How to get a summer internship
Why you should be applying for internships this summer.
Kelly: Welcome to our last podcast for this spring session. Congratulations on surviving this entire year of twists and turns.
Rachel: We are ending this year’s podcast on the topic of how to get an internship during a pandemic.
Rachel: Internships are one of the most valuable things you could do as a university student. Why? Because it gives you hands on experience about things you have or are yet to learn at university. You may have seen this meme floating around: I can’t get a job because I don’t have enough experience yet I don’t have enough experience because I don’t have a job… Internships can basically help you break that cycle!! By getting an internship, you are getting industry experience which you can later on use on your resume to get a job! Tell me about your internship experience Kelly.
Kelly: Gladly! I have previously done an internship as a paralegal at a law firm during my 2nd year, I’m currently in my 3rd year. It gave me an insight onto what day-to-day tasks you need to complete such as summarising interviews with clients, sifting through and organising evidence, and attending client meetings. This experience has given me a small glimpse into how a law firm works with the legal system and how to navigate websites such as the Supreme Court Registrar and where to go to look for certain information relating to the case at hand. It was always extremely interesting reading previous cases which dealt with topics ranging from criminal cases of manslaughter to civil cases dealing with contracts. It really opened my eyes up to the different sectors of law that I could possibly work in. What about you Rachel?
Rachel: Well, as a science student, I always felt anxious whenever it came to internships. I would talk about it with my friends to get some of their advice but I’d always get anxious afterwards because they would go on and on and on about how competitive it is. You may have experienced something similar, and if you have then you know how fast you can go from being super keen to apply to just giving up. To overcome this challenge, I kind of had to tune out anything that made me question myself, including talking to my friends about upcoming opportunities. Instead I sought professional advice from careers advisors at UTS Careers; and not only did they help me find an internship at university, but they also helped me with the application process including reviewing my resume and CV. I was able to get the Orientation Logistics and Systems Intern position with UTS Careers, and although it’s not related to Science, it was a really enjoyable and it helped me develop my skills!
Kelly: If you have at least another year of uni left and do not have a lot of professional work experience, I suggest signing up for the Accomplish Award. I completed the program in 2019 and gained a lot of valuable skills from the workshops UTS Careers had organised. The workshops range from setting up a LinkedIn to How to negotiate your pay to Mock Assessment Centres. The program also encourages you to attend network events to put your skills to practical use. If you do complete the Accomplish Award, you will gain recognition when you graduate. Unfortunately, Accomplish Award 2020 closed its applications earlier this year. However, the Accomplish Award runs yearly so be sure to register for it in 2021. For more details, see the link in the resources. I suggest doing this program as early in your degree as possible to be able to apply the skills you have learnt from those workshops. Regardless of where you are in your degree, it is never too late to sign up.
Rachel: That’s true!! Aim to do something before you graduate; if it’s not getting an internship or job at least sign up to workshops and try to improve your interpersonal skills. You may think that a uni certificate might grant you a job but remember you have your graduation certificate but so do thousands of other students. You have to think of ways to make your application stand out from the crowd! My advice for you is to throw yourself out there! Apply for everything that interests you even if it’s not directly related to your degree. The experience will help you develop transferable skills; or the skills that could be transferred and used for a variety of roles!
Kelly: If you are worried about whether your resume is not looking up to standard, I suggest using the application Rate My Resume. As a UTS student, you have access to this program for FREE for a select number of times. It identifies areas of where you can improve such as formatting and grammar. Additionally, it provides you with suggestions on how to improve.
Rachel: One of the resources we’ve been mentioning are UTS Careers and CareerHub, this is because they are completely free to UTS students such as you and me. You can easily book an appointment with UTS Careers for a careers consultation, to review your resume and CV or have a practice interview just to name a few. All you have to do is follow the link below or search up UTS Careers and follow the ‘book an appointment link. To search for job opportunities on CareerHub, follow the link below and sign in using your UTS student account. You will be directed to the “search opportunities” tab. Have a play around and insert keywords and change the filters as you please. Happy internship searching!
Kelly: Now we will talk to Mariah about her experience as an intern at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Mariah: Hello, my name is Mariah Taleb, I am a third year biomedical engineering student at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Kelly: How did you go about finding your internship?
Mariah: Okay, so I'm currently doing a double degree with my biomedical engineering course. And second degree is a diploma in engineering practice, which does tell you to do two six months internships. I did find the internship myself during UTS careers and LinkedIn, do the LinkedIn platform.
Mariah: So I use UTS Careerhub, I apply for anything and everything that I like volunteering, non-volunteering, even if he doesn't say internship, I still apply for it. And I have a lot of followers on LinkedIn. I communicate with industry people. I think that’s so important as well. And also just going to networking events is really big. For UTS you should always go to networking events.
Kelly: Did you originally plan on taking on an internship prior to the COVID-19 pandemic or during the pandemic?
Mariah: Okay, so my internship got approved just before the COVID pandemic happened, but we weren't like I was told so many times, like I might have to work from home and I didn't like understand how that would happen during like a hospital. Like if I'm a biomedical engineer, I want to be working with medical devices, I don't want to take them, he can't take them home, and like, fix them and start. So going into like, going into the COVID pandemic, and going into my internship, I think it was kind of stressful for me as well, like always getting my temperature checked. At one stage, I was kicked out of the hospital because I was told to I was sent home, because my temperature was too high. And I didn't end up having COVID but I was really upset. I think it's just, you just have to be persistent. I have now six months’ worth of experience on my resume, during a COVID pandemic in a hospital. Like who would have that? And I'm only in third year as a biomedical engineering student. Like that's amazing.
Kelly: You have clearly learnt a lot during your internship at RPA! So what are your plans now? Are you going to go for another internship?
