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The ins and outs of interning

July 2019

Internships are an important opportunity for those at the start of their careers. Jemena has accommodated many interns over the years, the most recent being Madeleine Holland (or Maddy). Maddy is studying Professional Communications at  RMIT University in Melbourne, and is in her last year of her study. We asked Madeleine about her experience interning with Jemena’s Corporate Affairs team.

1. Why did you choose Jemena for your internship?
I opted for Jemena because it is a large-scale corporate – an environment in which I wanted to gain experience.

I was eager to work at Jemena because it gave me the opportunity to contribute to a team, learn on the job, and gain real-world experience, giving me an opportunity to exercise practical communications skills.

2. How has your internship been a positive experience?
My internship experience at Jemena far exceeded my expectations. It was clear from my first day that the team at Jemena were taking me and my internship seriously, and wanting me to have a positive experience. The work assigned to me aligned with my studies and my future career prospects, but didn’t overwhelm or pressure me. I was warmly welcomed into the Corporate Affairs team and my colleagues quickly quashed any concerns I had about starting at a new workplace.

I received clear direction and guidance, which gave me both a freedom and confidence to complete the tasks allotted to me. The tasks were relevant, interesting and engaging.

3. What have you done in your role?
During my time at Jemena I contributed to two main projects: the development of a project video and the launch of a new social media initiative. Each of these projects involved a number of communications challenges including developing key messages, copywriting for social media, writing a press release, creating visual communication materials, planning internal content and a PR strategy. These activities allowed me to develop my communications skills and gain experiences I would otherwise not have been able to.

4. What have been the best things about the experience?
The best thing about my internship was the exposure I had to a variety of valuable experiences. As well as being treated like a regular employee, I was given the opportunity to attend various off-site events such as a video production, a news interview, and a video shoot. These gave me first-hand experience in how media is planned, developed and used for organisational purposes – something I’m sure will come in handy in my future career.

5. What have been the most challenging things about the experience?
The most challenging thing about my internship was when I was given new tasks which I had little experience in. It meant I often had to produce multiple drafts or start over when I wasn’t satisfied with the end result. Although it was difficult at the time, I received helpful support from my manager and team members, and I came out the other end with a more well-rounded skill set and new learnings about creating communication outputs.

6. How will the internship help you in:
i) Your course:
The experience I gained through the internship will help me apply the practical knowledge and skills I have learned, to better understand course theories as well as improve the standard of my work. The work I have completed at Jemena has also helped consolidate many of the concepts I have already learnt throughout my course by putting them into practice.
ii) Your career:
With the internship experience under my belt, I now feel more prepared and equipped to enter the workforce. Not only have I acquired useful workplace skills, I have tangible evidence to show for it. This is a huge advantage going into my career, as experience is highly valued by employers in my professional field. The internship has made me more employable and more useful as a communications practitioner.
iii) Personally:
My experience interning at Jemena has boosted the confidence I have in my communications abilities. Getting feedback from people with extensive experience in the industry has been a great source of improvement and refinement for my communications skills. I have also learnt more about myself as a communicator – what I like, what I’m good at and what I would like to further improve. I will take this knowledge with me into future employment and study opportunities, and use it to continually progress my personal portfolio of workplace skills.

7. What advice would you share with others thinking about doing an internship?
To those considering undertaking an internship I would say ‘go for it’. It’s a great opportunity to develop your skills and learn some new ones. However, before you apply, make sure the organisation you’re wanting to intern at is ‘internship-friendly’. By this I mean a workplace, such as Jemena, that will provide you with an experience that enables you to grow as a professional, and not just assign you as the coffee-fetcher (it’s sad but some companies do this).

An internship is also a chance to get your foot in the door at a prospective employer. Do your research and you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget!

(inset: Madeleine with members of Jemena's Corporate Affairs team).