University is extremely stressful. Classes can be a complete nightmare and keeping on top of things is really hard, especially with all the distractions (thanks Netflix). The fear of not landing a job after graduation is no help either. As if being a full-time student wasn’t already a full-time job, future employers expect you to have relevant work experience too. This is all something that Gracelle Bonifacio knows too well.
Gracelle (also known as Grace) attended the University of British Columbia where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She then became a full-time student in the Public Relations Diploma program at Kwantlen University. “I never thought I would find myself in business or marketing. I loved writing and wanted to be an English Teacher,” says Grace.
During her two years at Kwantlen, Grace worked her butt off and said yes to any and every opportunity that came her way. I know this because, I was in the same two-year program and admired her drive and hunger for success.
“My first ever internship was with Beth Richards Swimwear. It exposed me to the PR industry, but it was different then what I thought it would be. This experience opened my eyes to the fashion industry and helped put everything into perspective,” says Grace. She had a first hand view of how hard local designers have to work to put their brand out there. “My second internship was with Dela Cruz PR. I worked in more of a PR Admin role until I moved into a Social Media Coordinator position, which I created for myself.” Interning can be a daunting experience. It can also leave you feeling overworked and unappreciated (depending on your experience). However, Grace is thankful. “I’m forever indebted to my internship experiences. I will never ever forget those people that gave me a chance.”
Here are a few of Graces’ Tips below:
Make finding a job a full-time job. Its honestly so tough. You have to really pitch yourself and know what you’re talking about. It’s not about handing in your resume. It’s showing that you know what the company is about and what you can bring to the table.
Take every opportunity that you can. You never know where it’s going to lead you. If you’ve fallen in love with your internship placement, find a position you can wedge yourself into and show that you want the job! Interning is also a great way to familiarize you with tactical duties.
To stand out as a student you need to have a creative portfolio, which helps to show that you’re multifaceted as a potential employee. A lot of employees don’t hire you based on your skill because skills can be obtained. They’ll hire you on the fit of the company.
“Being an Intern and actually being a Coordinator are two completely different things. As a Coordinator you have a lot more responsibilities then you experienced as an Intern. The difference between being an Intern and having a paid job is that your very much more part of a decision making process,” explains Grace of her interning experience.
The transition period between graduation and finding a job can be long, dreadful and feel like a never-ending story. Give yourself some time and remember that you have worked your butt off! Everything will eventually come together for you.
Grace is an example of how hard work; dedication and taking advantage of opportunities can really work in your favour! She’s a marketing rock star and continues to make her mark within the industry.