Linked into an Internship

Rajvi Rangrej

The idea of using LinkedIn or other networking platforms was something AUT Criminology and Psychology student Rajvi Rangrej found difficult.

“Due to my social anxiety, I was unable to put myself out in public where others might see what I was doing.”

She managed to avoid the public eye until she joined the AUT Edge Award programme and had to create a LinkedIn profile. Dutifully she set up a basic profile but didn’t respond to any direct messages she received from individuals.

“I lacked the communication skills and was unsure if making a LinkedIn profile and engaging with others would lead to anything beneficial.”

Then one day Rajvi posted a logo she designed for the AUT Indian Student Association Club, encouraged by friends who thought it was worth highlighting. Design was a hobby for Rajvi, so she’d been happy to create a logo for the club. Her friends were impressed and thought she should showcase her design talent on LinkedIn, alongside her study. AUT Indian Student Association logo

Initially she was worried that people would negatively critique her work, particularly when she didn't have formal design training. But within a few days she had received many positive responses and queries about the meaning behind the logo.

“I was amazed and my attitude towards LinkedIn shifted. I found people appreciated my work and I could use LinkedIn as a forum to discuss design even though I wasn’t formally studying it. I started to connect with a lot of like-minded people from similar backgrounds who had the same passion.”

A naturally shy person, Rajvi was surprised at how easy it became to communicate via LinkedIn with people in the design industry.

“It helped that I was excited to talk about design.”

Even so, Rajvi found it scary initially to accept coffee invitations, but she bravely did so and found she was connecting with many “incredible individuals'' already working in the industry.

“This gave me greater insights into how the design industry works and what is expected of me if I were to move into design roles.”

LinkedIn also helped Rajvi research how people moved into UX roles through viewing their work experience. She says it was encouraging to see that people often built on their skills in other design roles to get into UX. She eventually approached a couple of website creators and landed an design internship with The Design House, her first formal step toward a career in UI/UX design.

Rajvi has now completed her degree and is continuing to work part-time as a graphic designer at The Design House.
“I’m working on the building blocks of a designer, such as Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign, but I’m also enrolled in a set of online courses to further my UI/UX skills.”

She credits the Edge Award for getting her to use LinkedIn – and also helping her develop better communication skills.

“Honestly, before doing volunteering (for the Edge Award) I was really scared to talk to strangers. Volunteering helped me develop better communication skills and push through my uncertainties, although at the time I didn’t realise what I was gaining. It also opened up the world of LinkedIn to me – and a new career opportunity.”

Want to know more?AUT E Lab 3

Find out more about the AUT Edge Award and Beyond AUT Award here.

If you want to enrol in a workshop on LInkedIn, or other employability workshops, sign into Elab Online where you’ll find person-to-person appointments and workshops available.

Not used Elab Online before? It’s easy. Just sign in with your AUT user name and password as a ‘Current Student’ or ‘Graduate’ depending on your status.