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Internship insights: Jacqui Wachtel, QUT

Posted on 30/06/2011 by Cole Lawson in Interns

Interning is truly the pinnacle of an undergraduate education, and let me assure you it was well worth the effort...

Pursuing a career in communication is competitive – differentiation through work experience will provide an edge that helps to influence positive career aspects.

There is no question that university provides a solid theoretical underpinning of skills and as much effort goes into simulating real-world client scenarios and expectations, it doesn’t come close.
I had developed my own connotations attached to work experience. Contrary to what I expected, I had the opportunity to taste many slices of the tasks that professionals do on a day to day basis.
Highlights during my time were unarguably the writing-related tasks, where I was given the opportunity to draft media releases and formulate interview questions before doing a one-on-one phone interview with a client.
Did I think I was ready to tackle such a task? Yes and No. But it was comforting knowing that no matter the outcome of the task, it would be an investment in learning and at its core foundation – a learning experience.
My supervisor, Consultant Patrick MacDonald, took me through the planning stages of the task, identifying the strong link between the client needs and the desired outcomes of the project at hand. I learned the intricacies of media release writing and took away critical techniques that will contribute to the quality of my writing.
Another key experience was the opportunity to experiment with a design program. To say the least, it was a big learning curve that tested my patience at times. However it did provide me with some insight into the design aspects that intertwine into the traditional profession.
Merely observing the interactions in the office and understanding the time, dedication and effort involved in delivering work to clients was a good eye-opener. Building and maintaining client relationships was an element that I observed to be at the heart of the practice and overall public relations setting.
All of the consultants at Cole Lawson are passionate professionals and it is clear that they thoroughly enjoy what they do every day. Interning at the firm was an extremely positive experience that has provided impetus to my future career and a given me a clearer direction as to what I want to do.
I learned a few of the essential ropes in the industry and very glad I did so. And next time, my work experience expectations will be a little different. I know what I need to learn and in the meantime I can only look forward to the next eye-opening opportunity.