Goal-setting is important in all aspects of life, and it’s no doubt something that you’re privy to. Everyone has goals, whether they have to do with school, athletics , personal development or improvement, dream jobs, family, finances, you name it. Goals can and should be applied to pretty much everything in life because they motivate us to work hard, be better and push ourselves to accomplish difficult tasks.
A learnership takes place over a set period of time, and they are often short – a semester, a summer… sometimes even an intensive week or two. Because they are not intended to be a long-term experience, you must enter it with a list of goals in mind and a strategic plan to meet them. From what you want to learn, to the people you want to meet, to the services you want to deliver, the goals you set and how you set them will largely determine if you actually reach them.
Here are four goal-setting tips you can utilize to get the most out of your learnership:
GOAL ONE: Figure Out How Your Learnership Will Jump-Start Your Career
First and foremost, why did you apply for this learnership? Is it because you are interested in the business or department? Do you want to work full-time for this particular company or one like it? Is it project or task-focused? Do you need to improve upon certain skills in order to pursue a career in it? Are you simply trying to figure out what direction you want to go professionally? It’s important to grasp WHY you are taking on this job before determining what you plan to get out of it.
Before you even get hired for a learnership, chances are a hiring manager will ask you why you want the job, and why you think you are their best candidate. After answering that question and undergoing an interview, your response should have developed exponentially in your head. By the time you are preparing for your first day on the job, your knowledge of the company and the role you will play will have grown, thus allowing you to tailor your experience goals.
Create a list outlining your goals based on what you will learn, and how it will assist your career-track in the future. Examples:
The company’s marketing and product teams have tripled their sales in the last year. I am interested in learning from and networking with the people who made it happen.
I am joining a company-wide learnership program at an insurance company because it will allow me to explore all areas in order to determine if I am more interested in health, life, or general insurance brokerage.
GOAL TWO: Stay Organized and On-Track
As mentioned, the time spent at a learnership will fly; so fast that it is unlikely that you will learn as much as you were hoping to. Because of this, it is important to use your time wisely. Rather than starting with a laundry list of goals, sit with your supervisor to go over what can and can’t be accomplished in the given time. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have high hopes and standards, though. It is simply meant to help you have realistic expectations. This will allow you to monitor what you are learning and where your time is being spent over time, in order to gauge if and when you may need to revisit the conversation. Not all learnerships are created equal, so it’s better to eliminate any barriers before you even reach them.
GOAL THREE: BE PROACTIVE
Going above and beyond during your learnership will make you stand out as a key player who has the potential to excel on a professional level. Rather than doing the minimum amount of work requested, brainstorm the ways in which you can offer more than what was asked of you.
Say you are working on a small product development team that is looking to produce a new line of sneakers. Your task is to help determine which designs are the most popular by surveying constituents and gathering data on item-specific preferences. Take it to the next level by not only delivering constituent results, but also researching the competition and its popularity. Whether the company has already done so or not, you are showing that you can figure out what questions to ask and what data to gather in order for your company to better achieve its own goals. It will end up being a win-win for both parties.
GOAL FOUR: NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
The contacts you will make at your learnership are quite possibly the greatest thing you will walk away with. This is because at the end of the day, the larger your network, the more opportunities and assistance you will have in the future. Dually important is the impression you leave on said contacts. When applying for a job, you will often require a list of references and letters of recommendation. This is when your performance comes into play. If you worked very closely with a manager during your learnership, and you trust that they had a good experience with you, he or she is the exact person you will want to reach out to when you need a reference.
That said, you should always focus on meeting as many people you can meet, leaving a positive and lasting impression and maintaining contact with them by keeping their phone numbers and/or email addresses. Networking is a key element in the working world, and learnerships are no exception.
Setting concrete goals before walking into the office on the first day of your learnership will help you enter the experience with a plan and determination. Best of luck!