We are a new generation of talent. With accessible knowledge at our fingertips and enhanced quality of life, we have never felt more empowered. Quick-witted and confident, we have higher expectations when it comes to landing a dream job.
In a job market full of talented individuals left, right and center, it boils down to ‘what value I can bring to the table’ to set ourselves apart from equally skilful competitors.
For young talents about to enter the job market, industrial training or internship represent an opportunity to getting a foot in the door with a potential employer.
As is often the case with everything in life, we tend to see things in clarity in hindsight. What follows are some learning’s I would like to share with those of you about to dive head first into the labor market — on why you should value and take your internship seriously (more than just to meet the graduation requirement) and make the effort to get a clearer sight on having your career path mapped out.
While the industry you will soon embark on may differ from mine, the principles are essentially the same.
The media industry is often regarded as a glamorous career path. While it may be true to a certain extent, none of those who have made a name, got to where they are today without sweat and tears. A high achiever is not guaranteed to have more successes without being adaptive and having a growth mindset.
I landed my first two-month internship at Astro in late-2009. I was attached to the magazine desk and was tasked to assist five TV Producers with their respective shows. The hands-on experience was invaluable to me. It wasn’t long before I started seeing my name in the End Credits of talk shows and magazine programme that I have played a part in the production.
The rapid pace in the newsroom had me on my toes. I did not quite have a good grasp of what to expect from one week to the next. There were moments when I was overwhelmed and days that I dreaded.
Nearing the end of my second industrial training at Astro, I was offered a full-time position. Based on my work performance as an intern assistant producer, I had proven myself worthy as a new recruit. To be frank, at the point when the offer was made, I was not entirely sure if working in the TV and news media industry was my thing. I majored in media studies and marketing communications, it is through field experience that I picked up on the required knowledge about TV production.
Eventually I took the offer and within the first month on the job I was well on my way to kick start the longest-running English technology show in the market. I have since moved on to take up many more roles within the company, gaining new experiences and learning’s as I go.
In retrospect, what worked for me was that I held on to the following principles:
1. Take initiative and be ready to roll up your sleeves to assist in any way you can.
2. Stay focused and take one step at a time. Shortcuts are tempting as they seem to save us a lot of time. However, habitually be on the lookout for shortcuts make us lazy learners.
3. Be responsible and take responsibility when things go wrong. Inevitably, mistakes occur. What I learned is to own up to our mistakes and shift the focus on solving the problem in order to move things ahead.
- Say “Yes” to new challenges and always be ready to seek for and take advice from the experienced. There is always room for improvement. Having a growth mindset is crucial for long-term success. Take a second and ask yourself, when will you ever have the opportunity to work alongside industry veterans to learn and develop your skills?
5. Treat the internship like a real job and work as a team player. Take the job seriously if you want to be taken seriously by your manager.
6. Actively seek for updates relevant to your industry. Read up or listen to materials that are outside of comfort zone. In my case, I started to read up on technology, business and economy. You will never know when the knowledge will come in handy somewhere down the road.
With each passing day, it becomes more and more imperative to know how to set apart your value proposition to prospective employers. How else are you going to be noticed from the rest of the crowd in this ever-changing global workplace?
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