I know it’s been a while – I’m currently in the process of updating My Interning Life and making it a fully fledged website.
This blog post originally appeared on Bowling Maiden’s Over a blog dedicated to Australian women working in sport edited by Michelle Cooling.
Hockey Victoria hosted the Under 13 Boys National Championship and the Men’s Australian Hockey League at the State Netball Hockey Centre (SNHC) in Melbourne from September 27 until October 5.
I tried to seek out media opportunities for the competition and the Victorian Vikings (AHL), however, ran into a lot of roadblocks. The main and most obvious one was the fact the competition ran at a similar time frame to the AFL Finals series. Of course, in Melbourne, AFL is always priority number one. I received many emails from media outlets that read, ‘Thank you but we’re just in AFL mode right now.’ It frustrated me that I couldn’t get any additional major media coverage and focused my attention on more local publications such as Leader Newspapers, which worked quite well.
I’ve been employed at Hockey Victoria since July and it’s been a really different experience. I haven’t worked at state level before after having experiences working at Melbourne Storm (intern), Netball Australia (maternity contract) and very briefly at the Essendon Football Club (intern).
The amount of hockey events in our calendar is insane. Hockey doesn’t appear to have an ‘off season.’ Or at least nobody told hockey that it needs a break.
I’d survived junior and senior winter grand finals but I knew that the joint tournaments of the U13s and AHL would be a whole other beast. As well as the events we hosted there were eight other national events on at the same time around Australia. I knew that I’d really have to be on top of everything, not just the events we were hosting.
During the tournament I was mainly stationed in the media box overlooking one of our pitches at the SNHC with my intern, Sean Munaweera. I would cover the U13s and Sean would do the AHL.
Our days went relatively quickly as everything was broken up into 30 to 35 minute halves. I’d arrive half an hour before the first U13 game at 8.30am then the match would start at 9am, half-time at 9.35am, full-time at 10.20am and then to go downstairs and collect the match report and so on.
The AHL would be timed to start half an hour after the U13s matches got underway. I’d then write my U13 match reports and send the release to hockey communications and events contacts. I was also updating Hockey Victoria’s social media platforms and website throughout the day with results and photos.
The AHL was a bit different as we only had an hour after the conclusion of the last match to file and send the media release out. As the Victorian Vikings (AHL) usually played the last match of the day, Sean and I would head down to the bench at half-time and report from there.
I’d venture around the pitch taking photos, instagraming videos and updating Twitter. Sean would also conduct post match interviews with some of our Vikings players. We’d then head back into the office and send out the media release, update the website and social media.
I’d get home at about 8pm and would be in bed by about 9.30pm ready for the next day’s competition. I know I sound like a grandma but if I didn’t put myself to bed I would’ve passed out on the couch from being so tired.
During the eight days of competition (two rest days), I worked out that I had watched roughly 48 hockey matches. That’s at least double the amount of AFL matches that I’ve ever been to. It’s fair to say, I’m all hockey-ed-out.
But it doesn’t actually stop there as my CEO signed me up for the International Super Series Hockey 9s in Perth at the beginning of my employment. I leave for Perth next Tuesday and will spend six days over there. I’m looking forward to having a bit of a break even though I’ll be working as media centre manager for the event.
I’ll be working with Hockey Australia staff as well as other communications and events employees from other hockey states. It’ll be a good experience to work with new people and at an international event. I’m extremely lucky to have been put up for it.
As I mentioned before, hockey is a different beast compared to most sports in Australia. I think I actually feel more for our athletes purely because of their intense schedule. They will have been involved with winter competitions, AHL and the upcoming International Super Series, Oceania Cup, World League and Junior World Cup – all before December 15.
When I began working at Hockey Victoria in July, my CEO told me how he encourages his employees to get out the office and meet with contacts.
So that is exactly what I’ve been doing for the past month or so. I’ve been around town meeting with exisiting and new contacts within the media industry, picking their brain about their job and getting their advice. This has been overall a good and a bad thing. It’s been great getting out of the office and meeting with like minded people, but it’s been overwhelming when I think about how these contacts have a team and resources behind them.
