Having scored a dream internship with internet giant Google, RMIT student Luke Tengstrom offers some excellent advice for those hunting for a work placement with a difference.
After completing a study tour with RMIT in Canada, Mr Tengstrom was eager for another challenge and set his sights on the holy grail of internships at Google – along with 7000 other applicants.
Four months after applying, the Bachelor of Business (Marketing) student finally heard back.
“The process of getting through is painful as I was waiting for what seemed an eternity until I finally received an email from the recruiter advising they had seen my application and LinkedIn profile and wanted to interview,” Mr Tengstrom says.
The pain didn’t stop there as Mr Tengstrom was required to undertake four interviews, answering questions like “how many golf balls are there in San Francisco” or “if you were the Managing Director of Google Australia, what are the three strategic issues that would keep you awake at night?”.
“I believe my degree at RMIT has taught me how to be a problem solver,” he says.
“This really helped in the interview process and when working at a place like Google, where 90 per cent of your job is always something new and you need to be able to apply critical thinking to a problem and develop a solution.”
Soon after making it through the interviews, he received the call confirming he would be interning at the company’s Australian headquarters in Sydney for three months.
Mr Tengstrom worked within Google’s Large Customer Division, providing insights and strategic advertising strategies to clients such as iSelect and News.com.au.
His role involved finding areas for improvement in their digital marketing campaigns specifically focusing on mobile device strategies.
“My team, the Large Customer Team, worked with clients to help them plan their digital strategies and provide insights into their products that would be hard to gain anywhere else,” Mr Tengstrom says.
“For example, at Google we could provide information around what people are increasing searching for so that big companies can drive their advertising spend around those products.”
Despite the demanding work, Google had no shortage of fun events for their staff, from free food to scooters for riding between offices.
“My favourite activity during the internship was hiring a boat with my team and heading out for a day of wake boarding,” Mr Tengstrom says.
“We also had a number of boat cruises around the Sydney Harbour, and Google even had its own Summer Party where they invited 1000 guests to Taronga Zoo, with DJs and entertainment.”
After returning back to RMIT to finish his degree, Mr Tengstrom plans to travel and continue gaining work experience in the digital space, but has some crucial advice and suggestions for those looking for similar internships.
“To gain a job at Google or any other organisation requires you to stand out, hence my best advice is to gain some work experience before you graduate or get to your penultimate year,” Mr Tengstrom says.
He recommends updating and maintaining digital profiles such as LinkedIn and Google+, and educating yourself in the digital space by attending network events, seminars of even creating a blog or reposting interesting content online.
“This will show future employers your interest in different topics and give them insight into your writing skills and professionalism,” Mr Tengstrom says.
Above all, he says, only apply for a job if it will suit you and you know you will enjoy it.
“While consulting firms, Google and other companies may look good on your CV, you will not gain a lot unless you enjoy getting up every day and going to work.”