THERE has been a familiar cycle to my post-university working life. The foundations were laid during my spare time completing my Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) at Deakin University.
I find when the time comes for me to move onwards and upwards, some volunteer, internship, part-time or extra-curricular activity that I participated in during university will play a key role in helping me land the new job or opportunity.
It happens all the time.
The reason I went back to university in 2009, was to help steer my career from the course it was on (in finance) into something I was genuinely passionate about. So seeking out extra-curricular opportunities in the areas I most wanted to work (sports media and communication) was a “no-brainer” for me.
I just couldn’t wait to get started, which is a common theme among ‘theMediapod-ders’ I noticed.
During my time at Deakin, I juggled three or four part-time commitments outside of uni, and each of these added to the vast network of people and places that began to know me in my ‘dream industry’, and I could never have guessed the impact these ventures would have on my career going forward, often in not-so-obvious ways.
Here are some examples:
An internship with the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL, led to a job in the communication team of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). The person I worked for at the Tigers moved to the MFB and needed someone for one day a week of work.
An internship with the Big V Basketball League led to a full-time media position with Basketball Australia. The person I worked for had progressed to become Basketball Australia Media Manager.
A volunteer position helping out the local WNBL basketball team saw me earn the respect of their triple-Olympian coach. She became a reference for me at a job that, co-incidentally, had a HR Manager that still played in the WNBL, and adored chatting to one of her idols, my work referee.
An internship with the AFL’s Geelong Cats (which was little more than ‘kids playground attendee’) saw me receive a laminated ‘thanks for your help’ certificate. I added this to my resume. Coindecently my soon-to-be-employer at Betfair Australia, was a huge Cats fan, and had sponsored them in the past. Of all my relevant experience, he fixated on that certificate.
These are just a few of many examples I could give.
Of course none of these were the sole factors in me securing the jobs, but the lesson I learned was this; it may not be obvious right now, but someone you’ve helped, or something you’ve learned, or somewhere you worked, will help you along the way. It may not necessarily be a contact, it may just be that you are applying for a job that needs a specific skill that you were introduced to during that time. You now have at least one ‘specific experience’ in that area.
Having just started my own business, I look forward to being part of helping other students reach their goals one day, and being that contact they draw on to progress their careers.
So reach out, interact, and get involved, because I guarantee somewhere down the line, your volunteer time now will pay big in the end.