At Hockey Victoria there is no team. I am the team. ‘There is no I in team’ but in this case…I am the team.
Which brings me to a coffee catch-up that I had with a new media industry contact. It was a meeting that made me reflect on several things on the drive back to work, one was how I really needed to stop doubting myself and to give everything I had to this job. Another crucial point that was brought up in our conversation made me reflect on what the classroom doesn’t teach you.
University doesn’t teach you how to have a thick skin, how to handle an angry client or stakeholder, how to react when a sports person tells you to f*** off in the changerooms, or what to say to a family who are grieving the loss of a loved one during a death knock.
How do you learn the most crucial parts of your career and your day-to-day tasks? Industry experience teaches you these things. Internships get you out of the classroom and into the real world.
I’d love to know what you think are the top five things that you cannot be taught at university.
Alison is studying a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communication) at Deakin University. Alison tweeted me her top five things that she believes cannot be taught in a university classrom, and I agree wholeheartedly with this list.
1. What happens when the plan/theory you’ve learned just doesn’t work due to something unplanned.
2. How simple day-to-day operations go.
3. Working as part of a team is NOT the same as a group assignment.
4. Dealing with difficult or aloof clients/suppliers/journalists. People management and negotiating skills.
5. Media follow up, making contact with journalists, cold calling and phone manner.
What do you think? Do you agree with Alison’s top five things you cannot be taught at university?
If you’ve got a different top five to Alison, please comment below, Tweet MIL or me and/or tell us on Facebook. I’d love to hear the things that you learnt while interning that you simply cannot learn at university.
Check out the August issue of Girlfriend magazine to read the article, ‘Confessions of an intern’ which includes the interview Claire Starkey conducted with me.
Recently featured PR pro and Communicado Account Executive, Stephanie Bateman, has offered this exclusive internship to My Interning Life readers.
– PR student who also has an interest in social media.
– The work is predominantly PR based, but the agency is moving more and more into the digital space so it’s important that the applicant is keen to get exposure in that area.
– The internship will likely be one day a week, potentially more dependent on what is happening in the office.
This is your chance to learn from one of the professionals of the PR industry and get your foot in the door. Please attach a cover letter and copy of your resume in your application to Stephanie. If you need some tips with writing a cover letter please refer to our FAQs page.
Contact: Stephanie Bateman
Stephanie Bateman is an account executive at Communicado in Melbourne working across a range of clients in the entertainment, tech and lifestyle space, in traditional PR as well as digital content and community management. She loves the dynamic nature of life in an agency, as well as the group of thoroughly talented people she goes to work with every day.
Stephanie graduated Victoria University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations), and spent the last 18 months of her studies interning in the corporate affairs department at Citipower & Powercor as a media relations assistant, and considers this the most valuable experience she had at university. Stephanie was inspired to get chase a career in PR by her god father who worked in the industry, and Stephen Fry’s character in ‘Absolute Power’.
It’s no secret that PR is a tough industry to crack, but it’s far from impossible. The questions I’m most frequently asked by students and recent graduates always relates to what it’s like once you’ve landed that first job. These are my top five tips on how to navigate the experience when you’re starting out.
1. Put your hand up
Regardless of whether you’re working in an agency or in house, no doubt you’re part of an organisation that has plenty going on. So when the opportunity to be involved in a new project or a new client looks like it might be on the table – go for it. It’s easy to second guess yourself and say ‘I’m not ready for that’ or ‘that isn’t in my skill set’. But you know what? You’ll probably never feel ‘ready’ and it will never be in your skill set unless you take the opportunity to learn. The best learning experience is in the doing, not the watching.
2. Expect to pay your dues (probably forever)
Generally speaking, coffee making and photocopying ends when your internship does, but you will still spend a fair amount of time building media lists, filing, researching, and reporting. In PR (especially in the world of agency) you will find a refreshing quality – no one is really ever ‘above’ a task. Whether you’re an Account Director with ten years under your belt, or 2 weeks into your career, if it has to be done, do it. In my short career I’ve driven a truck, bought jeans and hair product for a celebrity, and delivered paint and furniture to photo shoots. Did I ever think that would be in my job description? No. But I quickly learned my job description reads: whatever it takes.
