You have studied myriads of theories in almost every lecture hall on GIJ Campus. You have successfully memorized these complex theories and reproduced them in all examinations and assessments, thus earning you an honourable degree in your field of study. Most of the organizations you dream of working in require a considerable level of experience before they can hire you.
The tricky question going through the mind of almost every young graduate is “Where can I gain this experience if all companies are unwilling to accept newbies?”
Truth is, the professional and corporate world is tough and more serious than you could imagine, thus if they are going to pay for your service, you must be completely up to the task. In order for graduates not to find themselves in such uncomfortable situations, opportunities are available for them to gain some experience while they pursue their courses. These opportunities come in the form of internships, practical assignments, voluntary work, etc.
However, most students either do no not see the need for these somewhat ‘stressful activities’ or do not show much interest and zeal when given the opportunity.
As a result, they are unable to gain the appropriate experience and proper networking needed for future employment. Interestingly, many human resource departments report that they mostly seek full-time employees from interns who exhibit certain exceptional skills and attitudes towards their work.
As Level 300 and Diploma students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism are embarking on a three month intensive internship programme, another opportunity has been given. The sole purpose of these Internships are to introduce students to future work environments, enable them to acquire practical skills and experience, as well as make contacts with potential future employers.
Let us find out how you can make the best out of this and possibly become the next candidate for full-employment by your Human Resource department.
1) Punctuality: Time is gradually losing its essence in this country, thus the few people who respect time with regards to work are branded exceptional. Always get to work on time and call in case of emergencies.
2) Respect: Keeping up on what behavior is appropriate for the workplace may be a challenge for most interns. However, you must to be courteous and respectful in all you do, considering the fact that most of the people you will be working with are older and more experienced than you are.
3) Appearance: Make it a point to dress decently and professionally at all times. If you are unsure about the dress code, find out what is appropriate for your workplace.
4) Research: During your period as an intern, learn more about your employer, their competition, and additional information about the industry in general.
5) Be prepared to do some menial work: There are menial tasks in every job and doing your share promotes goodwill among coworkers and is also a test of your humility. You may be asked to run some errands unrelated to your work e.g. buying ‘Waakye’ for your superiors. Take these tasks in stride and focus on the bigger picture, but if these tasks are taking majority of your time, you should speak politely to your supervisor about your responsibilities and expectations of the internship.
6) Develop professional relationships with your supervisors and coworkers. Communicate with them and build a professional network. This is a key to help you start a career and learn of new opportunities.
7) Enthusiasm: If you’re looking to be hired as a full time employee after your internship ends, exhibit the qualities of an enthusiastic worker during the short time you have to make a positive impact on both your co-workers and supervisors.
Finally, do away with all careless attitudes towards work and put an effort into doing your job and learning something new. Your skills and experiences, combined with the best of attitude exhibited during internships are most likely to get you full time employment at the organization of your choice.
By: Maame Aba Afful (Level 300, GIJ)