As a final year HR university student, I was given the opportunity to intern at one of Sydney’s boutique sales recruitment agencies, Pulse Recruitment. I’ve heard from various mentors that a summer internship is the best way to test drive a future profession, without having to make a serious commitment. Internships also give students the opportunity to practice their soft skills needed to land a full-time job upon graduating.

So here are the top 3 things I learned while undertaking my internship:

1 – New skills

Without a doubt, one of the most important things I took away from my internship is new found knowledge and understandings. I am now fully trained in a new software CRM program and have learned the importance of processes, administration, and customer service. I now have an in-depth understanding of business terminologies, which is definitely something you don’t get taught in university. I never knew what OTE, SaaS or BDM meant… Might even be helpful for universities to start offering Business Terminologies 101! Although my internship was just shy of two months, I’m certain is this was an opportunity that most students don’t always get. I look forward to using this work experience to differentiate my resume from my competition when applying for my first full-time job.

2 – Confidence in your career direction

I’ve always wanted to be a princess. It’s safe to say that I was disappointed when I realised that not only is that one of the toughest occupations to get into, but probably not going to be very likely (doesn’t mean I’ve stopped being hopeful!). So, not only did this internship let me test the waters of the business administration and human resources sector, I watched (and even helped) the recruiter’s source and place sales candidates in a variety of firms. Being able to see job descriptions and requirements will definitely help me in assessing post-graduation plans and help with my future job applications.

3 – Feedback

One of the best aspects of being the fresh intern is receiving advice and criticism from your colleagues. Everyone has their own way of doing things, and being given the opportunity to finish projects for different consultants and get their guidance on how you’ve done is an opportunity I won’t take for granted. Being new to the corporate world, I truly believe that any suggestions of improvement can only be beneficial for establishing your personal brand.

So, if you’re a university student who feels a bit ‘stuck’ on how to gain real-world experience, don’t shy away from doing an internship in the field of your degree. My experience was invaluable, and I’d highly recommend it to those considering it.

To close this off, I’d like to say one more thing – be eager. No one likes a lazy employee, especially a lazy intern. Being an enthusiastic, eager to learn intern will bring fresh energy into the office. I like to think of interns like a sponge. You’re there to soak up as much information as you can. Ask away, be curious, and work hard.

Until next time…