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Looking beyond an Internship

Looking Beyond An Internship

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant At Outcome.Life, Discusses Long-Term Planning And How To Prepare For Your Post-Internship Career

What's next?

So you’re approaching the end of your studies and, having realized that you need to ‘boost’ your resume with some practical workplace experience, you have lined-up an internship to round-out your education. Fantastic! But have you thought about what will happen when the internship is finished?

Many soon-to-be graduates forget the importance of practical experience in kick-starting their career but simply completing an internship isn’t the solution to inexperience. As with all things in life, planning several steps ahead is key to unlocking the potential of your studies and starting your career on the best footing possible.

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail

The first step in your planning is to remember the purpose of doing an internship: an internship is a means to an end, and that end is your first career-relevant full-time job. Keeping your eyes on the prize will focus your thinking and help your thinking and help you maximize the opportunities that an internship will present, making sure that everything is geared towards moving into employment.

Now that your vision is firmly locked on target, here are some ways to squeeze your internship for every drop of advantage:

1. Up-skill into career-relevant skills. Every industry has a universal set of skills that you need, whether it be the ability to use specific software or understanding how to navigate a particular bureaucratic process. Demonstrating this knowledge is a critical way to get an advantage over people without practical experience. Once you’ve found these skills, your internship is the best time to practice them!

2. Learn your marketFind out who the trendsetters are, which companies specialize in what areas, in which fields there are (and are not) strong innovators, and other localized industry information. This kind of knowledge is something you will only pick-up by involving yourself with your host company and it will give you a fundamental  understanding of how your industry operated over the long term.

3. Find out where your industry is goingObviously, if you’re looking to your future career then you need to know what the future will look like! Understanding what’s changing and what might be around the corner will give you an advantage in your learning, guiding you to what skills to pick-up to be ready for ‘tomorrow’ and showing employers that you have a forward-thinking market. 

 

How to expand your network:

4. Form strong professional relationships with your workmates. The people you intern with will be the ones to start your network, so make sure those relationships are strong! The ability to get along with people is particular important in Australia where we value affability over skills. if you struggle with this skill, don’t worry: ask your supervisor for help and they’ll give you some specific tips as to how to get in your colleague’s good books.

5. Get to know other people in the industry. This is how you ensure your long-term success in your career. Jobs, advice, healthy debate, upcoming changes: all these and more are fed through people’s networks and it is critical that you get yourself out there and meet as many as new people as you can. (This point is so important that we have devoted an entire blog article to this alone, so go read that!)

If you follow-through on each of these five points, you will finish your internship with an ‘unteachable’ advantage over graduates without practical experience. Now it’s time to put your plan into action and start building your career.

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Having lunch with your Supervisor

Having lunch with your supervisor

Stephenie Pulis, COO At Outcome.Life, Discusses How To Leave A Lasting Impression On Your Supervisor

It's all about the team culture

A huge component of any Australian workplace is the building of a great team culture. This workplace culture is built by all staff, including interns.

Many businesses run team building events on a weekly or monthly basis in order to build their culture. These events can include dinners, lunches, or time away from the business that involves some sort of socializing. If this happens during your internship, you need to make sure you are engaged in these activities as much as possible.

The reason businesses focus on culture-building activities is because teams operate better when people work cohesively. Often it’s the personal aspects of each teammate’s lives that allow for bonding on  a personal level, in turn engaging the team in more productive work, better developed team ethics, and a better understanding of each team members’ motives and behavioral quirks that make us who we are.  

As an intern, you can use this to your advantage. Embedding yourself as an integral component of the workplace family will help you to build your professional network and, of course, stand out as  a perfect candidate for future positions within the organization.

Now that we can see how team culture is created, we have to think of the right way to go about embedding yourself in team culture. A great way is to ask your supervisor to go to lunch with you. 

At what point in your internship you should ask? 

This depends on the relationship you have already developed with your supervisor, however a suggested time in your internship might be towards the  halfway point. If you’ve been there a few weeks and you’re starting to understand a little more about the business and how your supervisor works, you should have a great starting point for conversation during the lunch.

How to request the lunch date? 

Asking your supervisor to go to lunch can be daunting but it doesn’t need to be. Given that most Australians are fairly laid back, a supervisor is often happy to have a casual lunch to get to know the people working around them.

