Classroom vs industry: top 5 things you cannot be taught at university

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.

internshipSo 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.

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My Interning Life: I intern, therefore I am?

It’s been five months since my last post and it’s because I’ve been dreading writing about my journey since finishing university.

superpitI finished my Bachelor’s degree at the end of October, hopped on a plane to Western Australia and my boyfriend came home (for good) after he resigned from his position at the Kalgoorlie Miner as a journalist.

We drove through the Australian desert from Kalgoorlie to Perth and had a short holiday exploring the western city.

Then it was back to reality.

The reality that I didn’t have an internship nor did I have a full time job lined up.

I thought, “Who am I if I’m not an intern?”

I’ve been an intern for almost two years now and it was daunting to think I actually had to go out in the world and find a full time job. I was scared, unsure and just hoped that my internship experiences on my resume would help me stand out from the graduate pack.

The moment I got back to Melbourne after flying back from Perth, I received an email from Adam Frier at the Melbourne Rebels. I had contacted Adam on my own accord asking if there were any positions at the Rebels and in Adam’s email he asked to meet with me the following morning for a ‘chat.’

I soon learnt that in this industry there is no such thing as a ‘chat.’

My chat with Adam at the Carlton FC cafe (Rebels share facitlities with Carlton) soon turned into a job interview and I realised that I could actually be working in a full time position sooner than I thought.

MIL trophy shotMelbourne Storm was also on hold as my former boss said he would let me know if any opportunties would arise in 2013 and luckily there was a new position at the club, a content producer role.

Unfortunately for me, that role was given to the other Storm intern, Jonathan. The role was more writing based and Jonathan was the match reporter during the 2012 season and, he was an aspiring sports journalist so it made sense to give the role to him.

I’m not going to lie, I was upset that I didn’t land the job after my internship with Storm. You can’t help but become attached to a club and a workplace when you  have been interning there for so long.

I then received an email from Adam that there had been some redundancies at the Rebels and somebody from the commercial team would be given the role I was interviewed for.

At this point I felt like a failure.

It was the new year and I had missed out on two jobs that I would’ve loved to take on. I didn’t get the fairytale like Luke or Ashleigh. In retrospect I was very naive to think that things would just work out, praying for serendipity.

I’d been in touch with another person from a sports club, who has acted as a mentor for me and he told me that I needed to “always have a Plan B.

Interning was my Plan B, however I didn’t yet have anything lined up but I decided that I would tackle the AFL. I set a goal for myself at the end of last year that I wanted to work for an AFL club within the next two years.

My mentor then sent me an email saying he had referred me on to Jonno Simpson at the AFL who was looking for a social media coordinator. Although my mentor didn’t promise me an interview, he told me to send Jonno my resume that afternoon.

I’ve had such highs and lows in the past five months and scoring an interview with the AFL has definitely been a highlight. I was unsuccessful with getting the job at the AFL and the role went to Dion.

So again I went back to my Plan B.

Before the Christmas break my mentor sent off my resume to Essendon FC. In January I sent an email to Essendon following up and one week later I was sitting in the boardroom at Windy Hill for a ‘chat.’

I met with two media employees and they asked me numerous questions about my experiences at Storm and my thoughts on social media. I met with them again a month later and the plan was for me to conduct Essendon’s social media for Family Day.

Aubrey EssendonLast Thursday I began as a media intern at Essendon FC doing some website content work for the media team. On Monday I conducted the social media for the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Essendon FC accounts for Family Day. I made a couple minor errors but overall I had a great time and it was fantastic to see so many of the red and black faithful support their club.

At this point I’m unsure of what 2013 is shaping up to be. On March 17th I would have been an intern for two years and I’ve now got to make the transition from intern to employee. I know that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been considered for a few sports jobs which is perhaps more than many. The hardest part about these past five months has been the rejection but I can honestly say that as one door closes, another door opens. The right job will turn up for me, I just have to be patient.

I’m sure I am not the only one who has gone through the job hunting process. For some of you it may have been the fairytale and for others it may still be a journey but at the end of the day this is what we signed on for. The media industry is a tough nut to crack but make sure you are always looking for the next opportunity and asking yourself what else you can do to further your skills.

