by Stacey Kirk
Finding a new internship can be a stressful ordeal. Will anyone take me on? Will I get enough experience before graduation? What a lot of people don’t realise is that they can seek opportunities within their current employment. Most higher education students have held at least one part-time job while completing their studies, and employers are always looking for new ways to improve. By seeking industry experience through existing employment, you can avoid the stress of finding an external internship, provide valuable contributions to your employer and it may even lead to permanent opportunities.
These are my top tips for approaching your current workplace for industry experience:
- Excel at your current job
Make sure you are performing well in your current job before you ask for other opportunities. Whether you’re manning the checkout at Woolies or pouring deconstructed coffees in West End, you will need to be working at your best and demonstrating this to your employer. By putting in the extra bit of effort, you will show your employer that you are a valuable member of the organisation and they will be more inclined to invest in you.
- Always say YES!
Whether your manager asks you to come in early or train the newbie, always say YES! Your employer will appreciate your can-do attitude, and you will be considered a reliable member of the organisation. Even when your employer offers tasks that are only mildly related to your interests (handing out flyers on the street is technically marketing, right?), don’t turn down the opportunity.
- Create a new position
If you’re working for a small business, they may not have a department or position dedicated to Media and Communication activities. However, you may want to sell the idea of creating new job tasks or a position to provide you with industry experience. Is the business needing to reach out to new customers? Offer to set up and manage their Facebook page. Are the current business cards looking a little outdated? Ask to be the new Graphic Designer.
- Outline the benefits
Make sure you communicate the benefits your employer will receive as a result of providing you with this opportunity. Sell yourself and your abilities to perform, and explain the financial benefits of investing in marketing, media and communication activities.
Always assess the business’s current situation before asking about any opportunities. If your work is going through a significantly busy period or has had recent staff turnover, it might not be the most appropriate time to ask. It is best to use your own judgement.
- Follow up
So, you had a meeting about gaining additional experience, and you haven’t heard anything for a few weeks. It’s starting to feel like you’re waiting for an answer for as long as you’ve been waiting for the seventh season of Game of Thrones to be released. It’s time to follow up with your manager. Your manager might just need a gentle reminder that you are still looking for the opportunity.