When asking your supervisor to lunch you should do so in a way that is comfortable for you. Something simple such as “Hi I would like to take you for lunch one day this week  if you have some spare time?”

This allows them to have a choice yet sets a timeframe in which you would like to do it. 

Preparing yourself for lunch

The first thing you should do is prepare a few questions that will help you better get to know your supervisor. There is nothing worse than going to lunch with someone who sits there silently. Your questions should allow you to learn a little more about your supervisor as a person, both in and out of the workplace, whilst staying in line with your interests. This is so you can continue the conversation and add in a bit about your life (don’t forget that your supervisor also wants to get to know you!).

Some examples of good questions to ask are listed below. Asking them about what sports or sporting teams they go for is always a great conversation starter, especially if you also enjoy sport. Australians tend to love sport and this will potentially allow you to both share about something you’re passionate about.

You might have seen a really funny movie on the weekend, so asking if they have seen it and making a recommendation is another way you can get to learn more about their likes and dislikes on a personal level.

You may also like to learn more about the career of your supervisor, so asking “how did you get to your current position” will open up a conversation about their career path and will often lead you down an interesting road.

Of course you could always have some open questions in which you ask them for suggestions about what you could be doing right now to propel your career. 

One word answers

It is likely your supervisor is going to ask you questions in return (this is part of your goal!). When answering these questions, try not to answer with one-word answers as this tends to halt a conversation very quickly.

For example, if your supervisor asks you if you have an AFL team and you know nothing about it, you can respond by saying “I actually don’t know much about AFL but it is on my bucket list to go to a game during the next season. Is there a team I should be barracking for?”

Or you could say “I’m not the biggest fan of AFL. I grew up watching soccer and cricket and I am an avid supporter of the Liverpool Fotball Club. Do you watch any soccer?”

It really doesn’t matter what your answer is as long as it’s not ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ without any explanation!

Try not to pig out!
This goes without saying: don’t pig out or order super messy food! The same goes for the opposite: don’t ask someone to have lunch with you and just order one spring roll. It can be awkward for your lunch companion as well, so just make sure you behave the same way you might if you were having an important lunch with the Queen!

Express your gratitude

A personal lunch is a great time to thank your supervisor for the experience they have provided to you. Showing appreciation for not only the opportunity of the internship but the time they’re taking to spend with you during that lunch will always be well received. You never know: your supervisor might share some appreciation for you as an intern and the work you have done at the company. This is a great step towards employment!

The most important thing to remember when having lunch with your supervisor is to be yourself! Just like you want to get to know them, your supervisor wants to know the real you. If a supervisor feels they understand and trust a member of their team it helps to break down walls and delivers a much more authentic experience. Never forget that people do business with people and showing true colors helps to build trust and authenticity.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Expanding your Professional Network

Expanding your Professional Network

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant at Outcome.Life, discusses the importance of 'who you know' and how to grow your contacts list

Utilizing your network?
What does this even mean?

People often talk about ‘utilising your networks’, ‘expanding your connections’, and ‘it’s who you know not what you know’, but what does this actually mean? How do you professionally connect with people, and once you’ve done that how does it give you any advantage?

It is often said about Australia that the overwhelming amount of available jobs are never advertised but only passed through word-of-mouth. Australians are well-known for hiring people based upon who the person is behind the skillset, that is to say that your personality matters as much as (if not more than) the skills that you possess. Of course, the best way to show someone your personality is to talk to them: this is where your network comes into play!

How it works

By having a large and strong network of professionals, you increase your chances of knowing someone (or knowing someone who knows someone else) that is hiring. The advantage this gives you is that you can strike-up a conversation with the hiring person if you already know them, or have your mutual connection introduce you if you do not. This conversation is effectively an informal interview for the position and you may secure the job from this discussion without ever submitting an application.

Here’s an example of how this works.

At an industry networking event, you start a conversation with someone that works in your industry. You get along well and in the conversation you end up mentioning that you’re currently looking for a job. The next day you message this person and thank them for their chat, to which they message you back saying that a business they have worked with before is looking to hire someone with your skill set. This person kindly offers to take you out to coffee with their friend that still works there and voilà: you’ve got yourself an informal interview!

 

You may think this scenario sounds fanciful, so think of it this way: it is not
uncommon for advertised jobs to get more than one hundred times as many applications as there are vacancies. If this many people get rejected from applications, how does anyone get a job? Once you start talking to people in the industry, you will see just how many ‘applied’ for the roles they currently occupy. So now we know why it’s so important to expand your professional network, of course the next question is how to do it.

