It is time of year some might already started searching companies where they can have an internship for in January. This is more a guide for designer and might not fit with other kinds of internships. But if you are a starting student there a few helpful tips between there too.
Collect a portfolio.
For the people who don’t know what a portfolio is, it is a collection of your work and mostly the best works. For most of the students these are works you had done at school unless you were lucky enough to work companies or made works outside school. So for all you students out there don’t throw any project or design away, unless you really don’t like the final result of the design.
For a nice portfolio is the best to use the best print and use good binders or portfolio cases. To leave a great impression is to have 2 versions, one which have everything in a full size printed, mostly be A3 size with posters or other designs, and use an A4 size which you leave at there office so they can look back into your design for a final decision. For the amount it is best to have a minimum of 15 design and a maximum of 20, if you would bring a whole collections of few hundreds you might not have time to show it all and if you show them all they might bet bored along the way. Also it is best to refresh your portfolio every year or if you have a very satisfied project done which you want to add into your portfolio.
For people who have more digital work then print work you could also make a website or use a blog like mine. However some of you might have a blog on Myspace, Facebook or Hyve which is a blog section but it might show a bit too much of your personal things you might not want your future boss know, so it is better to have a blog on Blogger or WordPress. The plus side of this you can add everything into it and don’t have a maximum. Also easy categorizing every design.
Searching the right companies
Depending of your location and level of design it is best to find a company matching your style or taste. You can do this just by viewing their portfolio and clients list on their website. Otherwise you could end up doing designs you really have no feel for, like designing for dance event while you never been to those scenes and don’t know the feel for that target market.
Make a list of the companies you want to apply for and look at which fit your the most, but make sure you have multiple companies to choose, because it is always uncertain if they would choose you or someone else.
Contacting the companies
For a more formal contact I recommend using a letter, which if much better to use when you are aiming at a very professional design firm, plus it is more personal than just an email. However if you are confident enough plus you have an online portfolio to show an email might be easy so they can check out your work directly online.
For a designer an application letter does not have to be standard simple and clean which most teachers might had told you to do that. However there are several things you need to look out when you design things in your letter.
- Don’t use a border around the edge of the letter, because certain borders give a certain feel to the letter. It could look like an diploma or even a funeral letter, so look out with using it in your application letter.
- Don’t use colored paper or black paper, which might make it unreadable or look like some of the important file you need to keep for certain administrations.
- Just don’t use things that would make them mix up with certain office or other documents.
This is my application letter with my own design plus bit my style of a simple pop-up interaction in the letter. As you see the letter is very different compared to a normal letter. You don’t have to stick with most of the standards, because this letter is your way of convincing a company of your design talent and you can already put your design in it.
Also send it in totally crisp and clean conditions to the companies or even drop it by yourself to make sure of it.
When you are sure they had receive your letter or email you should call them if they haven’t replied yet to make sure if they had receive if or if you could talk them into having an interview for the internship.
A call is probably the most personal because you can talk back in real time unlike a letter or email. However you need to call them to make sure of everything and also final way to try to convince them into having a interview.
Unless you know the persons working at the office and what they wear you should go to the interview wearing a cloths that are between casual and formal. However if you are a Gothic or any other way dressed where you might scare off people, you should change your looks if you aim for big professional firms. Because I doubt they would ask you to sit next to a important client during a briefing, while everyone are wearing normal office clothing and you’re looking like a vampire. However you don’t have to come to the interview wearing a tuxedo, just a normal leveled clothing would do.
During the interview it is not only way for them to know you but also the other way around, because you should also see if this company really would fits you and if they can provide you the things you need to learn.
Also make sure you apply for the correct internship. Because some of you might thing Desktop publishing and a Graphic Designer are the same things however there is a major difference, because a Graphic Designer gets freedom to put their own creativity into the designs and DTP only do simple works where you don’t need much of inspiration to do it.
Also do this in time a year up front or half year but not shorter because the spot might been taken by somebody else.