Build resume. Build portfolio. Review. Edit. Repeat. Surf the web. Click-click. Apply. And wait. Repeat. This is the process of a college student seeking an internship. You don’t need to feel sympathy for me, or any college students floating in limbo trying to get an internship their junior year. The key is persistence, dedication, and connections.
Here’s a couple insider tips and helpful resources to find an internship:
Use LinkedIn. If you don’t have one, after you’re done reading this blog post, go and make one. Start connecting today. In case you don’t know what LinkedIn is, it’s the professional, businessy Facebook. The beauty behind LinkedIn is you can start connecting with friends. Then the branches of connections increase. You can connect with friends of your friends within the industry, ask for a introduction, and send Inmail (the email within LinkedIn) straight to those in the industry. Having a LinkedIn allows for you to list all your experience, and allows the professional public to take a more in depth look, apart from your résumé.
Use internship search websites. One useful site I used was internmatch.com. Internmatch is like a dating site, but you’ll be searching for your perfect internship. You can choose from categories such as location, keywords, professions, paid/unpaid, etc. and it will find you the perfect matches within your filters. I also used the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) website, as a resource to see what design companies were seeking interns. This website lists top companies in the industry seeking interns. Search on Google – for sites like this – but try to avoid scam internship sites, they are out there!
Use personal connections. This is the most important one. If you’re attending a college or university talk to your department professors and advisors, see what connections your school might have to the industry. I can’t stress this one enough. In a creative field, many times it’s competitive. My boss here at Verbal+Visual graduated from the same program I’m in. This is was the sole reason this opportunity became available to me. The connections through the program opened up an alumni base. I’m receiving the same education, from the same professors they had and that connection creates trust and builds support for the internship position, as well as future career opportunities.
I received my internship after 5 months of the search process in one of the most bumpin’ cities on the map, New York City. Verbal+Visual is a digital agency building websites and platforms to help companies and organizations grow their businesses. Going into the internship, as far as web design goes, I had 0 experience. That’s right 0. All my background was in print design. One thing to keep in mind if you’re in the same boat as me is that web design at it’s base is still design. Plain and simple. Don’t get scared of the medium. Just use your design background, and thrive.
I wanted to show my situation as an example, and as hope. Just apply everywhere that interests you even if you have little to no experience at all. If your portfolio has great work, there’s no doubt they’ll consider you, or land you an interview. An internship is a learning experience anyway, so seek a place where you can learn and create great work, instead of sliding by and creating great work. At the end of the day, you will get the most out of your internship if you’re learning, being challenged, and then through this create great work.