Aainaa Rahman studied a Bachelor of Psychological Science, graduating from University of South Australia in 2011. Upon graduation, Aainaa did what most graduates do – send out hundreds of resumes to potential employers. She was dejected, depressed and house bound for several months through this process. She was at low point, partially because nothing was working and because she is naturally hard worker and likes working. She knew she needed to get out of the house and get a graduate job.
Through her partner’s sister, Aainaa was able to get a role at a roofing company helping in the call centre and with sales and administration work. Although not ideal nor a graduate job, for her it was better than staying at home and doing nothing. She wanted to give it ago even if nothing came more than income came from it it was a low risk. During the next year at the company she began networking with various people who worked as external contractors as part of her role. Suddenly, the company shut down and she was again s on the search for a graduate role and was sending out resumes to potential employers.
However, through the networking she did prior to the company closing, two of those individuals went on to start a business, Majoran and invited her to work as intern due to the great work they saw her do previously. Aaaina, saw a great opportunity to get some skills and add some value in a newly company, so she agreed to do part time marketing and content related jobs initially. She fumbled along and figured out what they needed and what skills she had that would match.
Due to the nature of this role and company, she made more contacts quickly, and offered to volunteer at other organizations such as TEDx Adelaide, Yelp and Oz Harvest, where she was eagerly accepted, due to the reputation she had built. These three internships were in events and event management and they helped her realise and solidify her love for that type of role – something she had done for multiple family dinners growing up over the years in Malaysia and ultimately move away from pursuing Psychological Science related work.
She then moved on to project management work with Majoran including organizing a national business conference, South Start, workshops and smaller events. After about 6 months of part time work, she helped generate enough revenue that she was able to be paid. She had created her paid job from scratch. After a year she then transitioned into the Managing Director role of the company, all starting as an unpaid un-paid intern!
This type of approach has many advantages for graduates looking for work including a paid job, lots of experience and networks, as illustrated I Aainaa’s example. A big advantage for Aainaa was the work community she is now involved in. “It’s more than strict office job, which I didn’t know existed. It has a different attitude and way of doing things which is far different than a big corporate. I don’t complain about work like a lot of others do, which is pretty cool.”
Based on this, she now feels like she is in a far greater place career-wise than emailing resumes. To explain, when Aainaa returned home to Malaysia recently, her friends and family could tell the stark difference in her compared to 2012 when she was stuck at home. She was looking far better and far happier.
The type of person who would benefit from this different type of approach for getting paid graduate work is who is willing to put in effort beyond others, (which is not much admits Aainaa) even if they receive nothing directly in return. “Realize that employers don’t look at resumes. Employers want to get to know you and they like hiring someone they know and like, not what is written on a piece of paper. They don’t want to take a risk on what you maybe like if they hire you. They want to know first.”
This type of approach has many advantages for graduates looking for work. “You need to approach this with no expectation and that is where the magic happens. You may not getting anything, but it’s a small risk – appreciate the relationships and people meet you there. They will introduce you to work in ways you cannot imagine.”
In Aainaa’s words, “I’m much further ahead in my career because of this. I love my work, and I am on the path to achieving my goal of running a business over the next two years.”