Confessions of an intern

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.

Read part one and part two.

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Facing Your Fears

By Stephanie Hume.

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To lead a rich and fulfilling life we all must push the boundaries on our comfort zone. However, to lead a life that pushes our level of comfort is no easy feat. At times it’s difficult to push yourself to do things you’ve never done before. Why? It makes us feel uncomfortable and vulnerable. However, in my experience, you stand to grow the most with experiences that push your limit and prove you’re far more capable than you give yourself credit for.

As an intern, and in your career, there will be countless moments where you’ll have to face a fear to achieve a goal. For myself, that has been enrolling in a public speaking club to overcome my fear of public speaking so I can be a better communicator. For others, it could be throwing yourself into a new work experience you know nothing about, learning a new skill or even simply attending a networking event alone to expand your professional contacts.

 

Below we’ve outlined what strategies can be used to face your fears:

–  Keep a glass jar of experiences you’ve courageously overcome and that you are proud of. This way you have easy access to past personal wins that will help you to boost your confidence when tackling new challenges.

–  Remembering that anxiety is natural and normal to all living beings. You don’t have to like it, however, no one has died from feeling uncomfortable.

–  Take a piece of paper and write down what your fears are. When they are written down it removes the fear from inside you and in my experience proves to me why I’m feeling anxious and that it’s okay to feel the way I do.

–  Understand that failure is apart of learning. When we were younger and we learned to ride a bike did the amount of times we fell off affect our desire to ride? I highly doubt it. We wanted that experience so bad we were willing to fail 1000 times to get there. Remember this next time you fail on the journey to your goal.

–  Acknowledge the goal or fear you need to overcome and the steps you need to take to achieve it. I sometimes make the mistake of seeing the goal I want to achieve and forget it is made up of components. By breaking the goal down into achievable steps, I’m more able to reach it and less likely to let fear get in my way.

– Write down your core values to lead your life. By taking the time to do this, life decisions are not ruled by fear or anxiety. If something like taking a new work opportunity is apart of your values, anxiety isn’t able to make a winning case to change your decision.

– Take up the challenge. The biggest waster of time in achieving goals is worrying, stalling due to anxiety and getting caught in the, ‘what if this happened…’ cycle. Courage breeds courage, so the more you say yes to things and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, the more opportunities you’ll take up.

–  Finally, you have to remember everyone experiences bursts of anxiety and fear in going after their dreams.  It makes it much more bearable when you realise fear is all apart of the pursuit of a career we want to have.

 

What other strategies would you add to the list?

Wishing you all the best in overcoming fears in your own life.


Where are they now? Kahla Spooner

When we first met Kahla Spooner she was a “self confessed coffee addict, fitness freak and loves a spontaneous adventure.” Kahla had completed several PR internships across a variety of organisations. Two years on, Kahla tells us in her own words, about her journey finding a job and the pathway she chose that lead her to landing her current job as Community & Social Media Coordinator at Fernwood Fitness
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Where are they now? By Kahla Spooner

It seems like a lifetime ago when I was last interviewed for MIL but what a journey the past two years have been! Unlike most interns, I didn’t transition from University to the industry immediately; instead I have worked my way up the corporate ladder. After graduating and completing my internship with Milk PR in 2011, I found it extremely challenging breaking into Communications/PR world – even with the amount of practical work experience I had behind me, instead I opted for an alternative route.

With a passion in health and fitness I applied for a basic sales role at my local Fernwood club and within a few weeks the National Sales Manager (at the time) got a hold of my resume and called me in for an interview. During the interview stage she told me that I was over qualified for the role and promptly created a new role for me. She took me under her wing and two-weeks later I started working full-time as a National Sales Trainer with Fernwood.

With a strong desire to grow with the business and learn as much as I could, I remained committed to my role embracing and learning anything and everything that would assist with my professional development. I was fortunate to work throughout VIC, NSW and SA undertaking sales training with teams from all departments. Within a few short months my role advanced, moving into management followed by operations training and club development.

When I was working in clubs, much of my focus was based on local area marketing, cross promotion opportunities, sales training, implementation of policies and procedures, networking and brand management, all which I found to be extremely beneficial enabling my communications and PR skills to shine. The growth over this short period allowed me to learn a lot about my own capabilities and the experience truly shaped me for the better; expanding my skills and qualifications further than I would have ever imagined.

