The skills gap between education and employment is very real and can sometimes cause unnecessary stress. Often, peoples’ expectations of what a career in a certain industry entails and the actual experience of the job can be miles apart. It hence becomes very important to gain experience along the way so not only do you understand what a certain industry requires, but you also are able to let future employers know that you’re aware of what it takes to make it in a certain role.
Here are some thoughts from our Ambassadors on their own work experience and why they think internships and part-time jobs are an important part of your formative years.
Swathy Sanjay Sindhu, TYV Ambassador pursuing Joint Honors LLB in Law and Psychology, University of Southampton, UK
No experience is irrelevant. Whether you’re serving tables at a coffee shop or interning with a global conglomerate, anything and everything you learn on the job is significant. Some of the easiest sounding jobs are what contribute highly to your resilience and discipline. Take a sales job for instance. Sounds easy enough – you learn facts, stats and specs about a product or service and try convincing clients into buying these. There are really only two outcomes in these situations, you anticipate – they’re either convinced, or they’re not. You tell yourself you’re charming enough or that the knowledge you have on a product will surely sell it. But once you’re on the job and go through the first 20 rejections, you realise you weren’t prepared to be turned down and that you’re probably not good enough or that what you’re selling isn’t special. It then takes a certain level of analysis as well as introspection to realise that it’s probably neither; that the woman you tried selling that hair styler to probably just had a bad day at work, or that that teenager just doesn’t have time to listen to you rambling on about the latest innovation in the cheese industry. Halfway through the day you realise you need to perk yourself up because you’ve been standing for far too long and so you learn to grab a coffee at your 2 pm break instead of scrolling through Instagram for half an hour. You make changes to the way you think and behave to be able to adapt and cope with the demands of the job and this experience is valuable. It helps you tweak your every day to make yourself a little more efficient, and a little less stressed. Most importantly, you learn when and how to take it easy.
Going into a full-time job after your education, you know exactly what to expect in terms of work pressure, and you’re equipped with the habits to help you wind down. This helps overall to just looking after yourself – your mind and body – to help you to contribute fully to your profession and to be an asset to your establishment and to those around you.
The takeaway for me from my work experiences so far has been just this – you’ll learn about your job in due time, but what you really take gather from internships and part-time jobs are facts about you, to help you fine-tune yourself to being a wholesome individual later in life.
Radhika Marwaha, TYV Ambassador pursuing Global Disease Biology, University of California Davis, California, USA :
I want to be able to work for disease prevention in populations specific to the Middle East and South-East Asia. This summer, I was keen to see my course material fit into the larger scheme of things. Hence, I applied to internships in Dubai and this has really widened my horizon. While I may look like a huge maniac for getting myself into 8AM-4PM jobs and not unwinding over the summer, I have taken away a lot that I want to share with TYV readers. So here you go; you’re welcome!
At BITS Dubai –
I understood the workings of a typical academic microbiology research facility. This gave me great insight into the work environment of professors, PhD students and laboratory culture.
At CVRL –
Here I got the opportunity to work with a plethora of samples that come in every day and needed to be tested across departments such as Microbiology, Analytical Chemistry, Food Analysis and so on. Thus, apart from exposure, I got to work with diverse and experienced individuals in a daily commercial laboratory.
At 3M Healthcare –
Here, I worked on the operational side of distribution and marketing of healthcare products, and I felt that this aspect was really valuable because it helped me understand how hospitals and patients can get access to some of the best products in the world.
On the whole, I’d like to remind all of TYV’s readers that the transition years between middle school and your career are a very good time for you to gain diverse experiences so that you can discover where you fit in best. The again, it doesn’t mean that you must stress about finding “relevant” work experience, as long as it keeps you occupied. You’re bound to learn something new from every experience and when you do, you’re on the right track. Just be academically curious and you’re always going to do great!
Maymuna Akhter, TYV Ambassador pursuing Bachelors of Science in Business Administration Logistics and Supply Chain, IMT Dubai:
During your time at university, a student needs to engage in work experience which turns the classroom’s abstract theories and learned examples into concrete understanding by placing the student in a real life work situation with co-workers performing actual professional tasks that the job encompasses. I consider it a wonderful opportunity to have been part of a couple of well renowned companies in Dubai, during my time gaining work experience. I began with interning with the marketing department at Apple.
Although things were slightly puzzling at the beginning, being a part of such a highly recognised and popular conglomerate itself was an honour. I then was placed with the insurance department to understand its A-Z of handling claims. The best part of this internship was that I handled a few international claims and widened my network. Since I’ve always had a keen interest in exploring the IT sector, the opportunity to work with Microsoft was a dream come true. Here I was acquitted with new functions and feature of the Office 365 and dealt with a couple of channel partners. Being a student of commerce and staying in the corporate hub, understanding sales and marketing was highly recommended by my professors. I got into the sales department at Majid Al Futtaim and handled their upcoming real estate project in Al Zahia Sharjah. Through these varied work experiences I have gained invaluable professional experience, increased my self-confidence and self-esteem and have been able to fill in the ‘Work Experience’ column of my resume, with which I hope to land more opportunities in the future.