As a journalism student the importance of having “real world” experience is drilled into you from the very first lecture – there are only so many things that can be learnt from a text book. This idea of hands on education somewhat contradicts our initial introductions to studying. In school you’re told that the answers lie in the materials given to you by the teacher. Learn your pluses and minuses, recite the spelling list and you will ace the test. For me, this habit of “book smarts” was a hard one to break at university. A high GPA may look nice on paper but it doesn’t guarantee a successful career and you can still feel completely unprepared for full time employment. Putting your hand up for internships during your degrees is the best way to avoid a nervous breakdown in your graduate year.
More and more potential employers are looking for employees with the skills to back up the theory learnt. Very few care if whether or not you know what the inverted pyramid is or can list the seven news values. They want to know if you can develop a hard line of questioning, instinctively know the lead sentence or have the proper pronunciation of “Australia” (yes, in the news industry this is a HUGE deal).
I couldn’t sleep the night before my first internship. In trying to figure out where I leaned more towards print or broadcast, I had applied for an internship at MX Brisbane. The hour before bed was spent constructing a carefully planned outfit that was professional without trying too hard. So stressed I was that I got my first pimple since my teenage years – I might as well have worn my high school uniform on the first day.
Blame it on having seen one too many movies but I had visions of me trying to remember everyone’s coffee orders, cleaning keyboards (although everyone in this office knows I’d secretly love that particular task) and picking up the boss’ dry cleaning. Honestly, I thought my role would be an observational one where I would be a nameless face watching all the action from the sidelines while contributing very little to the news production. I was pleasantly surprised. I quickly realised that everyone was thankful for an extra pair of hands and they were put to work straight away. The editor made an effort to greet me each day, not only remembering my name but asking me to pitch stories – one of my pieces even made the splash (front page).
So buoyed by my first taste of an internship, I embarked on several others throughout my degree where my writing and broadcasting skills improved but most importantly I grasped the day-to-day happenings of a newsroom. And while my experiences as an intern where positive on a professional level, personally I wondered if I was made of the “right stuff” to be a journalist. Come graduation I started investigating alternative career paths were my writing skills would be put to good use– enter MyWork.
Two years and three roles later, I am now the Digital Marketing Coordinator with one of my primary roles being to organise and create website content specifically targeting keyword phrases to help our clients rank well on Google. I love that I went off course, ending up in a job and an industry that had never crossed my mind. And in a strange turn of events, I am now the first point of contact for our two digital marketing/content writing interns. When assigning work and offering guidance I am very conscious to “pay it forward”, providing each with the same enriching experience that I was lucky enough to have. I want them to be able to look back at their internship and think that was not what I expected… but in a good way.
So, the moral of my story is to take charge of your future. Your career is no one else’s responsibility and work experience is the first step to ensuring that the path taken is a fulfilling and rewarding one. Internships are the ideal opportunity to develop your skillset, make professional connections and uncover some self-truths – the perfect gateway from study to real life.
Where do I sign up?
MyWork is currently looking for enthusiastic website developer and graphic/web design interns to join our team. For more information or to apply please read our Business Development Director, Dan Brett’s recent blog post detailing the MyWork Intern Program, www.mywork.com.au/blog/web-design-internships-brisbane