As mentioned in my earlier post, Q&A Series: When should you start your job hunt? we have invited April Chan, a journalism major at the Queensland University of Technology to discuss some lessons learnt from her internship experiences.
I first came across April’s via her post Internship Articles on her blog, Planet of an Ape. Captured by her positive outlook, I invited April to guest post on First Comms Job. A second year undergrad, she has already spent 4 months working with Netball Queensland as a match reporter, prior to her week at The Courier Mail and is a glowing example of a proactive comms job seeker. So without further ado, here’s April and her guest post.
Your Communications Internship by April Chan
So, it’s November and for journalism students such as myself, that means one thing – internships and work experience are currently available.
We all know how important it is to gain as much work experience as possible before graduating with a degree. The problem? Actually getting one.
Don’t worry! Everyone has, or will, go through the same issue. You’re not alone!
No matter where or what you’re applying for, there are some universal rules that might help you get the upper hand in scoring that internship or work experience position– and some tips to help you make the most of your experience.
No Spelling or Grammar Mistakes!
A CV riddled with spelling and grammatical errors doesn’t exactly paint a very good picture of you. As communication students, our professional careers will be based around words, so this is especially crucial for us. I’ve heard countless stories from friends who hire for their respective companies who don’t even look twice at a CV once they spot a spelling or grammar mistake.
Do as Santa does and check it twice! Better yet, after you’ve done that, get a friend to go over it for you. Nothing beats a fresh set of eyes.
Be (reasonably) Persistant
You’ve sent in your CV and that application form. It’s been two weeks and you haven’t heard back from them. Chances are, your application got lost in a stack of emails or letters and they never actually ended up seeing it. Don’t be afraid to inquire about your application or even send it in again. After all, no one’s perfect, including the person you sent it to. It once took me three emails and 6 weeks to get something sent to me.
A word of caution though – while persistence is an admirable trait, don’t over do it. No one likes someone breathing down their neck.
Go Out of Your Way
So, there’s this one work experience position up for grabs. You think it would be an amazing learning, and contact-building, experience. The only problem? It’s an hour away. Don’t let that hinder you! The future YOU will be thanking the present YOU for taking that extra effort today.
Don’t Be Picky
Seriously, DON’T. Apply for anything and everything. It’ll boost your chances of getting a future job, as any experience is good experience! Even if it isn’t in the field where you want to end up, think of it this way – it’ll either reaffirm the fact that you don’t want to work in that field, or end up being the introduction to a field you never gave a second chance. Plus, the more experience, the better your CV looks!
The person you’ve been assigned to has given you a task and you’ve already finished it. You’re sitting at your desk bored out of your mind. Ask your supervisor if there is anything else you can do.
Not only does this give them a good impression of you, it also gives you more lines on your CV. It’s a win-win situation. At my previous internship with The Courier Mail, I was assigned to the Property section. One day, someone from the news desk came in asking if anyone was free to do a story for him. Knowing I was constantly looking for something to do, my editor asked me if I wanted the job.
Saying yes not only became a highlight of my week, but a published article for my portfolio!
As the intern or workie, let’s face it – you’ll be getting the work that no one else wants to do. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it with a smile on that dial! Nothing screams “Hire me!” more than an enthusiastic worker.
Have the courage to ask questions
Many a times, you might be asked to do something you’re not entirely confident in. What’s worse – trying and failing miserably, or plucking up the courage to ask? As my grade 7 teacher used to say “It’s not rocket science!” But seriously, ask, ask, ask! In my interning experiences, I was surprised at how willing experienced journos were to lend a helping hand out to rookies like me.
I hope this post has been helpful! What sort of experiences have you had with internships or work experience? Feel free to share them below!
Thanks April, for sharing her tips with us on First Comms Job. Because I love April’s pitch, her blog post and her beautiful personality, she will also be joining First Comms Job as a contributing writer next month! To read more about this Brisbane based, Adelaide born journo student, who loves a challenge (besides films and a good steak), check out Planet of an Ape or give her a shout out on Twitter!
Please share your comments and thoughts with April and I. We love to hear about your views and stories!
Until the next post,