6 Incredibly Long Answers About Interning

For those just joining us now, my name is Justine Chua, my co-writer’s name is Betina Ong, and we are currently writing the Internship FAQ’s! We’re on part 3 already, so when you finish this up, I suggest you go to the posts before this and read the rest too. 🙂 If you can make a wittier, funner sounding name for this series, we would be greatly indebted to you because I am not punny or funny at all, so the name’s kinda boring. My friend voted we name it, “How to Survive the Semi-Real World”, and I’m actually a little tempted to. What do you guys think?

Last week, we wrote the 15 Most Frequently Asked Questions portion, which is made up of the internship-related questions we got asked the most in the last few months, and the 4 Specific Questions portion, which talks about 1 specific situation we were asked advice over, 2 skills related questions, and a 4 part question on what kind of weight internship experience brings to a resume that left us realizing we needed to break things down even more for our readers.

In this Sunday’s post, Betina talks specifically about her time at Coca-Cola and gives us a glimpse at what life there is like. She also proceeds to make me jealous, but more importantly, proud of her and all she’s accomplished. Go Betina! We also talk in-depth about two important questions we get all the time: where do we find these internships, and what should comprise a resume.

My main hope is that in this section, your fears about interning are lessened when we make it clear that this process is super similar to the AIESEC application process. The only difference is, instead of you paying AIESEC 100 pesos for a chance with them, you send an email out to companies that are looking to hire for a chance to work for them.

Reminders again, Betina’s got the recruiting experience, the marketing experience, much more internships under her belt than I do, and the sky-high grades. Plus, she’s the nice one. I’m the one who is mean, cynical, and frank. I’ve had a finance job, an information services aka IT job, and a marketing job. For even more context, she’s a third-culture kid, and I’m a sheltered Chinese girl. I’m also fond of making snap judgements so I know right away where I don’t want to work, what I don’t want to do at work, and when I don’t want to work. Think of me as a Slytherclaw. She’s more of a ‘benefit of the doubt’ girl. She’s the Gryffinpuff.

Like the title suggests, this is a bit of a long read because it really is a dialogue between us on what we think is the best advice we feel you guys need. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and hope we answered something useful for you! 🙂 If we haven’t, drop us your questions here at our Google Form.

 

How/When/Where do you look for internships? Does Ateneo give you a list with choices in it or do you have to research on your own?

J: Ateneo is of next to no help at all, because the only time they do help is job fair. That happens once a year, a few months before graduation season,  and focuses primarily on the seniors. The juniors also get some residual help. It’s  like hunting season there though, because the fear of unemployment is looming like a guillotine blade over a lot of people’s heads. For those who want to go through this, prepare in advance your resume and make sure you walk through the fair everyday, twice. Once at 10am, once at 3pm. New stalls open and close randomly, so be aware.

B: Ateneo is zero help. I was always on top of which companies offer internships (because of the nature of my org work – I usually handle internship programs for my orgs), but I got most of my data from searching online and asking around. Jobstreet, LinkedIn, and Ateneo Jobs and Internships are great places to start!

J: I’m grateful that I got my first internship thanks to the LSOPCS’ job fair, but after that, nada zippo zilch.

The LSOPCS also had this google sheets thing that had all these contacts but when I did email some of them, sometimes the email would bounce?? Or I wouldn’t get a reply at all?? It was a little frustrating, but it taught me how to refine my search, on my own time and my own terms.

I usually just ask my network of friends because FYI, we’re in Ateneo, where we can play 6 degrees of separation with everyone you ever meet and you’re always going to find a common friend or four. I look for ones when I’m bored. Ateneo Jobs and Internships, a FB group (if you’re not in it, tell me and I’ll add you in), is a good a place as any to start. But if you keep your eyes peeled, I’m sure you’ll spot one online somewhere. You just really need to be looking for one to find it.

B: Actually now that I think about it, one of the reasons I ended up getting Coca-Cola is because I told my friend (hi Sam Tan) that I wanted to try HR and she made kwento about her brother interning there. I don’t know if I would have ended up interning at Coca-Cola if I hadn’t been telling my friends that I was looking for internship leads, so if you’re really looking for one, don’t be afraid to let your friends know.

J: If you’ve got time, head on over to UP when CAP (Career Assistance Program) has one of their numerous, amazing projects. Full disclosure, one of my friends works for them and I’m always envious of UP’s crazy effort to make sure all their students find employment. 