How to expand your network:

There are two main ways you can expand your network:

1. Have people you already know make introductions. If you already know some people in your industry, whether you’ve worked with them before or they’re a friend from university, ask them if they would mind introducing you to their colleagues. This is certainly the easiest way to start building network and is a great way of keeping touch with many people.

2. Go to networking events. And again, go to networking events! It is impossible to overstate how important this is for building and maintaining your professional network, to say nothing about the useful information formally discussed during the presentation at the event. People go to these events to build their own networks and employers attend to scout for new hires so you must, make sure you regularly attend such events and that you talk to new people every time. 

When it comes to it, building your professional network is no different to making new friends. There are many different tips and tricks, but at the end of the day the most important step to take is the first one: just get out there out there and start talking to people!

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Requesting A Feedback Session With Your Mentor​

Requesting A Feedback Session With Your Mentor

Joshua Tinner, Placement Consultant at Outcome.Life, discusses how to approach your internship supervisor to request valuable feedback on your performance

Asking Does No Harm

We all know that feedback from others is important. When other people see what we don’t, it helps us fix issues we weren’t aware of. It can also offer guidance on our path to self-improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in an internship, given that one of the reasons for being an intern is to get feedback from seasoned professionals.

Despite this, or because of it, feedback can be scary. Asking for feedback can feel like asking someone to tell you everything you’re doing wrong and pick up on all the mistakes that you make. This belief misses the fundamental truth of mentor-intern relations: mentors want to see you succeed!

Be Open To Feedback!

Feedback sessions are not about bringing you down but about giving you tools to succeed. You may feel like you’re doing too much administration and not enough fulfilling work. Maybe you feel like you haven’t received enough guidance on structuring your workday and a productive workload. Formal conversations can be useful in this. You can discuss what you have done, how well you’ve done it, and what you want to be doing. Feedback sessions are perfect opportunities to air any concerns you have about your role in a safe environment.

Also, let’s not forget that feedback sessions are also about positive feedback! These sessions are great platform to talk about your long-term goals. Ask your mentor for extra responsibilities in the areas you find most fulfilling. You never know what you could be doing unless you ask and there is no better time than during these meetings.

Work On It

We all know that feedback from others is important. Now that we’ve gone over why feedback sessions are important, here are some tips on how to approach asking for one:

1. Think about what you want to discuss. Don’t ask only “for a feedback session”, but be specific with some of the items you would like to discuss. This gives you a framework to structure the meeting and provides your mentor some time to pull together targeted feedback.

2. Be polite but confident. Being polite should go without saying (be polite to everyone!) but stress can make us all forget ourselves. Being confident when approaching your mentor shows that you are a professional. This will also set the tone for the meeting to focus on your professional development.

Preparation is a must

3. Allow time to prepare.
Even if you already know exactly what you want to bring up, you still need to give your mentor some time to prepare. They also need to gather their thoughts so that you can get the most beneficial feedback. Bonus points if you can get access to your mentor’s calendar. Approach them with the times they will be available!

4. Write down what you want to say.
Everything could be a clear in your head as you walk into the meeting but you never know what you might forget. Be organised!

5. Take notes.
The whole point of this session is to talk about you and your place in the business. If you’re not writing it down, you might forget some of what you discuss. It can also show your mentor that you aren’t invested in your self-improvement or aren’t paying attention.

There we go! You can now successfully combat your fears about receiving feedback. Book a time in advance with your mentor and write down all the thoughts you’ve got. Now you’re ready to be a professional and start taking long strides along your chosen path.

Joshua Tinner is part of the placement team at Outcome.Life. As part of this team, Joshua talks to new students and host companies every day about the importance of work-integrated learning. With several years’ experience in people-focussed industries, Josh is always up for a chat and his booming voice can often be heard echoing down Hardware Lane! Josh is a life-long student of the humanities and envisions a world where a balance exists between education making us well-rounded members of society whilst also practically preparing us for our working lives.

If you have any questions...

The Outcome.Life team are always here to answer any questions or help with any problems you might encounter during your internship.

You can contact us between 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday at:

Phone: 03 8899 7424

Email: hello@outcome.life

Or fill in the form below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.