Mariah: So my for my future, I want to attend another internship. And because I applied for so many companies to do my first internship at they have approached me to do my second internship with them. So they've been like, Ah, you have approached for your first internship, do you want to do your second internship with us. And I think yeah, that's like so important. People don't forget you at all, if you keep emailing them, just bumping up the email or just like if you even just tell them just reminding you that I've sent you my resume through can you please have a look at it? If there's any jobs available, that suit me and my cover letter or my resume? And yeah, they'll just help you. But currently, I'm looking for my second internship. I think I've kind of found one, but I'm still looking. Like just to confirm things. But yeah, for now, I'm just studying and doing five subjects this semester.
Kelly: Thank you so much Mariah for sharing your amazing internship experience at RPA. Wish you the best of luck for your next role.
Rachel: Now let’s meet Connor.
Connor: I'm Connor, I'm a fourth year Mechatronics Engineering student, and 2020 new Colombo Plan scholar. I applied for an internship at Jenkins engineering defence systems, which is located in Matraville next to Botany Port in Sydney Airport. And I started the 27th of July and I finish the 27th of January.
Rachel: Do you think there is value in getting an internship?
Connor: Yeah, I definitely think there's a lot of value in completing an internship, I guess you get a taste of industry experience, which helps you choose future career paths. You get to know like the type of job you want, whether you want to be working at small or large business, you gain professional skills and make new connections from your work colleagues, which may or may not be useful in the future, for opening up opportunities for work. And you know, also you get to put it on your resume, which is great.
Rachel: Yeah definitely! What are some of the things you’ve done as part of your internship?
Connor: I've done a lot of work with MATLAB code and simulations. I've learned a lot about signal processing, which I hadn't really been exposed to so far my mechatronics degree and learning more about the defence industry, which is quite interesting to me.
Rachel: That sounds great! With something as rewarding as this, I imagine you must’ve experienced some hardships along the way. What would you say is the most challenging aspect in finding an internship and how did you overcome it?
Connor: probably the most challenging aspect was actually finding a position that related to my area of study and my interest. I spent a lot more time looking for internships than applying for them. I worked through CareerHub, and LinkedIn. I was checking CareerHub three times plus per week.
Rachel: I love using CareerHub too! Why did you use it particularly?
Connor: Well, I like CareerHub, because you can put a lot of filters on, the type of jobs you're looking for. And I think it's pretty up to date, like I have had success with CareerHub in the past.
Rachel: I’m pretty sure you’ve got everyone jumping on the CareerHub train now! So walk us a bit through the process: after you’ve looked through job opportunities, did you apply to every single position you found or did you only apply for the positions you thought you’re a good fit for?
Connor: I only apply for the positions that I thought I thought was a good fit for. I tried to think of each application as a learning experience. Like one of the positions I applied for, had an online automated video interview. And, you know, I hadn't used one of those before. So I don't think I performed that well on it. But you know, I it's a good experience to learn from it. Next time I have the chance to do that type of thing, I'll be much better at so yeah.
Rachel: Thank you very much for your time Connor, just to wrap up this interview, do you have any tips for the students tuned in to this podcast?
Connor: I guess my tips would be to check UTS Careers regularly and apply for internship internships, as soon as they're listed type of thing. I guess also, I personally found that if you only apply for the internships that you think you're a good fit for, and really passionate about that helps, you know, writing, working really hard on select few applications, rather than applying for lots and lots of jobs.
Kelly: Now, just conclude this podcast. Don’t compare yourself to a more experienced person. Think about all the skills that you have. This might be soft skills such as leadership, problem solving, and communication skills.
Rachel: Then ask yourself, what can you, as a new graduate or intern bring to that role. After all, there should be a reason as to why companies are seeking new graduates. It may be their strong desire to get into the workforce or their enthusiasm to get better in their field. Technical skills can be developed on the job but a good work ethic is based on how YOU work as an individual and a team member. If you don’t succeed in getting the job, be active in asking for feedback and learn from it.
Kelly: As we have mentioned, this episode wraps up our UTS Student Hacks podcast. We have covered a range of topics and noticed some recurring themes. Starting with self-care. Self-care became an extremely important part of being a student during this strange year. We discovered that by looking after ourselves, eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep, we make sure that uni doesn’t become a gruelling chore.
Rachel: Time management has also been important this year, we learnt that instead of leaving time management to the end of the semester you have to start early. By starting your semester with creating a timetable and organising your desk, you are putting yourself in the right mindset for studying.
Kelly: It’s ok to not be ok. Take it as a sign to step back and take a breather, not a weapon to beat yourself up for feeling bad. Give yourself a chance to mentally reset yourself because this year has been a rollercoaster of a ride.
Rachel: And have fun!! You’re at uni so try to make the most of it while you’re at it: join societies, go to events, volunteer at UTS or maybe even try to get a uni job. We have plenty of resources and services that are free to us, so don’t feel shy to reach out if you ever need some guidance along the way.
Kelly: This is our last podcast for this year. We hope your exam period went well and hope you enjoy the rest of 2020.
Kelly and Rachel: See ya!
About this episode
For the season finale of the UTS Student Hacks Podcast, Rachel and Kelly are discussing all things internships; why to get one, how to get one and which UTS Services can help. UTS students Mariah Taleb and Connor Broughton share their internship experiences and give their top tips for students looking to develop transferable skills, get workplace experience and make valuable industry connections through an internship.
Link to the Zoom recording of ‘How to get an internship during a pandemic’.
Written and Presented by Kelly Ding & Rachel Khalef
Produced and Edited by Liv Day
Music: Spark of Inspiration – https://www.silvermansound.com/
Special guest voices in this episode:
- Mariah Taleb
- Connor Broughton