B: This is actually something we talk about a lot – UP and DLSU have it so much easier than we do because the admin gives them so much support when it comes to interning. I get the feeling that Ateneo’s Placement Office has gotten complacent because we always hear that Ateneans are ‘guaranteed’ jobs after graduation and a lot of people like to leverage their connections for internships, but I still wish we had more help than a single google sheet!

 

How do you write a resume? That’s one thing I really don’t understand, because I might sound too demanding/ boastful? and what is the exact format? 🙂

B: Don’t be afraid to be boastful! Resumes are not the time or place to be shy about your achievements. Nobody else is going to advocate your achievements for you and it’s unfair to yourself if you don’t give them the full list of your accomplishments because you can bet every other person going for that job/internship will be bragging on their resume.

J: State the facts and it won’t be boasting! You have to really know your worth when presenting yourself, since your competitors will try to grab the spotlight with potential lies that sound pretty but are worth nothing. Actually, strike that, know your worth and then add some more, but only if you’re a girl. Girls have this greater tendency to disregard their abilities or worse, ATTRIBUTE IT TO LUCK. (We’ll probably talk about this in a future post too because ugh.) Boys are really good at being self-promotional, or at least, we all let them get away with being self-promotional. They don’t need as much help with being confident enough to boast.

Friends, especially my amazing girlfriends who read this, own all the results of your projects. The good and the bad, and the ugly who got in between, take them all in because it helps you grow as a person and admitting that you grew is better than saying you’re a perfect diamond already during the interviews.

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B: Demanding, on the other hand is the sakit of a lot of Ateneans. HAHAHA I guess my advice here would be don’t undervalue your own work, but be very aware that you’ve got to start from the bottom (everybody does!) so don’t expect to be coddled.

The luck thing is another thing we talk about a lot. And it’s true, studies show that women tend to downplay their own achievements. There is a time and place for being modest, but resume-writing is not it. If all you have to represent you is a piece of paper, that piece of paper should damn well scream ‘Pick me! I’m amazing!’

Contextualize everything and try as much as possible to quantify the details of your accomplishments. Nobody can accuse you of bragging if all you’re doing is stating numbers.

Exact format will really depend on your strengths/weaknesses/what you’re trying to highlight. Generally though, I start with education, then work experience, then org work, then competitions you participated in, then relevant skills. The most important thing there is to put your course and university first, since as a recruiter that was the first thing I looked for to give me context to frame the rest of the resume.

For those of you who took Psych 101 and are wondering whether primacy or recency effect is stronger in resumes, the answer is primacy. It’s harder to reverse a good impression than it is to reverse a bad one. So feel free to put all your positive points early in the resume, rather than saving the best for last.

Shoot me a message or e-mail me if you really need help. I love editing resumes 🙂

J: Agree on the “demanding is the sakit of Ateneans”, and we will expound on this further in a future post because really, the Atenean entitlement problem and how blind we Ateneans are to it is preposterous.

I’ll talk about a different format from Betina because I totally agree with what she said, and have nothing to add to her headhunting experience. (If you don’t know our credentials, head on over to 15 Most Frequently Asked!) Make 2 resumes: first, a standard, simple one that will be your mastersheet and second, a super beautifully designed one. The standard one is for a lot of corporations. They want to hire you with no frills to blind them from your actual work; the designed one is for creative jobs, like startups, marketing, advertising, etc. If you send a boring one to a creatives job, what are you doing????? Why are you wasting this opportunity to show a) you go the extra mile and b) you have amazing design skills?????

If you want to stand out from the huge pile and are willing to take the risk, send the designed one to corporations. It will wake the HR up and it might be your ticket. For free templates, Buzzfeed compiled a great list here.

I also love editing resumes, but I am the mean one, so come to me only if you’re mentally prepared. I am not for the weak.

B: Oh I forgot to add, tailoring your resume to the field or job is very important. For example, I have experience in both marketing and HR, so I have two different resumes – one emphasizes my marketing experience and another that highlights my HR experience. As a recruiter, when I see your resume is tailored, it sends me the signal that this field/industry is your first choice and that you’ve really thought your resume and application through. This also makes you a stronger candidate because it means that you’re serious about the internship and you want to learn – serious enough that you’ll put in the effort to make a more tailored resume.

