Our day with Junior Jobs: How to get good work experience and internships
We spent the day with Junior Jobs, a platform that aims to put students in contact with industry professionals and boost their career prospects after Uni. With help from advertising professionals at big-cheeses Grey Health Group, MEC and Ogilvy, they hosted an event where students could network and ask the burning question on every twenty-something’s mind: How to get good work experience and internships?
Well, here’s how the pros say to do it:
Vet your media footprint
Fun fact: companies stalk you. It’s surprising just how much about you is on the internet, and how easy it is to find. Consider the tone of your social media accounts and ask yourself if they correctly portray you for the role you’re applying for. Avoid drunk tweeting about your ex and have a catalogue-worthy Insta – this will help massively. Making your Facebook account private is also advisable so that any photos of you on a particularly messy sesh stay hidden from recruiters – they can see that side of you at your leaving drinks.
Exploit your media footprint
On the other hand, your media footprint can also be incredibly beneficial to landing work experience and internships. Making connections is key in any industry, as this is how you get recommended for internships and invited to networking events. Getting into contact with industry professionals isn’t limited to connecting on LinkedIn, think outside the box. Twitter is probably your best bet, as it enables you to connect with them on a more personal level and for them to see your personality, too.
Retweet both their funny and opinionated tweets, respond to their running commentary on the world and then drop them a DM asking to pick their brains about their industry over a quick coffee. Most of the time you’ll get a positive response because you’ve shown an interest in them as a person first, rather than just as someone who can get you ‘in’.
Don’t rely on your CV – focus on your individuality
‘Standing out’ isn’t just about making the content on your CV different from all the others, but being unique as an individual too. Your CV doesn’t have to just be about your education and work experience, not to mention all of your lies under the ‘Interests’ section (we’ve all done it, but are you really on the volleyball team at Uni or do you just sesh with them?).
Potential employers want to know why you’re different from every other student on your course at your Uni, so show them. Think about what drives you towards that industry, but avoid rambling with words like ‘inspired’ and ‘passionate’. Focus on what transferable skills you’ve gained from being on the volleyball/chess/ultimate frisbee team – keeping everyone relatively on track during the weekly sesh can go on your CV as ‘having exceptional leadership and organisational skills’.
Doing something bold and creative is ultimately the best way to be remembered by employers. Although Matt Jordan, Head of Talent Acquisition at Ogilvy, told us he once walked out of the office building to see a giant poster of his face taped to the pavement with ‘WANTED: FOR INTERVIEW’ stamped across it.
He said he felt too scared to contact the attached email address and nearly ran away screaming, so there is a limit as to what’s considered creative and what’s just downright scary.
Don’t feel disheartened if you fail at one application as there are hundreds of other opportunities out there. Hardly anybody succeeds at their first attempt. Even when you do manage to land an internship, it might not go the way you thought…
Hannah Davies, Performance Manager in Digital Operation for MEC, advised that finding your niche takes time, and trial and error. If after all this you finally secure what you thought would be the internship of your dreams only for it to be a complete flop, don’t worry. At least you’ve found out before signing a contract, and you can focus on finding jobs in what you really want to do. Plus, it still goes on your CV, and the networking you’ll have done might just get you to where you want to be.