Trainee blog 2: Think “I am only a Trainee”. Don’t! by Hong Bui


In my previous #Trainee blog, I mentioned 03 strategies to set goals for my traineeship at Aalto Startup Center. Being an active player is one of those keys. To elaborate on this topic, in this blog will talk about my experience of boosting self-confidence to grow during a traineeship and how startup employers should widen their search expectations for new trainees.  

Personally, a trainee means a learner at an entry-level. Yet this fact does not hinder my intention to propose fresh ideas to the experienced team. In the contrary, it even drives me harder to absorb expert knowledge from other members and turn them into my own reflective thoughts when facing challenging job tasks.

If you think “I am only a Trainee”, don’t!  

For me, being a Trainee means I have a ‘freemium’ trial time to experience at a new team, engage with new job content, and embrace new challenges to grow myself. It surely does not mean I have less knowledge to give or fewer ideas to be considered. If you think “I am only a Trainee”, don’t! Boost your self-confidence, roll in the work as a full-time member, and put forward a professional learning attitude to every demanding task. I believe by doing this with a fruitful road map, you will succeed in developing yourself as a professional Trainee and truly gain work experiences.

Learning how to build a road map is learning to grow

When starting as a Trainee, designing a learning road map like a leader is essential. It means I have plans to grow myself during traineeship. During my initial discussion with Business Advisors about a startup’s road map, I realized my trainee road map should also include 03 layers, from the highest to the lowest ones: strategic set of goals, an action plan, and a measurable review with my work supervisor:


🎯 Strategic goals reveal your ambitious dream  

The main idea is to equip myself with more professional knowledge in Finnish startup ecosystem and boost my entrepreneurial mindset for later stages in my career. I’ve identified three things I want to achieve in this traineeship: an active and straightforward attitude at work, a nutritious expanded network with startup founders and public sector, and a thorough understanding of how a business accelerator operates.

🚀 Action plankeep you focussed 

An action plan is where any dream becomes down to earth. For example, at Aalto Startup Center we have many training events and open keynotes for both tech-startups and student audiences. To build a nutritious network as I aim to achieve, every week I plan tconnect with our startups’ founders and guest speakers on LinkedIn right after those eventsMy intention is to connect with them and to support their activities in my network.  

🔔 Measurable review prepares for new challenges 

These days, the term Objectives & Key Results’ (OKR) is often used when building a road map. However, I realized OKR can only be effective if we continue reviewing on a regular basis and improving those measurements with outsiders, especially experienced ones. In my case, I meet with my supervisor bi-monthly and over a virtual coffee we spend 30 minutes brainstorming on both current work and upcoming tasks. I often check my working hours, each task resource allocation, and how my work outcomes practically mean for other team members work. This helps me connect with my supervisors, learn from them, and identify my improvement points to prepare for new challenges in the future. 

My reflection for startups 

If you have need to hire a Trainee this Summer, instead of making efforts to identify the most experienced one, aim for those who reveal a great skillset of learning new things. Learning is a life-long journey and will make ways for improvement. Anyone with strategic and solid learning skills would have consistent courage and willingness to drive the innovation, even though it’s only a frugal change and willingness to drive the innovation, even though it’s only a frugal change in your organization. If a startup vouches for a sustainable, expectations for new members should be widened for those who have abilities to learn and improve, not only the ones who already claimed their stands in the market.

#Trainee blog is a series of blogs voicing my experience at Aalto Startup Center as a Business Trainee. I learn and I grow at the same time, through intriguing daily interactions with the team members and startups in different programs.

If you are curious about how life at Aalto Startup Center is, or how startups here interact with our business advisors, give me a ping here to suggest a topic for my next blog.