After almost two years working for Fernwood, a career opportunity arose in the Marketing department in our National Support Office. Wanting to always revert back to my communication roots, this deemed a fantastic opportunity to utalise my extensive knowledge of the business and apply for a role that nestled perfectly with my qualifications. After a three-stage interview process, I was successful and am now currently working as the Community & Social Media Coordinator for Fernwood Fitness (so yes, I actually work on Facebook and Twitter every day).

Sounds like a pretty sweet gig, right? Well it is and I honestly I can’t complain, Fernwood is a great company to work for, but managing social media platforms can actually be more challenging than many people think. My day-to-day tasks involve managing our main Facebook pages, overseeing and moderating our other club pages, managing posts for our Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest feeds, content creating, community engagement through our internal forums and social media sites, utilising analytics and insights to measure growth and performance, media monitoring, managing online campaigns and competitions, providing excellent customer service and staying abreast of new trends. Working in our head office also means I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of projects in other departments like working on-site for video and photo shoots, which is always so fun!

My advice to others taking a similar road to me is to always remember the path that you’re on. Taking an alternative route can back-fire as many people can get caught up in the financial gain of a job opportunity, get complacent and lose sight of where they started in the first place. For me, I always knew the direction I needed to go, so while I may have taken a couple of turns along the way, I ended up exactly where I wanted to be. For now this is a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow from great mentors and industry professionals and I’m looking forward to all the amazing possibilities to come.

You can follow Kahla on Twitter and read her internship post here.


Internship Alert: Communicado

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 7.17.52 PMCommunicado are looking for a PR student who has a strong interest in social media to intern at their Prahran offices in Melbourne.

Recently featured PR pro and Communicado Account Executive, Stephanie Bateman, has offered this exclusive internship to My Interning Life readers.

Intern brief:
– 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
Email: Stephanie@communicado.com.au
Website: http://www.communicado.com.au


My Interning Life: No longer the intern

Hi everyone,

aubrey gradJust 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.

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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.

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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.

If you’d like to share your intern journey please give us a shoutout on Twitter or Facebook


The importance of cultivating a supportive peer network

By Stephanie Hume.

The life of an intern involves a journey of highs and at times many lows. At some stage you will feel lost, feel like you have a lack of direction, and go through periods of doubting yourself and your career path. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative to have a positive and supportive network to help you navigate through the difficult times. a

As an intern, I personally have required the support of friends and family to help me with putting together applications, prepping for interviews, overcoming anxiety in new work environments, dealing with rejection, and even harder decisions, like letting go of an opportunity for another one. As strong as I know we all are, a supportive network makes us even stronger.

However, what makes us stronger again is a positive, helpful and generous peer network. There have been times when my peers, who are pursuing the same or related careers as me, have been given opportunities when I have not. It’s natural to be envious. However, I learnt early on in my intern journey to remain supportive and celebrate their wins as much as my own. Through this commitment I have developed stronger and more beneficial connections with friends and new ones. I have a tight group of friends that make me an even stronger individual, that are genuinely happy for me and have my back at any moment. The world of PR, journalism, media, advertising and marketing are very competitive, however, I believe this is exactly the reason to band together as a team and help each other out.

Below are some tips to cultivate your own garden of nurture and support:

DO

–       Let your friend or contact know of an opportunity you saw that they might be interested in applying for.

–       Cultivate some peer group love by making a habit of helping where you can and championing your friends.

–       Be genuine in congratulating them and celebrate with them in their successes.

–      Hold their hand or wipe away their tears when they are feeling down about how their journey is going.

–      Be honest with your peers about when you are applying for an opportunity you think they may have or had in the past. The sooner the better, rather than when you’ve already started. They’ll appreciate your honesty and it will strengthen the bond of your team.

–       Support others in their career navigation. Our journey is cyclical, some days we win some days we lose.

–       Be gracious in your own wins, but don’t feel you have to hide your happiness or celebration of a new opportunity. If you can’t celebrate happiness with friends where can you?

–      Offer to proofread job applications, cv’s or cover letters and help with mock interviews. It not only helps out your friend, but also you get the chance to see how other people approach applying for a job.

DON’T

–       Continue to interact with people that cannot be happy for you or who try to bring you down. They honestly are not worth the drama or energy.

–       Make snide remarks or gossip about how your friend doesn’t deserve the opportunity that you didn’t get. You’re losing out on more than an internship or job, you’re potentially losing a friend who has loved and supported you.

–       Let defeat get you down, keep on applying and getting in touch with places you want to intern at and one day soon you’ll have your own chance to celebrate.

What other tips would you add that have worked in the past for you?

All the best in your own journey fellow interns! x