Although all students complain about learning and exam deadlines, most of them are not even aware that it is actually the easier part. They encounter real difficulties when they finish college on their own and when it’s time for a famous job. Graduates only after their studies realize that everything they possess is theoretical knowledge, and that experience is a very important condition for employment. When to gain experience and, what is an even bigger problem, where?
People who study and work at the same time are urban legends, maybe you hang out with some of their acquaintances, maybe you know a few of them personally, but their recipe for success is unknown to everyone – at least in most cases.
What awaits us after studying is facing the fact that they are more organized to the advantage, because they already have experience in their CV. However, that does not mean that those without the experience gained during their studies will forever lag behind them! I was lucky enough to choose a good place to practice and start my career, and I hope that my experience working at the startup company Playerhunter will be useful to you, and motivate you to start looking for a job as soon as possible.
First practice – first experience and an important lesson
They say that the beginning is the most difficult, but I still think that it is the most difficult to continue looking for a job after a bunch of emails sent to which there was no response and numerous CVs and cover letters that were sent in vain. After a couple of months of searching, I came across a marketing agency that offered me an internship.
On the first day, I was very excited and grateful that I got the opportunity to work somewhere and gain practical experience. Here I gained basic knowledge of marketing, learned something about making brochures, catalogs, and organizing events. I can’t say that I felt bad here, but I didn’t feel that I was using all my potentials. At the same time, there was an interest in digital marketing and a desire to try me in those waters. After 3 months of practice, I was ready to resume sending a resume and looking for a new opportunity.
Although I did not find exactly what I wanted in the mentioned practice, this was a very useful experience for me because I “broke the ice” and was even more determined than ever to find a job that would fulfill me, in an environment that would give me the opportunity to progress. Also, I learned an important lesson – that I should not put up with the current situation and be satisfied with “some” job. I did not make a mistake in my decision to leave the previous company because I quickly found exactly what I was looking for.
How I got to the startup company Playerhunter
I came to my next practice, and as it turned out later, employment, very spontaneously. On the Internet, I came across an interesting article whose topic was the global startup company Playerhunter, which connects football players and professionals from the world of football. It is a startup company from Austria with offices around the world, including Belgrade and Novi Sad.
Collaboration with many famous football figures such as Andrei Shevchenko, Josi Benajun, as well as Christian Fuchs, the winner of the Premier League with Leicester City. As well as support, there is the football club Rapid and GLS, with which Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Del Piero, and Luis Figo signed contracts, which are facts that Playerhunter points out as its biggest recommendation, and which undoubtedly confirm the success of this startup. However, another thing caught my eye.
As one of the numerous international and domestic awards that this company has won, the Ekapija portal award: Aurea 2018 for market potential is also mentioned. This is something that impressed me and encouraged me to do a little better research on what it is about and whether there is an opportunity to volunteer, practice, or get a job in this company. As one of the results of my inquiry, an advertisement for an internship in the field of marketing appeared on the site studentskeprakse.rs.
I decided not to send my CV this time because I was afraid that the answer would not arrive. I called the number that was in the ad, and after a phone call, and later a live conversation – I was accepted! I didn’t know much about what a startup company is and how it does business there, but I was ready for a new adventure.
The first day of practice at Playerhunter – the first positive experience
I decided not to expect too much from the first day of practice, because due to my personal experience, but also the experience of others, I was ready to spend the first days sitting and watching others work. I also thought that I would stand out from the already played team and that it would take more time to become part of the team. However, fortunately for me, I was wrong.
In the beginning, I was happy with the fact that I was not the only “new” and that a couple of other people started the practice that day. After the welcome, the other interns and I got to know each other and then the other colleagues from the office. After that, Sneza, who leads the team of interns, introduced us to the work we will do and gave us our first assignments.
The first day passed so that we got to know each other, listened to music, jokes, and during that time also did the job we were given. At the end of the day, we shared our first impressions of the practice and discussed other tasks that will be assigned to us in the future. After the first day at Playerhunter, I felt what I had not done in my previous practice – enthusiasm!
Why is a startup internship a good choice?
My first internship differed from the internship at Playerhunter for several reasons. First of all, it was not done in the same area of marketing. I studied digital marketing here, but I also collaborated with colleagues employed in development, watched how video production works and was part of the whole system that works together to develop a new social network. For some, multitasking and intertwining with other areas of work, ie getting out of the “comfort zone” is an obstacle, and for me, it was a challenge and another plus for this type of company.
Working in a startup is more dynamic, new things are constantly being done, new ideas are being developed and we are all participating in their realization. With Playerhunter, I gained and gained the experience I dreamed about so much, but as I gained more from this practice, so much more was expected of me. Active contribution through commitment and ideas is something you need to be prepared for if you want to progress.
As an important difference, I must point out the team itself. In the previous company, the team was a little older, while the employees in the startup were primarily young people. This is especially important when you are a beginner because you do not have the impression that someone is “watching you from above”.
I never felt excluded from the team, and no one treated me as if my opinion was less important due to the fact that I had less experience. We have always been encouraged to present our ideas, and it is the same today when I am employed. I participate in collective meetings, I am informed about all events in the company as well as all my colleagues, and since we have a lot of colleagues in Austria, they try to have both teams have excellent communication and to be involved in decision making.
How did I get from internship to employment?
Contrary to what you have heard from people around you, the path from practice to employment does not have to be science fiction, and it does not have to include months (sometimes years) of free work without a guarantee that a job is waiting for you. However, if you want to be in a higher position, it requires taking responsibility and more serious work, because rarely anyone will reward you if you have not “shown” yourself.
After three months of my internship, I started working more closely with Sneža, our mentor and helping her with the daily tasks that first concerned the interns and their duties. As time went on, I started getting more and more tasks and a lot more responsibilities.
A couple of months after I started getting more serious debts, my employment followed. I was offered the position of Corporate Relations Manager and I was entrusted with new tasks for which employers at that time could be sure that I would perform them responsibly.
Although I am more than satisfied with my current position, of course, I think and expect to continue to progress in the future. Our company is constantly evolving, and we often open new positions and learn about new methods of work. As Playerhunter progresses, so do we progress with him and learn new things.
The best place to practice – the one with perspective
We come to another important lesson I learned. When choosing a place to practice and get a job, think about what that firm or company can offer you. Choose a place where you will be able to learn new things and a promising company that will give you the opportunity to progress, and logically a higher salary. The moment you feel that you have taken out of your job everything that he could provide you, start looking for a new job, where you will continue to develop your skills.
For the end, I would just like to refer to the story from the beginning of the text. Starting from scratch, that is, from only theoretical knowledge, seems difficult, but the fact that I did not knock on the right door at the beginning does not mean that it does not exist. For the internship at Playerhunter, the experience was not stated as a condition, but motivation and interest in that area of work.
I have to admit that the opportunity given to me – working in a global startup from Austria, is indeed a chance that is rarely given, especially in Serbia, but I am sure that there are companies with similar policies in your niche.
The choice is yours – will you look for an internship that will require your effort and in return provide you with a unique and useful experience, or will you be satisfied with training where not much is expected of you, and from which you will usually have only a certificate and an item in a CV. Choose wisely!