don’t be shy during your interview for an internship; make it a point to bring up the empirical research you performed for your psychology class and the conclusions you came to about how your fellow students make purchasing decisions in the campus bookstore. As a new member of the organization, you’ll be hit with a lot of new information, and your ability to process that information is a testament to your ability to fulfill whatever role you’re assigned.

8. Initiative

You’ve applied for an internship to gain knowledge of an industry and professional experience, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer. During your interview, highlight instances where you’ve taken it upon yourself to contribute or positively affect change. Your potential employer will appreciate the chance to bring someone on board who doesn’t have to wait to receive direction for every task, and who’s willing to assist others with their work.

9. Receptiveness

While taking initiative is important, so is the ability to receive feedback. For example, if you’re asked about a time you made a mistake, you can mention the feedback you received regarding the error and how you responded to it. Your interviewer will want to know that you’re willing and able to address any weaknesses.

10. Technical Proficiency

You certainly won’t be expected to be an expert in whatever platform the company you’re applying to uses, particularly if you’re hoping to intern for a company within a highly specialized industry. But you should know your way around a computer, and your ability to navigate basic productivity software will likely be presumed.

The above are commonly identified skills that employers seek in interns, as well as applicants for entry-level jobs. Be sure to research your particular industry and familiarize yourself with other skills or character traits that may be desirable in your field.

 

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out and find answers to common interview questions such as How Do I Get an Internship?.

Common First Job Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Landing your first job is an exciting moment because it marks the beginning of your professional career. But although it may seem like the hard part is over once you have your offer letter in hand, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you’ll face when starting a new job and to avoid the mistakes that can come along with it.

Here are three common mistakes that many people make in their first jobs.

1. Relying on yourself for guidance

You’re not expected to be perfect in your role from the get-go, especially at such an early stage of your career, so don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask for help from your managers and peers when you need it. Although it’s important to develop knowledge on your own, learning from higher-ups who have more experience is a great way to build your skills and knowledge effectively.

Fostering a mentorship with a trusted work colleague can also prove to be extraordinarily beneficial to your development. The best way to do this is by finding a co-worker (ideally someone who’s been in the same role or a similar role to yours) and asking them to go out for a mid-day coffee or after-work drinks. Learn about how this person came into the company, pick their brain on how they approach their work and get a good sense of your expected work-life balance. As your relationship grows and develops, rely on your new mentor for advice during challenging times or when navigating uncharted territory.

2. Underestimating the importance of grunt work

Your new career is likely to start in an entry-level position, which unfortunately comes with “grunt work” such as number-crunching, running reports and other tasks that your superiors don’t have the time or bandwidth to take on. While grunt work isn’t anything you can brag about to your friends, it’s an incredible opportunity to dive deeper into learning about your company while proving to your manager that you’re reliable and trustworthy. The best way to approach grunt work is to take what you can from it and use those tasks to grow your skill set. For example, if you’re building and running reports, it’s important to get an understanding of why the reports are important and gain as many insights as you can from them.

Pro Tip: Although it may seem like senior members of the team focus only on the most important tasks, the truth is that every position (including your manager’s position) involves some level of grunt work. By accepting this as a reality of professional life and making the most of it, you’ll be sure to impress your manager and to really grow into your role.

3. Expecting praise and promotions to come easily

Although being praised for a job well done is something we all aspire to, the reality is that much of what you’ll do in your first job (or any job) is about being patient and proving yourself. This means accepting new tasks enthusiastically, asking for feedback and not getting discouraged if your first attempt at a project doesn’t go as planned. By approaching your new job with a growth mindset and accepting praise graciously when it is given, you’ll be showing your manager that you’re there to learn and add value to the team, something that is much more likely to lead to a rewarding experience and a promotion down the line.

First job mistakes are a natural part of getting used to the professional world and chances are that you’ll make some mistakes no matter how careful you are. However, by anticipating common mistakes before they happen and learning how to resolve them, you’re likely to succeed in your new role and to impress your manager.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as How to Tell if an Interview Went Well and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

Top Locations for a Social Media Job

You’ve decided that you want to become a social media manager and you’ve researched interview tips to help you land the job. Whether you’re looking for a paid or unpaid internship or an entry-level job, the next step is to consider the top locations for this industry and find one that suits you.

Here are the top locations for a social media job.

1. New York, NY

New York is considered the hub of digital media for a good reason. It has more than double the number of social media jobs of any other city in the country. This includes everything from digital strategists to copywriters and social media managers. With so many available jobs, there’s a lot of opportunity to advance quickly in the field, making it a great place to start your career.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in New York is $49,000, 15% higher than the national average.

2. San Francisco, CA

With its bustling tech startup scene, the Golden City comes in second when it comes to social media jobs. Like its East coast counterpart, San Francisco offers great opportunities for those just beginning their careers. The increased demand for social media positions in the city also ensures that you’ll be able to find more advanced roles as you advance in the field. Added bonus: San Francisco has the highest paid social media jobs in the country.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in San Francisco is $55,000, 33% higher than the national average.

3. Chicago, IL

Another city with a thriving digital media industry, Chicago has plenty of opportunities for college students and recent grads who are interested in helping brands manage their social media presence. If you’re interested in combining your social media skills with a passion for other industries, this city also has opportunities for social media managers in the financial and medical fields.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Chicago is $43,000, 3% higher than the national average.

4. Los Angeles, CA

Known as the birthplace of the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is one of the best places to be if you’re interested in social media marketing for news outlets, celebrity magazines and luxury brands. The city also has an emerging startup scene, meaning that there is a lot of opportunity to manage social channels for innovative tech companies too.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Los Angeles is $44,000, 6% higher than the national average.

5. Washington, DC

If you’re interested in politics, chances are you’ve already thought about moving to Washington D.C. after graduation. And that’s great news because the city has plenty of social media jobs available, especially for news outlets and political organizations.

Average salary: The average salary for an entry-level social media job in Washington D.C is $48,000, 15% higher than the national average.

Landing a great social media job or internship doesn’t just involve building your personal brand and preparing for the interview. It’s also about knowing what kind of lifestyle you want and where you want to live. By knowing which locations offer the best jobs, you can ensure that you’ll find a role that’s right for you in a great location.

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Networking Offline and find answers to common interview questions such as What Are Different Types of Public Relations Jobs?.