 

What do you think is the most important part of the resume?

J: Work experience > Leadership experience > Actual skills you have, not BS like “proficient in Excel” but you don’t even know how to use a formula > Competitions you’ve won

B: I agree. I do want to add though, that leadership experience isn’t limited to people management. Leadership experience just means that you got something done. Whether it’s an event, an initiative, a project, or whatever, all I want to know is that you did something productive with your time and you are contributing the the world around you. Show me that, and you’re good to go 🙂

Also, depending on the competition, I might give it more weight because winning or placing in competitions already has a built in context. Context is king when it comes to resumes!

 

How can we improve our resumes?

B: The one piece of advice I always give is: contextualize everything! (we’re starting to sound like broken records here but this is so important) and try to make your descriptions of your accomplishments as objective as possible by quantifying everything. Can’t really give you any solid tips without seeing your resume, but I can say that a lot of the resumes I’ve seen have far too many words on them. Try as much as possible to use the less is more approach so that all the awesome things that you want to highlight don’t get drowned out by the less important details. Good luck!

J: Use data to back up everything you say. I could say, “Under my leadership, the project made the biggest ROI in its history.” and it turns out this is a brand new project, which I let slip in the interview because I didn’t get my story straight before I headed into the interview. That’s a huge no-no, because if you’re going to stretch the truth, you better have the whole story rehearsed in your head already. (If you can’t read between the lines, I’m actually an advocate for stretching the truth sometimes to get somewhere better than you’re at now.)

For my own resume, I calculated the revenues from my projects and then compared them to previous years’ projects. For the brand new ones, I detailed out my part in all the processes; conceptualization, brainstorming, implementation, the whole shebang. My resume ended up very detail-oriented, contextualized, and kind of long. If you’re super not sure about what you’re doing and you’re willing to talk to me, drop me an email or chat me up on FB.  

Also, I feel like we’re repeating ourselves, which means, this is crazy important. Contextualize. Everything.

Ignore us at your own risk.

 

Hi! I’m actually writing my CV right now and I’m wondering how to make it stand out given that most of my org works (like 50%) are creatives related (graphic design, photography, conceptualization, creatives head) and most people don’t really give that much value those kind of jobs. Would having a well-designed CV help showcase my creativity or something? I don’t really know how to compete with people who have so many leadership positions and super high grades under their belts. I’ve only been active last year for MEA and Celadon and the most responsibility I’ve had is currently being a project head for one of Celadon’s projects, but my QPI is above 3.5. I’m thinking of applying for a marketing related internship by the way. 🙂 Also, where can I find internship openings?

P.S. You’re so awesome! HAHA. I didn’t know that you’ve had so many internships already when I met you during POS100 last year:)

B: Justine hasn’t taken POS 100 yet, so I’m gonna assume this one’s for me. HAHA thanks!

You’d be surprised at how in-demand graphic designers are nowadays, so don’t worry about the fact that a lot of your org work is on the creative side 🙂 Having a well-designed CV definitely helps showcase your creativity if you’re applying for something in a creative field (like marketing!) Don’t worry so much about not being super active in orgs. When I first started interning, I’d only had one org project under my belt and it was only as an underling (aka Deputy of Logistics or something like that). If you’re really worried about building up your org work, you’ve got a few semesters to go, so it’s not too late to beef up that side of your resume. Your QPI (wow 3.5+) will for sure set you apart! If I were you, I’d focus more on prepping for interviews (yes, I’m gonna jump straight to the interviews, because your QPI is so amazing that I’m sure you’ll make the first cut) and really reading up on the company/field you’re applying to. The QPI and creativity shows them that you can do the job; show them that you’re genuinely interested in the field by showing up to your interview prepared and that internship is yours! Jobstreet and Ateneo Jobs and Internships (FB group) are solid places to start looking. Good luck! 🙂

J: I’m going to answer too even though this one wasn’t for me hehehe.  

Dude, you are already a lot of company’s ideal intern. A graphic designer. Do you know how many people are looking for graphic designers?? I don’t have a number on me, but I’m putting it around “A LOT”. Congrats to you!! The problem now is, will you be duped into thinking you’re less than you’re actually worth? All this creatives work makes you a highly in-demand worker; the fact that you can do so many facets of creatives means that you can be told “I want a high fashion burger shot.” and you can make this happen, roughly on your own. If you’re good at this creatives job, then even better! You’ve become 10x more marketable by being good! You’ve got a head start over everyone else! Use it to your advantage!

