Starting out into the workforce after studying for three or so years, you are literally starting from scratch. You get thrown into the deep end, and basically everything you think you knew gets dumped right out the window.
Studying at a well-respected, but theory-based university, looks fantastic on your resume, but doesn’t really help when employers are looking for graduates who are basically professionals at the Adobe Creative Suite programs, and know everything there is to know about SEO, EDM, social media marketing, and analytics, to start off with. Tough going, to say the least. Can’t fake your skills in those areas.
Having been at Electric for about a month, I’ve learned a lot about the workings of a small agency, and you’re given a great deal of responsibility. Fantastic way to start off your career. Given that Electric is also a predominantly digital firm also helps, as it means you start to understand the computer programs used, and are given a look into what Electric is working on at the moment. Being able to sit in on meetings with real-life clients is also definitely a highlight of time here.
Being mentored by someone with so much experience in the marketing world, and someone actually willing to nurture your talent, is a boost, especially when you’re asked for your opinions. You won’t find many senior people in marketing firms doing such a thing.
After the first year of my commerce degree I thought it would give me a competitive edge to go and find myself an internship. Learn all I could ‘in the field’, as people say. It would also look great on my resume — showing that I had initiative and was enthusiastic to become the best marketer I possibly could be.
I was an intern at a local magazine for just under two years, and was in charge of the guides in the app and website each week, and in the print magazine fortnightly. However, the work was exactly the same each week, and I was never given any extra jobs, except for occasional filing. I stayed on for so long — I wasn’t paid, keep in mind — hoping I’d be given more responsibility and boost my resume. In my last semester of uni, however, I thought that I had to concentrate on finding a job or internship where I would be challenged. So I left.
Since I began applying for graduate jobs and the like I’ve found my loyalty with the magazine hasn’t amounted to much. I needed experience in the digital field to help further my skills and make me more employable. I was fortunate to be recommended for this internship through a former lecturer of mine. I feel like I will learn a lot more in the next month than in a year or so of study.
Universities making it compulsory for their students to undertake an internship during their time there is definitely something they should jump on. Their students are able to gain the hands-on experience so many companies look for when hiring graduates. I’ve found there’s nothing worse than being so pumped about graduating with a commerce degree, feeling so ready to take on the business world, and then finding out that, unfortunately, those years at university aren’t enough to begin your professional career.
For students still studying — get out there and obtain an internship. It may not be paid, but you should be obtaining invaluable skills to help you further your career.