If you’re a design student, the time will come during your college career where you will need to find an internship. Landing an internship is crucial to gain experience in your field. Many schools make it a requirement to acquire one before graduation, while others do not. Regardless of what your school requires, getting an internship will establish your skills, make you more marketable, and help build your professional resume.
I have learned a number of skills on how to land a great internship. I put them to the test and got my internship at PUSH 22. Here are my tips to landing a creative internship:
Go to as many industry events as possible. You never know who you will meet and the contacts you can form. Networking events are a great way to see who is hiring, what employers are looking for, and for you to get your name out there. Google local events and talk to your school about events they offer.
If you want a great internship, you have to have great work. Make sure you showcase your best work, proofread everything, and always be confident when presenting it.
Career service department
Most schools offer a career service department where you can go and get help landing an internship or a job in your field. This department can put you in contact with companies that are hiring and even help you develop a resume. If your school has a career service department, be sure to use it. You pay for it and they are there to help you.
If you apply for an internship online, send a personalized follow-up email showing your interest in the position. Many applications are automatic forms, so it does help to set yourself apart from other candidates. Even if you don’t hear back, it shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and the position.
Cover letter, business cards, and resume
All three of these things are required to obtain a great internship. Even if you don’t use all three all the time, they are essential. Have consistent branding over all of your material and make the content unique. Make your resume one that recruiters want to look at, write your cover letter so it is one they want to read more than once, and design your business card so they will call you for an interview.
Don’t be too picky
It is important to find an internship you are interested in, however, if you are looking for your first one, don’t get too picky. You don’t want to be bored with what you’re doing, but experience in your field is why you are trying to get an internship. Your first one may not be your dream job, but stick with it and it will open the door to more opportunities.
If you land an interview, ask questions. Write them down and bring them in with you. It is important that you know what you are walking into and that both parties have a clear understanding of the expected responsibilities.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it is hard to be patient when waiting to hear back from a company. They are always interview candidates and sometimes it takes a little longer to make a decision. Don’t get discouraged, if you don’t hear back from one company, keep trying!
Dress the part
You are interviewing for a professional position, do NOT wear jeans to an interview. Put on a dress shirt, throw on some heels or a blazer, and look the part. You only get one chance to make a first impression and you don’t want to blow it before you even open your mouth.
The golden rule of obtaining an internship- be kind and be respectful. No one wants to hire someone who has an attitude and shows no respect. Stay focused on the interview, ask questions, and always be sure to say thank you. Also, follow up the interview with a thank you email to show your appreciation for someone taking the time to meet with you.
Getting a creative internship is necessary to build your portfolio, resume, and career. You will get priceless industry experience and meet great people along the way. Don’t wait until you graduate from college to find an internship, start researching and making connections now. I promise, it will pay off in the long run.