Yes, a well-designed CV would be an asset to you; make a simple one though for back-up. You can’t compete head-to-head with every single Dean’s Lister in the world or at least everyone in Ateneo. Take it from me. Some of them have halimaw powers, and that’s both inspiring and disheartening to see. You probably have halimaw powers too, but they’re still dormant because your self-confidence is so low considering you have a 3.5. That grade is an amazing feat all on its own. So what you do now is, you get sneaky on how to beat them while waiting for your powers to activate.

Build your work experience up now. Org work is great and all, but sometimes it’s very political. I suggest you get outside work, especially somewhere with a good existing network or PR system so that your creatives work gets seen. Take on a project somewhere else, do something different from the pack. Work in leadership experience building projects to help build you up even further.

When we all get loose into the world aka we’ve graduated, a lot of HR recruiters will be seeing the words MEA and Celadon in a lot of resumes due to the huge number of members in both those orgs. You don’t want to become a generic one in the pile, so you need to work on your interview skills starting now like Betina said. You have a bright future ahead of you, don’t lose track of it by looking at your peers doing better in org work.

I also advise you to open a behance and show off your work there. Build up your portfolio!! I would kill to have skills like yours, they make you insanely marketable, especially in the coming years, so keep at it and hone your craft!

 

(For Betina) Was your internship at Coca Cola paid? And how was working for them like?

B: Nope, which is unusual for a company of that size, but I took it anyway because the resume value was worth the trade-off (fortunately my dad agreed to finance my Uber rides to and from).

Amazing experience! To be honest, it wasn’t a massive learning curve, but that’s mostly because by the time I joined Coca-Cola I had already been headhunting for two months, so I had already picked up 90% of the skills I needed to get the job done. What Coca-Cola gave me was the chance to hone my skills in a large MNC (J: she means multinational corporation for the uninitiated) setting and the confidence to apply for even bigger companies. Also, the free unlimited Coca-Cola products weren’t a bad perk. (J: This is where I’m crazy envious of her, because I love Coke more than she does.)

Coca-Cola in the Philippines is interesting in that they have offices for 3 separate Coca-Cola corporations in the same office building: FEMSA, Far East Limited, and Bottlers Business Process Services. If you’re going for marketing apply for FEMSA or Far East Limited, since Bottlers is mostly the accounting arm of Coca-Cola. For the most part they are all fairly separate from each other unless there is a big Coca-Cola event.

The offices themselves are really cool. Classic Coca-Cola merchandise everywhere and the walls follow a red and white motif. FEMSA and Far East Limited’s offices look particularly awesome – kinda like what you’d imagine the inside of a magazine’s office to look like. Very hip and creative. Every floor has its own cafeteria with really good cheap food and of course, refrigerators filled with Coca-Cola products.

In terms of company culture, Coca-Cola feels like a very Pinoy corporation, probably because the expats are limited to just the big bosses – many of the managers are Filipino. The working relationships and camaraderie within the teams are very important to them and the employees really bond over food. The hierarchal structure is slightly more informal that a normal Pinoy corporation and their HR department is up to standard with the rest of the world, meaning that they have millennial-friendly policies in place. 

Overall, would love to work with them again someday. (Especially after their new Taste The Feeling campaign. OH MY GOD. THE NEW ADS ARE GORGEOUS.) 😀


That’s it for this Sunday’s post! This Thursday we’ll post the next batch of questions and answers and probably tackle the question “How much does grades matter on a resume?”. Or something else. We’re still feeling this out as we go along because there were a lot more questions than we were expecting. 🙂 We go through everything, so rest assured that your questions will be answered in due time.

Thanks to all our readers, for keeping up with this 3rd out of 6 (!! We keep adding!!) part series! Thank you to everyone who is liking and sharing this post so that we don’t feel like arrogant twits. Thank you as well to everyone who has been messaging and emailing us with their questions and thanks for writing this series, you guys make us feel super appreciated!

If you want our help in looking over your resume, giving you tips about it, or you just want to talk to us, email either of us at justine.ltchua@gmail.com and bets_ong@yahoo.com or hit us up on FB at The Border Collective! You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ChaiXingJun!

Thanks for reading, and hope we answered some of your questions! 🙂

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