fbpx
25/03/2019 Communication Science news and articles

Backstage with AJ: Confidence and hard work will get you there

In this Backstage, Medium talks to Mercurius board member AJ about his experiences with finding an internship.


This week Medium spoke to AJ Kutlu, a student of the English track of the Bachelor’s in Communication Science at UvA who also happens to chair three committees at our very own Study Association Mercurius. He gave us an update on his daily work at COFRA, and some tips on how to get that elusive internship when all the good ones seem to have gone.

Originally from Turkey, where his father still lives and works as a graphic designer for Hürriyet, a major newspaper, he moved with his mother and brother to Germany at the age of 12 to get his High School education. He had it rather clear from the beginning, he wanted to study an affordable university programme related to media and communication. Not only that, he wanted to “learn the science behind it.” Three years ago, he looked into the possibility of studying International Sports Management, but he found it too corporate. Then, he came across the then-new English programme in Communication Science at UvA online, and contacted the study advisors for information and meetings. AJ stresses the remarkable dedication of the study advisors, who sat with him to talk about his career even outside of consultation hours. Communication Science looked like a challenge and he took it on.

Experience in Mercurius
In AJ’s view it’s important to be out there and to get involved in many activities. “In my case, they see I have done many extracurricular activities since High School, plus my experience as a board member and the head of the Career, Study and International committees of Mercurius, so they probably think ‘that person is capable of organising an event because he has done it before’,” he said.

Finding the internship
From what AJ is told, he started looking for an internship pretty late. While some of his classmates started in mid-September or in October, he didn’t rush. “I started looking in November, and by mid-December I had moved to the next stage for 5 vacancies,” he told us. Companies like to find interns months before their training starts, but he didn’t turn off his LinkedIn search and he assures “they are still looking for people even now. Don’t give up, it’s possible to start in February or March, and even in April!” You can always ask a friend of an intern if their company is looking for more people. Connections work. In any case, he was on LinkedIn “all the time for a month,” setting up keywords for job suggestions like ‘social media internship’ or ‘marketing internship’. He applied to most offers that came his way, since they were all interesting. Then, as he got positive responses for his requests, AJ would complete the assignments they tasked him with and, in some cases, got to a second and even third interview or Skype call. In the case of COFRA, “it was the last company I applied to and they got back immediately.” All in all, from the first phone interview to the interview in person at the company and to the final response, it didn’t take more than two weeks. “It was a really fast process compared to other media companies”, he said, “some had taken a month just to send a positive message back to me.” This gave AJ the impression that they really wanted him, which is always a nice boost.

Don’t give up, (…). Connections work!

The internship
COFRA is the parent company of other brands like international retailer C&A, among others, and AJ is part of a team dealing with internal and group communications under the guidance of the company’s CCO. He started on 1st February at this 9-to-5 job and works on various projects regarding internal and external communication of COFRA. He goes to the office everyday, except Fridays. “I was very clear since the first interview: every Friday I have to be at UvA for my Mercurius office hours,” he stated. “They were really fine with that, there is always the option of taking a company laptop and work outside the office, which is what I do when at UvA. There is really no stress, we do Skype meetings with those who are not physically present and there’s leeway when you’re sick, too.” So much so that AJ gave us an example of two colleagues that fell ill this week and still rang in to get an updated of who was taking care of their most pressing tasks. “People are really easy to reach, there’s regular 45 minute to 1 hour meetings and some join in through Skype.”

‘LinkedIn is your best friend’

Lessons learnt
Before you start looking for internships, remember three things: “LinkedIn is your best friend,” be confident in what you can offer, and don’t give up easily. Of course, international students might be tempted to think there will be many less opportunities if you don’t speak Dutch. In fact, AJ told us that, even when he got positive responses from companies looking for an English-speaking intern, he was rejected in around 10% of his later-stage interviews because the companies do business primarily in Dutch. But, do not despair, “there’s plenty of companies that are looking for students who can speak English and another language,” AJ said. As Communication Science students, AJ’s advice is to fully embrace the possibilities presented by social networks. “With the right LinkedIn search, you’ll see how many companies are looking for dynamic international students.”

Cover: Mercurius / Eindredacteur: Kyle Hassing

 

104 Total Views 1 Views Today

Reacties

reacties

Related Posts

Where does scapegoating come from?

22/03/2019

22/03/2019

Alvaro found out where scapegoating comes from, and explains it to us in this article. Why do we scapegoat? And what has the Bible to do with it?

Killfies: And You Thought Duckface Was Bad

21/03/2019

21/03/2019

With astonishing numbers in countries such as India and Russia, the 'Killfie' is gaining not only in popularity, but also in casualties. Why do people take such great risks for 'just a picture'?

Onder de loep: De Luizenmoeder

20/03/2019

20/03/2019

Het tweede seizoen van De Luizenmoeder is een aantal weken geleden begonnen. Wat maakt dit programma nog steeds zo succesvol? Medium zocht het uit.

My Podcast and Me: The Intimacy of Podcasts

20/03/2019

20/03/2019

Podcasts; the substitution to TV and radio among millennials. However, the statistics on podcasts listeners are respectively low in the Netherlands. Why are podcasts popular in other countries? And how come that we stay behind?

BNR: Backstage with the Chief

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

Medium Editor-in-Chief Thomas Korver started his internship at BNR Nieuwsradio this year, a very special feat. Thomas is working right along the most powerful people of the Netherlands, but that's quite normal.

CNN and the Metamorphosis of News

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

A comprehensive look at how the CNN used technology to disrupt the media landscape and transform the news cycle

Women’s march: what are we trying to say?

19/03/2019

19/03/2019

The second Woman's March took place on March 9th in Amsterdam. Eva brought her camera and shows us how the participants visualized their message about feminism.

Students of the world: Inaya

18/03/2019

18/03/2019

Students of Amsterdam goes worldwide! This means that Medium didn't interview a student from the University of Amsterdam, but a communication science student from the University of Manchester; meet Inaya!

The Medium Magazine Brexit Podcast

16/03/2019

16/03/2019

Are you following Brexit? We tried to, have a listen!

Audrey Hepburn: The Woman Behind The Icon

15/03/2019

15/03/2019

One week ago the world celebrated International Women's Day. This week Eva commemorated a very special women; Audrey Hepburn.

Students of Amsterdam: Gary

14/03/2019

14/03/2019

Deze maand is tweedejaars Communicatiewetenschap student Gary de 'Student of Amsterdam'. Tegen Medium vertelt hij over zijn reis naar Vietnam, zijn leven in Amsterdam en zijn prioriteiten.

#DOESLIEF: SIRE’s sleutel tot een vriendelijker Nederland

13/03/2019

13/03/2019

SIRE startte de #DOESLIEF-campagne, omdat mensen niet bewust zijn hoevaak mensen nog worden beledigd. Medium zocht uit of deze campagne effectief is.

Review: Russian Doll

11/03/2019

11/03/2019

If you could do it all again, would you? The new Netflix series, 'Russian Doll', explores this idea with a twist.

The Digital Migrant

05/03/2019

05/03/2019

"Water, phone and food." This article takes a look at the crucial role played by smartphones and technology in the lives of migrants.

Suppressed Voices Given a Chance to be Heard: Introducing ‘Looney Radio’

28/02/2019

28/02/2019

This thursday we introduce a very special radio station from Argentina: Radio La Colifata. Opening their doors, Hospital Borda takes the recovery process of the patient to another level.

EnjoyInstagram