We all have our favourite pastimes: Basketball. Playing guitar. Perfecting the wing of that bluebird you keep trying to draw.
Internship hunting is definitely not on that list.
However, for Gina Tse, a recent Popular Culture graduate from Brock University’s Co-op program, it was necessary. After having a hard time finding an internship in Ontario on the school job board since very few of the jobs posted were relevant to her area of study, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Now she finds herself happily employed in a full-time position with the same company – a small music label called Outside Music.
Gina starts right at square one and takes us through the journey of how she turned her interests into her career:
Utilize your resources
“I searched on the Internet for postings in areas which interested me, such as film, television and music publishing,” Gina says, “but I also read a lot of articles about those industries. I eventually found out about Outside Music in an article I was reading about internships and the music industry.”
Put your game face on
Being the newbie is always challenging – especially as an intern where your role isn’t quite as clear-cut. Getting to know how the company functions is essential to your success as an intern. “Everyone’s job is intertwined and understanding each other’s roles in the company helps to conquer those challenges,” Gina says.
Another barrier she remembers was establishing that initial trust with both managers and fellow employees. “They may not know what you’re capable of, but by working hard, asking questions and asking for more responsibilities you will create a better relationship.”
Recognize the value of being an intern
Internships are unique opportunities to try something out without committing to the idea for a long period of time. Make the most of this situation! “This is your chance to figure out what you’re good at and what you eventually want to do,” Gina says. “Be flexible, be curious and try new things.”
Keeping in touch = keeping your job
After initially interning for four months and then returning for another eight months in order to finish up her co-op terms, Gina kept in contact with her co-workers after returning to school. She sent updates on what she was up to and, a couple months before graduation, she let them know she was looking for a full-time job. A position was immediately offered to her.
Her passion for music and appreciation for the people she had worked with at Outside Music during this Ontario internship made her want to continue with the company.
Be aware of the internship-to-job transition
Gina’s internship allowed her to work in almost every department and sort of “test the waters” under the close supervision of her manager. Returning as a full time employee proved to be very different. “I was handed more responsibilities and was trusted with more decision making projects,” she says. “The job is always changing due to the nature of the industry, so duties change with those times as well. You need to be able to adapt.”
As an employee, Gina recognizes that the challenges she faces are different than those faced as an intern. “It’s easy to get too comfortable and not challenge yourself,” she says. “Take on new projects or come up with ways to make certain tasks more efficient in order to stay motivated.”
It’s not just about making the most of an internship, but making the most of your job as well.