What is work experience & how it helps launch careers
“The benefits of work experience are invaluable. Without work experience it is near impossible to start a career. Communications, PR and journalism are so competitive that if you want to stand out and get your foot in the door, there’s no better way to do it.”
Adoni Media Founder and Managing Director, Leisa Goddard, said if you show the initiative to find an internship and do it well, then you have the initiative and attitude to do well in a communications career.
In this blog, we talk about how Leisa, Communications Director Clare Christensen, and Senior Account Manager Jane Henschke, all utilised their work experience opportunities to help launch their long and successful careers in journalism and PR.
What is work experience?
Work experience is a short term non-paid placement for students to give them an understanding of what it’s like to work in a particular industry. Work experience or an internship is designed to provide an insight into what employers expect from their employees. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn on-the-job skills as well as explore your options and determine if you’ve made the right career choice.
Choosing a career can be daunting. No-one can do it for you. Only you can make it happen and how you do that is up to you. Chasing work experience opportunities is one of the best ways to start your climb up the career ladder.
Founder & Managing Director, Leisa Goddard
Adoni Media’s Founder and Managing Director, Leisa Goddard, was 16 years old when she successfully landed her first work experience placement at The Queensland Times in Ipswich. They were so impressed by her passion and drive they welcomed her back every school holidays and, within a year of starting, she secured her first paid shift as a casual reporter.
“Every Saturday, I would drive the work car to the main ambulance station in Ipswich and pick up the call out reports from overnight. It was the first time I had responsibility for deciding what was newsworthy. Being a junior though, it was also my responsibility to do the tea and coffee runs twice a day,” Leisa said.
At 17, Leisa became a casual reporter at the Ipswich Advertiser while working part-time in a clothing store and studying journalism full-time at the University of Queensland. She also spent a summer as a copy girl at The Australian.
“I will be forever grateful to the chief of staff at The Queensland Times and the editor of the Ipswich Advertiser. They both took the time to teach me how to be a journalist and how to write.
“I loved it and there was no question that was what I wanted to do in my career,” Leisa said.
Not only did Leisa gain invaluable job experience as a writer and a journalist, she also gained an impressive portfolio of news stories, which helped her secure a full-time cadetship at The Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper.
But her passion was television and writing to pictures. While you needed on-the-job experience to work in newspapers you also needed on-the-job experience to work in television news. So, Leisa volunteered again to do work experience. She spent one day a week, her day off, at Channel 10 in Brisbane.
“I did the work experience round twice. Once to get into my career as a reporter for newspapers and then I went back when I was a graded journalist and volunteered again to do work experience in TV, which then opened the door to my TV career,” Leisa said.
A hugely successful career followed which saw Leisa become the US Bureau Chief for Channel 10, receive a Logie-nomination for coming under Taliban rocket attack while a war correspondent in Afghanistan, receive a UN award for social issues reporting, as well as report on major terrorist attacks throughout the world and a US Presidential election and inauguration.
“Every successful journalist I know has started in a similar way. They’ve shown the initiative to go out there, do the hard work, and take every opportunity that’s given to them.
“If you’ve got the initiative to go out there and find an internship and do well at it, then you have the initiative and attitude to do well in a communications career.”
“As Adoni’s Founder, I believe in the importance of mentoring our next generation of story tellers. Which is why, Adoni Media offers internships to students who are studying journalism, PR, and Communications.
“Students who have work experience on their resumes stand out immediately. From the way they talk about what they want to do, to being able to contribute to how a story should be told, to even being able to connect with people and have them feel comfortable to talk to you.
“Whether it’s journalism or PR, you still need people to tell their story. It’s the same unique skill set,” Leisa said.
Communications Director Clare Christensen
Adoni Media’s Communications Director Clare Christensen undertook three internships in her last year of university to better her understanding of, and gain further practical experience working in, broadcast journalism.
With a keen interest in long form journalism, Clare completed her first internship with ABC’s Hack TV, a weekly current affairs program aimed at youth. It saw her researching and pitching story ideas, conducting interviews, and completing her first travel and overnight stay for a story.
Following that, she immediately undertook an internship with SBS’s Dateline, a program focused on news of the world and major international events. Here she learned the different roles of producers, liaised with journalists overseas, shot-listed interviews, edited “grabs”, and attended in-studio recordings of the program.
“I learned so much during both of these internships, and it was especially valuable to be part of two long-form current affairs programs,” Clare said.
“Seeing how journalists and program directors selected their content, asked questions of interviewees, and pieced together their stories to best suit their target audiences really opened my eyes to the way we shape and consume news.”
Clare also completed an international internship, heading to Jakarta for a six-week program with Indonesia’s Metro TV. She helped put together a nightly news bulletin and weekly current affairs program aimed at the largely English speaking, expat community living in Jakarta.
“This was a really hands-on experience where I was part of every process of putting these programs to air,” Clare said.
“Being able to combine my work experience with travel was an incredible experience which really stood out on my resume when it came to applying for jobs here in Australia,” Clare said.
It was Clare’s real-world experience which she gained through her internships that helped her land her first job in journalism, a cadetship at Sydney’s 2SM radio station.
“Completing an internship is my first recommendation when university students ask me the best way to enter the media industry,” she said.
“Now in my role as Communications Director, one of the first things I look for when reviewing applicant’s resumes is whether they’ve completed an internship. It shows a commitment to their chosen profession, and sets up graduates with experience, understanding, and importantly, contacts.”
Senior Account Manager Jane Henschke
At the age of 14, Adoni Media’s Senior Account Manager Jane Henschke began her first and incredibly valuable stint of work experience during Year 9 at high school.
For 4 years, she volunteered and contributed many news stories about her hometown, Jamestown in South Australia. She researched, wrote articles and took her own photographs for her local newspaper, the Review Times Record.
“It was a dream come true. I was given an open brief to provide stories and photos as often as I liked and on any topic that I thought would be interesting for the readers.”
“It was the 1980s, and so I sent my stories in the post along with a roll of film, and then waited, sometimes up to a month, before I would see the results of my hard work. Not every story was published with a by-line but when they were it was extra special,” she said.
“I kept every story and when interviewed for South Australia’s prestigious journalism university degree, the lecturers were so impressed by my portfolio of stories they virtually guaranteed my entry on the spot.”
During university, Jane undertook four internships at The Naracoorte Herald, Murdoch’s afternoon tabloid newspaper The News (now defunct), The Advertiser, and at Radio 5AD.
She learnt and experienced many aspects of print journalism, from cadet reporting to general news reporting, feature writing, and sub-editing. But with a keen interest in broadcast journalism, she was given a rare and golden opportunity during her time at 5AD.
“As well as writing radio news stories, I was asked to read and record bulletins for their phone service. In those days, you could ring a special telephone number to listen to a short news service that was recorded at regular times throughout the day and night.
“I loved the immediacy of radio news and loved news reading. For a couple of hours every Thursday night, I was invited by the news director at the time to practice my news reading skills and record those special news bulletins,” Jane said.
“I am forever grateful for the mentoring and guidance I received during this time. The skills and real-life experiences paved the way for my first full-time reporting job at Radio 5AA, beginning a journalism career that lasted more than 30 years and took me overseas, to Canberra as a political correspondent and senior Ministerial media adviser, and to Brisbane as a senior television news producer and boss of a metropolitan newsroom.
“I can’t stress enough the value of volunteering for work experience or an internship. It demonstrates a passion and commitment that helps you to stand out in a very competitive environment,” Jane said.
If you’re interested in completing an internship at Adoni Media, please send a cover letter, a copy of your CV, and some writing examples to [email protected]