Three tips for starting a career from anywhere
University of Sydney student Jack Shaw recently completed his internship with us remotely. After successfully navigating a new world of work and video WIPs and brainstorms, he shares his advice for anyone about to do the same.
Interning is something many students fear; working while juggling assignments and casual jobs, meeting new people, and engaging with unfamiliar organisations is challenging at the best of times. Like many others, I was always keen to land my dream placement and build the bridge between university and the real world. But when COVID-19 struck, and everything changed overnight, I had to take a step back, let the shock subside and revaluate so I could best prepare myself for work in an ever-changing world.
With the discussion at university shifting from physical to virtual placements, I must admit I was very apprehensive about undertaking a placement during this time. However, as everything moved online, I became aware that this was the new normal and there was no escaping the work from home environment. So instead of fearing the inevitable, I embraced the digital.
Of course, this was easier said than done. I feared the interpersonal connections, networking opportunities and general assistance would disappear, with it being even easier to forget about “the intern”.
With remote work and remote learning likely to continue in some form for the foreseeable future, students and companies alike should realise there is no reason why graduates can’t get the same value out of an internship while working from home. So, for all the current students embarking on the experience, here are three tips for making it a success after my time at Weber Shandwick:
- Raise your hand
Just like any internship, getting heard quickly and early can make all the difference when it comes to the experience and opportunities you receive. That’s a challenge when everyone is working from home, but team WIPs, brainstorms and other video calls with your team are your chance to shine, so don’t be afraid to speak up and share your opinion!
The team at Weber created a daily schedule for me not only to ensure I gained experience across all workstreams, but that there was ample time for video briefings and the chance to ask questions. There were regular moments for communication, where I could update on the tasks I’d completed and ask what else I could help with. So turn on your cameras, mics and minds to ensure you are always visible!
- Take advantage of your technology toolbox
With today’s video conferencing and collaboration tools, it has never been easier to slide into the DMs of your colleagues. The intimidation factor of having to ask for help face to face is gone. You should make the most of video conferencing, accept calendar invites and schedule mentoring sessions. With everyone being online your colleagues are more accessible than ever, are receptive to helping you work from home but also crave time to spill the tea just as much as you, so use the tools to connect.
- Stop by the virtual water cooler
The chance to network should also never be forgotten. Just because you are online does not mean the opportunity has been lost. At Weber, there were a range of ways to come together with the team socially – whether to celebrate the week’s achievements at the all agency ‘Victory Lap’, connect with colleagues about their ‘Hour of Power’ curated music playlists, or join in the virtual ‘Weber Water Cooler’ conversation about everything from noteworthy news of the day to the office Bachelor Sweeps.
I found that connecting socially not only enhanced my enjoyment of the experience overall, but that chats about professional openings, industry change and career advice naturally followed. And of course, LinkedIn remains a great way to connect and keep connected to those you work with for the long term.
Overall, my placement at Weber Shandwick reiterated that the future is digital. Trying to escape it will only waste time, limit professional development and create missed opportunities. Take the time to build the bridge between the classroom and the workplace, regardless of whether it is virtual, as it will lay the foundations for your future career and equip you with a unique skillset. Yes, like anything new, it can be daunting, however, by rising to the challenge there is a completely new world of work that awaits you.
To inquire about an internship at Weber Shandwick Australia, get in touch with Clare Davies Clare.Davies@webershandwick.com