“I spent my entire internship working from home. Here’s my experience.”

When Lee Xin Hui started her internship with Re Source Partners in June 2021, she had no idea she wouldn’t have the chance to work with her colleagues in person. From June, all the way till the end of her internship in August, Singapore entered various phases of the Heightened Alert measures which mandated work-from-home (WFH) as the default arrangement for companies.

While this was not her first internship experience, she was looking forward to her first time working in an office setting. Alas, that was not on the cards. “I did not have the chance to work in person with the team due to the COVID situation — I worked from home for the whole duration of my internship.” On her first day at work, she only got to meet the team and do her company walkthrough virtually.

Although it was somewhat of a rocky start, she learned to adapt to WFH early on. “I was nervous and uneasy on the first day working from home because I was not familiar with it. It took some time for me to adjust but I got better as I learned how to plan my work day.”

We caught up with Xin Hui before the end of her internship to find out more about her experience working with us.

This is not your first internship but your first in an office setting. How different were these two experiences?

My previous internship was in hospitality where I was in the front office department doing shift work. The experience was very different as the nature of it was more towards customer service. There, I learned how to work under stress while here, I learned new office work skills and how to work independently by myself.

Do you think WFH affected the way your internship went?

While I had to adjust very quickly to WFH, I think my internship went smoothly. I was able to stay productive, complete the tasks appointed to me, and learn all that I set out to do. But it was a pity not being able to meet or work with the team physically during the whole internship period.

How did you cope with this arrangement seeing as the nature of the recruitment business requires a lot of discussions and meetings?

I gave myself daily goals such as listing out things to complete and prioritising them. On top of that, virtual meetings with the team helped me to adjust because it made me feel less uneasy. I also appreciated that there was always someone from the team I could reach out to for help.

Any advice for interns who are going through the same WFH situation?

Always have a schedule to work with as it can make you more productive when you have something to follow though. And be comfortable working on your own!

Did you have any misconceptions about recruitment agencies before you joined us?

I thought recruitment agencies were not involved in hiring for graduate programs until I started working at Re Source Partners. I was happy to have had the chance to help out in graduate program hiring campaigns.

Any memorable moments during your internship?

I’ve had many, like seeing the campaigns that I worked on going ‘live’ on our social media platforms and seeing the marketing flyers I helped create being sent out to schools. I was also able to help with improving our internal workflows. In the process of doing these tasks, I learned to use new applications and what to take note of when doing campaigns.

How did you adapt what you learned in school into real-world application?

I think studying and working are very different. What I learned in school was more theory-based and problems had standard answers. But when it comes to working, the situations are always different and the solutions can be more flexible. It’s good to know the basics but real-world situations really force you to be innovative.

Why do you think an internship is still important amidst the pandemic?

Internships help us learn to be more independent at work. With WFH being more common, this internship helped me to be more organised and to have better self-control.

Give one advice that your mentors at Re Source Partners have given that really stuck with you.

Having a good mentor can really affect a person’s development, and one piece of advice that stuck with me is that failure is normal and everyone makes mistakes. These mistakes help you to learn so that you will not repeat the same mistake again.

Did your internship meet your expectations? What are your biggest learning points? Anything you could have done differently?

Yes, it did. I experienced what it was like to be part of an office environment and I also managed to adjust to working from home. My biggest learning point is to not be afraid to take on new challenges or something I am unfamiliar with. Perhaps I could have been better at taking the initiative to reach out to the team instead of waiting for them to do so.

Any advice to other fresh graduates looking out for internships?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.

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