As someone who was a recent graduate and essentially new to workforce it’s difficult to sum up how months worth of experiences have shaped who I am and how I work now.
Like many students I’ve only had one other job not relevant to my studies at university. By the time final semester rolls around you start applying for jobs you spent the last three years learning about, but with no practical experience, unsuccessful emails are inevitable. At this time there could be two things running in your head:
1. Yikes, what am I going to do with my life after graduation?
2. How will I get experience when no one is willing to give me a chance to gain more experience?
The simple solution, Internships. Internships (both paid and unpaid) can be a great opportunity to venture into. Although I was an intern a few years ago I do think the life lessons I have gained throughout my internships have been things I’ll carry into all workplaces in the future.
Lessons I have learnt:
1. You’re not alone
Coming into my internship I never realised how big team building would be in the office. This job has taught me that almost everybody has been in my same position; from co-workers all the way to managing directors. Because of this understanding, my team members, team leaders or boss know exactly how to build my skill set and respect where my limitations are. I learnt to value the support and patience my team provides me and in turn I hope I can provide the same support to my team. A team without this foundation will never be able to be optimized to it’s fullest potential.
2. Being different is normal
Generally, I’m an introverted person who keeps to myself. So when I entered into a workplace that consists of mainly extroverted and outgoing personalities it terrified me. A lot. I wasn’t used to the social atmosphere or open chatter with neighbours but what I learnt is that just because you’re a little different compared to everyone else, it doesn’t mean you’re not “right” for the business. My boss once told me if we had too many of the same people we wouldn’t have the right balance of people in our team. My quietness will help balance out someone that chats too much and in return, their chatter will allow me to open up more to the team.
3. It’s ok to have fun at work!
I know, how scandalous! Again, it comes down to the people and culture of the business, however as a serious person by nature it took me a while to adjust to seeing my co-workers relaxing, but still managing to be on top of everything they do. I learned that those fun times aren’t necessarily a distraction but act as a good tool to strengthen relationships and allow us to provide advice to the rest of the team in ways we weren't able to before.
4. Don’t let unpaid work turn you off
As a previous student, I do understand that not everyone can afford to work 8 hours a day with no financial gain when they have bills to pay. However, I found that internships have provided me with priceless experiences and networking I would never have had a chance to gain at university. You might find yourself enjoying the work or feel so passionately about the company’s values that you’re willing to work without compensation. Likewise if you realise the work isn’t for you, now you know it’s not a pathway you want to continue early on in your life and it might help you avoid being stuck in the role later down the track.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better internship. I started at Fuse Recruitment as an intern and didn’t really know what outcome it would bring. Now I work here full time, I am in charge of the internship program I was once a part of and I work with some of the coolest people I’ve had the privilege of surrounding myself with! I recommend everyone to give it go. The first step is to put yourself out there, after that you never know what your internship will lead to.
* This article was written by Victoria Chin. Victoria is a Recruitment Resourcer specialising in recruitment for the Manfucaturing and Infrastructure sectors. To connect with Victoria or view her latest jobs, click here!