Meet Chloe, our Bachelor of Business (Event Management) student who is currently interning at The Merlin Entertainment Group. Read more about her top tips on how to land your dream internship.
The best part about APM College of Business and Communication at Torrens University is the industry connected and experienced Academics teaching you the core course content. Each Academic has an interesting back-story, career side-project, or tip on how to succeed. Vicki Hetherington, my Marketing Lecturer said ‘A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new’ and this has stuck with me to this day. Integrating industry hours into my course has given me opportunities to put my theory into practice, and get connected in the industry I aspire to work in after I graduate.
If you’re lucky enough to get a great internship (like I have) it will be one of the best learning experiences of your life. I was accepted as the Marketing intern for Merlin Entertainment Group in my first year at Uni. I couldn’t believe it! The Merlin Entertainment Group manages Sydney Sea Life Aquarium, Wildlife Park and Madame Tussauds. And yes, I do frequent the Ryan Gosling mannequin, wouldn’t you!?
First, let me start by saying that every internship or work opportunity you experience, paid or unpaid, is different. Let me walk you through some of my key learnings, and tips on how you can prepare yourself to land the internship, and put your best foot forward.
- Landing your internship
First, speak to your Success Coach as they can help guide you on what steps to take. They will go through everything from updating your resume and LinkedIn profile, to using your Gallup Strengths in your interview. APM at Torrens has designated Industry Consultants who advertise available internships on the student portal from the industry connections they manage.
- Show up
The scary part is when you’ve actually secured your internship! When I arrived on my first day, the manager said “The last intern didn’t even show up on the first day, and was late every day thereafter. She didn’t last long.” This not only gives a bad impression on you but also your Industry Consultant who helped secure the internship for you. Show up on time and be ready to work – this really is a stepping stone towards your future!
- Putting yourself out there
Be confident and introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Your peers will shape and influence your internship experience, your understanding of the industry and be excellent connections you can call upon down the track. We’ve all heard of the proverb, ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’, which continues to ring true for me. You see it every day on-site when it’s easy to log in to Facebook or LinkedIn to call on an old friend or colleague for a skill you require. Putting myself out there I’ve met staff across a number of internal teams, as well as getting up close and personal to the animals (now that gives me the take-home warm & fuzzies!).
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new”
- Wear appropriate clothes
Dress appropriately for a good first impression. Yes, first impressions count – it’s not just something our mothers have driven into us from primary school for nothing. It pays to do your research on the Business you’ll be interning in. I wasn’t sure when I started, so I contacted the job recruiter who could define the workplace environment for me. This meant on my first day I turned up and was immediately in the right frame of mind to start positive and professional. Tip: flat shoes do not mean you’re lazy! Be cautious and considerate of what’s right for you, as well as what’s right for other people across all cultures.
- Be willing to put your hand up
Don’t just do what’s expected. Do more, and ask for more. Use your internship and the people around you as a wealth of knowledge. I started out doing all the small jobs that the marketing team put to the bottom of their project lists, or didn’t have time to do. From taking photos of the event spaces to drafting copy for social media posts. The biggest tip I can share is don’t half-arse these jobs. These small jobs are given to you to test your skills and separate the driven interns. I’m lucky I’ve had lots of practice doing this as part of my SRC (Student Representative Council) responsibilities, at events such as Open Day and Day In The Life. So I really took the time to create interesting images and copy that they could use. This has benefited me immensely, as now the marketing team is entrusting me with larger jobs such as assisting with their corporate events, and family days.
“Just remember: they hired you because they saw something in you and because you have the drive and motivation to be there. What you lack in practical experience, you can compensate with your theoretical knowledge developed in class and learn the rest as you go.”
- Be patient
You won’t learn everything overnight and yes, you will make mistakes. Realise you got the wrong type of coffee for your new boss? Forget someone’s name? Check out the internal office register, or simply approach them and ask some ice-breaker questions to get to know them a bit more. Listening will be a key asset for you on your internship as you soak up all the information. Some internships may be full-on from the get-go, but don’t let these frazzle you. That’s often what the workplace is like, and in this environment, you get to test the limits. Work out how to manage your work and study load and still have a social life. Be patient and have fun! I know I am!
Just remember, they hired you because they saw something in you and because you have the drive and motivation to be there. What you lack in practical experience, you can compensate with your theoretical knowledge developed in class, and learn the rest as you go. The best thing you can do is start. So start today!
Are you a current student who’s interested in completing an Industry placement? Make sure you have a job seeker profile on Torrens’ Careers Connect website, and contact your Success Coach who can help update your resume.