Don’t sell yourself short, be proactive and believe in your knowledge and experiences because eventually it will land you your dream job and remember to always have a Plan B.

So I hope you all understand why I’ve stayed away from the blog for so long. I hope that I can continue to share my story with you all and I that help other interns along the way.

Post Edit

When I originally wrote this post last Tuesday, I didn’t have a job. I’ve just started my first week at Netball Australia as Communications Coordinator. I had previously applied for a video based job at Netball Australia/ANZ Championship and was unsuccessful but they kept my resume on file for future opportunities. Two days before I started at Essendon doing casual work, I received an email from Karen Phelan asking if I was interested in taking on a contract in a digital communications role. I met with Karen last Thursday and she immediately offered me the job.

I’m excited, nervous and over come with emotion.It’s going to be a busy and challenging few months ahead but I look forward to this next chapter in my life and the beginning of my career.

If you’re in Melbourne My Interning Life will be holding a catch-up event on Monday 15th of April at The Honey Bar from 6:30pm until 9pm. 

Interns and industry professionals are all welcome. Remi, Isobel and myself will all be attending and ready to answer any questions you may have. You can RSVP to the #MILevent on Eventbrite. Hope to see you there! 


My Summer Interning Life: Aubrey Hamlett

Hi everyone,

Thanks for being patient and still logging on to My Interning Life, liking the facebook page or following the official twitter page. I am beyond excited when I see how many views I am getting each day for this blog and I haven’t posted since december. This summer ‘break’ has gone so fast and now I have just one month left until I go back to university. Might I add, I am finally in my last year of university! Hurrah. Applause for me (I started in mid 2008).

I suppose then you are wondering why I took a ‘break’ from My Interning Life. Well it’s because my boss at Milk Kiddle Langmaid said she needed me to help her out during November. I had just handed in my last assignment for 2011 and was (wishfully) thinking of taking a break from interning and enjoying some time off.

Life had other plans. I started on November 7th. For the month of November I helped my boss out with the launch of the Beyond Hibiscus event. It then became December. “Oh and I need you for December.” It’s now the end of January and after another successful Milk PR event my boss has stopped saying ‘I need you for [insert month].’ It’s now a given that I’ll be there helping her out. And I’m happy to say, I’m loving it.

I’m not quite loving the lack of time (to do everything, and ‘me’ time) and sleep. Somehow I’ve ‘made it work.’ I’ve been juggling Interning, working casually in hospitality, catching up with friends, attempting to go to the gym and talking until the early hours of the morning on the phone with my long distance (journalist) boyfriend in Western Australia.

It sounds like a lot but everything has worked out for the better.

The most recent event that we did was the Australian Unity Great Australia Day Swim held at Middle Brighton Baths on Australia Day. All proceeds from the event go to charity and the major publicity drawcard was the Michael Klim Milk Celebrity Relay.

The relay proved to be a bit of a headache when trying to secure athletes and/or celebrities who were willing to swim. Being a Melbourne based event I wanted to target some AFL clubs and get them involved. I also contacted a Rugby Union team.

Most sports organisations responded with, sounds like a great event and would love to get involved but the club has training scheduled on that day. Lesson learned. Note to self: sporting organisations plan their training months in advance.

The athletes/celebs that did participate on the day were; Michael Klim, Sophie Edington, Matt Targett, Andrew Lauterstein, Ash Delaney, Toby Roberts (to name a few) and Brodie Young was our co-host for the day.

During the event we had the Bayside Leader, Channel 10 News, The Sunday Age ‘Gate Crasher’, Herald Sun and Herld Sun Confidential, Sunday Herald Sun ‘Snapparazzi’ with Luke Dennehy all show up. Australian Unity the major sponsors of the day also commissioned photographer and man about town, Anthony Licuria of APL Photography to take some snaps.

The day before the event we were on “The Project” (formerly the 7pm Project) and this was some PR that I set up myself which was satisfying to see it all happen. We also had in the lead up to the event Sophie Eddington in the ‘My Sunday’ collumn of Sunday Age M Magazine, Michael Klim feature in the Saturday Herald Sun Weekend mag and some more listings in the Bayside Leaders.

After months of work…it all comes down to this. All three major social pages and a whole lot of smiling Rotarians.

Well done Milk PR.