It’s important to take time to reflect after you finish an experience, whether they are summer internships, research, or part-time jobs. We recently met with the student participants of the CCE Sponsored Internship Programs in several reflection sessions, and want to highlight a few ways you can reflect on your own experience.
Once you’ve finished up your experience, it’s important to consider a few things: how to articulate your experience in upcoming interviews, and also how to breakdown your career preferences and evaluate future opportunities.
Evaluating Career Preferences
You’ve learned the job, mastered the hours and schedule, and adjusted to the work environment. Now what? It’s important for you to assess the following categories to determine your own preferences:
- Structure of the organization: Was it formal or casual? Did people clock in and out, or did they come and go as they pleased?
- Supervision/management style: Did you receive feedback on a daily basis, or were your meetings with your supervisor less frequent?
- Team dynamics: Was it a collaborative environment, or did most people work independently?
Once you have a better idea of what’s important to you, it’ll be easier to understand which types of companies and roles you can pursue in the future.
Articulating your experience
There’s always something to share from an internship, job, or research position. Now that you’ve completed the projects and successfully finished the experience, you will want to gather a list of skills, competencies, and experiences that you developed that you can highlight in upcoming interviews.
A few skills that employers love to hear about:
- Teamwork and collaboration
- Quantitative literacy
- Oral communication
- Creativity and innovation
Once you identify a skill or competency you feel you developed, try to connect the skill to a very specific story from your past experience. You can articulate these skills by using the SARA model:
Situation: What was the situation or conflict you were facing?
Action: What did you do to solve this problem?
Results: What was the result or outcome of your action?
Application: How does this skill or story relate to the position you are applying to? What were the overall themes of your anecdote?
You can use this framework to discuss your accomplishments, projects, and skills in upcoming interviews.
“I liked being able to talk through my experiences and articulate what I did and did not like about my internship and workplace, as well as reflect on the skills I gained which will be helpful in interviews”- CEO 2018 Participant
There are plenty of ways to reflect on your experiences. Come by CCE for a 30 minute career counseling appointment to discuss further with a career counselor. You can also share your experiences with a friend or colleague to practice articulating your accomplishments to another person. To learn more about how the student participants in our CCE sponsored internship programs reflected, take a look at the student experiences page.