‘Should I intern or work full-time after graduating?’ This question may surface for some of us as we ponder over our next milestone in life.
It is normal for many of us to choose the latter as we begin to actively search for full-time employment nearing our graduation, in hopes to secure a good and stable job. Some of us may even hope for conversion from our internships into a permanent role at the current workplace.
However, not every one of us will choose the same path.
Here is Markairn Teo, who spent his time in university having fun instead of studying. (Well, he was not playing the entire time, but most of the time). However, during his graduating year, a much-needed wake-up call set him on the right path where he became more serious and focused on his future.
Upon graduating, Mark chose to walk the first route ¾ to intern instead of getting a job as he was not confident in his skills and self to land a full-time one.
Intrigued to find out more about his journey, we spoke to Mark to learn some tips and how he built his confidence to who he is today as a Brand Executive at Mandom Corporation.
Have a lifelong learning attitude.
We have always been encouraged to adopt a lifelong learning attitude and that is what Mark did. After his graduation, he continued to equip himself with new skills or knowledge so that he is constantly improving. Another reason was his fear that his skills & knowledge paled in comparison to other graduates.
So what did he do?
Well, he took it upon himself to complete numerous online courses (related to marketing) on various platforms such as LinkedIn. With his active attitude of ‘always learning’, Mark gained relevant knowledge, which was beneficial and useful to him, especially in interviews.
This might also be the ‘X factor’ that stood out on his resume among all the candidates and during the interviews. Mark shared he felt he had a competitive edge against others as he was able to impress the hiring managers with his proficiency in technical knowledge, the field, or the product.
Mark is not the only graduate who echoes the idea of lifelong learning. Here is another graduate who shared the same sentiments as Mark where we should constantly seek new skills to improve ourselves. This graduate also walked a similar path as Mark where he began with an internship after his graduation too!
Focus on pursuing real-life experience.
Going back to the main question at the top of this article, which route will you choose?
We believe that most of you will opt for the latter since it is the logical thing to do, and everyone else is doing it too. But not Mark.
After his graduation, he chose to intern instead of finding a full-time job as he was not confident of landing a job with his abilities and skills. When we asked him why he lacked the confidence, he directed it to his carefree attitude during his studies in university which resulted in average grades. As such, Mark decided that he would like to gather more real-life experience first before finding a job.
Instead of feeling insecure about his decision, Mark forged ahead and eventually bagged his first internship at Accenture as a Digital Marketing intern. He shared about his role and how much he has learnt from the internship too.
However, he mentioned this during the sharing: “Chase the good work, and then the good money will come.” Such an intriguing quote that left us wondering, Mark revealed that it was a piece of advice from his manager during his time at Accenture.
Despite interning in a reputable company, Mark was still unsure of his abilities and wanted to build a more stable ground. Holding the piece of advice close to him, he decided to pursue more real-life experience as he hopped onto his second internship which varied from his first in terms of the environment.
Was the process for his second internship easy? Go discover how the next internship shaped him further as an individual, as he persevered through the struggles of applying for the next internship. Like we know, the process of searching for an internship/job is indeed not an easy feat and we are glad that these graduates share with us these tips!
Be able to think on the spot.
You might be thinking for Mark to secure 2 internships despite the lack of experience from his university days, there must be something about him or something that he was doing right. So, we probed further to seek out the possible secret behind his success.
Turns out his ability to think on the spot coupled with his chatty self helped him during the interviews which portrayed him as a capable individual. (He definitely is!)
Although Mark’s university memories were mainly about him having fun without taking his studies seriously, he shared that he had participated in numerous campus activities. He then used this activities to relate them to the position that he had applied for and shared how the skills were applicable to the role too.
Mark shared with us he would always mention a learning point from his various activities and attempt to link them directly to the job scope role, forming a direct connection/application.
Additionally, he pitched himself well to the hiring managers which positioned him as the suitable candidate despite lacking the relevant job experience that other candidates may have.
We guess it is time for us to start being quick on our feet too! Maybe brain teasers can help us.
Prepare yourself well for the interview.
A tip that has been thoroughly emphasised by many, Mark also highlighted the importance of preparing for an interview. He added that sufficient preparation can make you feel more confident during the interview.
Do your homework before the interview so that you know what you are talking about.
Mark provided some tips on how you can prepare yourself for the interview. Start by reading up more on the company to understand their culture or the types of products/brands that they manage. You may also want to consider Glassdoor as another avenue for you to understand the working environment or the role that you are applying for.
When you stick to a routine of preparing for your interviews, Mark shared that you will be both prepared and confident of yourself during the interview which is another trait that will stand out.
You will also leave a good impression on the interviewers! By showcasing your clear understanding of the company or their products, it reveals your willingness to go the extra mile to learn more about the company or the product.
Another graduate shares his secret routine to preparing for interviews with his handy interview playbook which he still has and relies on to date! Perhaps… we should create a playbook for ourselves too!
Have the passion.
Although this tip is meant for undergraduates/graduates who wish to intern/work at Mandom, it is also applicable to everyone who is currently reading this ¾ be passionate about what you are doing.
Mark revealed that in Mandom, having the passion is a quality trait that interviewers tend to look out for in their candidates. Therefore, fresh graduates are usually hired as they can bring in fresh perspectives and opinions to the company.
You may then ask: “What if I do not have any relevant experience?” That is alright too!
If you have the desire to learn more, and you are passionate about the role, Mandom will welcome you with open arms. Mark also shared that it is also easy to tell whether one has the interest to learn through simple actions such as your attitude or work ethics during your work. Although one may have the relevant experience, the attitude must be there for one to succeed!
So, what is your passion? This surely has us thinking about our passion, and what truly interests us. It also reminded us of this graduate who we have spoken to earlier ¾ she shared the importance of expressing your desire to learn, and how she impressed the HR at a career fair.
“It’s really okay to be scared, to be afraid, to be not confident of your abilities.”
There are some of us lurking on social media and being envious of our peers who seem to be doing well. However, it is important to know that you should not compare yourself to others and be pressured to achieve the same things as them. Each of us walks our paths and there is no merit in comparing. Take a chill pill and focus on your interests. Pursue them actively, and you will see the rewards of it eventually.
Exclusively written for INTERNSG by: Guang Jin (Grehg) YEO, the creator of the podcast 1 Foot In. The podcast introduces the listeners to someone who has made it into the top/fastest growing companies in the world. From what they did in university, tips & tricks during the resume & interviews and things they wished they could have done if they were to do it all over again.