3. Ask for advice
Your first job is no less of a learning experience than your time at university was, and your colleagues can be amazing teachers. Remember that everyone you work for was once sitting where you are, and they almost always want to help you. Ask to have your writing critiqued; ask if you can run your pitch by them before you send it to a journalist (or your boss).
4. Take criticism
But don’t take it personally. Because you’re going to get it whether you want it or not, so you may as well take it with the best attitude you can. It can be tough not to take it to heart, and we all do it sometimes, but once you recognise that it will serve to make you a better writer, speaker, or improve your pitches you’ll start asking for it.
5. Be Yourself
PR people are a certain type. We like to talk, we’re not shy, and we’re often described as ‘big personalities’. There’s a reason you chose this career. It’s probably because you couldn’t not choose it. Maybe it chose you. Being a wallflower will get you exactly nowhere in this industry. You’ll be surprised how what you’re passionate about personally can help you out in your career. Never underestimate the value of knowing stuff that no one else knows. You never know when some random geeky knowledge you’re hanging onto could be the missing part of a new business pitch.
PR is a demanding and sometimes all-consuming job. It’s a job you do for love not money (sorry). But it is job that will reward your competitive streak, push you to constantly improve and give you experiences you can’t have doing anything else. And why would you want to?
You can follow Stephanie on Twitter.
Just a small update on what I’ve been doing over the past couple of months. I graduated with a Bachelor of Media Studies (Journalism) in May and have recently begun a new adventure at yet another Aussie sport organisation.
In March I began working as communications coordinator at Netball Australia covering a maternity vacancy. It’s been a different transition from intern to full time employee, however I’ve immensely enjoyed my time there. Sadly my contract ended at Netball Australia at the end of June.
When I reflect on the projects I’ve worked on over the past few months, I’m really proud of how I’ve helped rejuvinate Netball Australia and Australian Diamonds various social media platforms. It has been tough at times creating content during the ‘off season’ (the Diamonds only go on tour for about one month of the year) but I’ve worked with what I was given and my job was made easier as the ANZ Championship was in full swing during my contract.
I always was aware of my ‘deadline’ during my time at Netball Australia was coming to a close as each week passed by, however a spanner was thrown into the works about six weeks before my contract was up. The person whom I was replacing had announced their resignation and was moving on. This meant their job as digital communications manager was now up for grabs.
But life as always has other plans.
My ex-university lecturer from my sport journalism class gave me a call one day asking about my job at Netball Australia and how I was going. I told him about my time there and how there was now a vacancy but they were looking for someone with more experience. My lecturer said, ‘well, let’s get you out of there’ and proceeded to tell me about an opportunity at Hockey Victoria. My lecturer told me how he was only putting me up for this job as communcations coordinator because I had always stayed on line with where I wanted to go in my career.
To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. I knew that a lot of my classmates were relying on this particular lecturer to get them jobs in the sports industry because of their connections. I’m so greatful that I was the sole person who was recommended for the job.
After a few emails with the CEO from Hockey Victoria, Ben Hartung, I ended up being interviewed by him and two other employees. Or should I say ‘chat’ as Ben wanted it to be more of a chat about me and my experiences to see if I was the right person for the job.
I was offered the job a few days later and Ben asked me to discuss it with my boss, Karen Phelan, as I was still applying for the job at Netball Australia. My chat with my Karen was one that helped me decided where I would go. Karen was completely honest with me and said the person who had resigned was having second thoughts and she had given them until Friday to change their mind. I only had until Wednesday to tell Hockey Victoria my decision but I knew hockey was the best position for me.
So it is with much delight (and some nerves) that I will be commencing a new role as communications coordinator at Hockey Victoria in July.
I’ll also be making some steps towards changing My Interning Life into a fully fledged website with the help of Mildred & Duck.