Ask the recruiter... How can I land my dream internship?
In this month’s Ask the Recruiter, our Senior Creative Consultant Emma Acton-Bloom is helping all of you green university grads get ready for the real working world by answering the oft-asked question … How can I land my dream internship?
Before applying for anything. Research, research, research!
Have a think about where you want to be in 5, 10 and even 15 years then look at those who are currently in those positions. Where did they start? How long did they stay in each of their positions? You don’t have to completely mirror their journey’s but reading up on them will give you greater insight into the focus and preparation needed to get to your dream role. We have some super inspiring career tales here.
Identify the agencies you like, get to understand their work, their clients, their style. The more you know about them, the better you will stand out when you make your introduction.
It’s also a good idea to actively keep up with industry news and design jobs boards like ours, not to apply for any roles just yet, but to learn which skills and traits employees want from their ideal candidate.
Get a little help from your friends
If you have friends, family members or lecturers in your chosen sector, now’s the time to call on a favour. Ask them for an intro, find out whether they know of any suitable internships available and ask them to put you forward. Drop a line to any of the guest lecturers you’ve connected with during your studies or anyone you met at your shows, they may be able to help too.
Perfect your CV & portfolio
Put what you’ve learned about type/layout into action and design yourself a simple identity – you are your own very individual brand, after all! The research stage should come in useful here, as you can draw style inspiration from your favourite agencies.
With regards to portfolio’s, avoid stills. If you have motion, web or app work show them off in all its glory. The employee needs to live it to truly get a sense of your fabulous skills.
When it comes to CV’s keep it clear, clean, and uncluttered with paragraphs no more than 4 to 5 lines. We've written a whole post on perfecting your CV, so if you're in need of more tips click here.
Attention to detail is key as you never know if a Creative Director is watching.
It’s a nice touch to add something about your personality at the end of both your folio and CV. You might want people to know that you are passionate about fishing, cooking, painting, travelling. But make it interesting and keep it clear and simple at this stage.
Know your worth
Don’t get disheartened if you struggle to find an internship within your first few months out of university. That’s common and doesn’t mean you should settle for less.
You want an internship that will help you reach your career goals. So take all the time you need to ensure you don’t waste any further down the line.
Think quality rather than quantity. Only contact agencies that you can see yourself working within and where your style and key principles are reflected; those are the ones you’ll likely to hear back from because if you showcase yourself correctly they’ll notice the same about you.
Stay selective about the internships you apply for. You want to make your applications memorable and personal and you can’t do that if you’re blanket-applying to everything available.
Look at online listings of Top 100 agencies, which you will find via Design Week, Creative Review, The Drum, this should give you a marker on the level to look at, many of these have graduate programme already in place so you can be certain that you’ll actually be learning credible skills rather than being a glorified tea maker!
If you’re looking for further career advice, check out some of our previous posts in our Ask the Recruiter series here.