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How to Nab a Great Graphic Design Internship

Sat, Feb 11, 2012

Internship Information

College is a time to explore your interests, both personal and professional. And while you should certainly take time to meet people and have some fun, you also need to prepare for a lot of hard work if you want to reach graduation and have the best chances for starting a career once you culminate. Part of the college experience, should you choose to participate, is the wide world of internships. You might not think that you have time to squeeze this in, especially if you already have to work a part-time job to make ends meet, but you should do whatever is necessary to clear a little space in your schedule. An internship is not just a way to get experience for your résumé; it is also an opportunity to get your foot in the door (potentially turning your credit-only stint into a paying gig after graduation) and network with industry professionals that could help you down the line. So if you’re interested in entering the field of graphic design and you’re seeking an internship, here are a few ways to beat the competition and nab the chance of a lifetime.

  1. Know your stuff. The first and most important part of making yourself the frontrunner for any position is confidence, as long as it’s not misplaced. Remember that you’re up against other students, not professionals that have been in the industry. So the fact that you probably have little experience in the job market is not an issue. What is important is your ability to answer (and ask) pertinent questions about the internship during your interview. If you can demonstrate your knowledge with a fair amount of self-assurance, you’ll be more relaxed and focused during the interview, which only improves your odds of nailing it.
  2. Be punctual. This applies to both the application and the interview process. Nothing will turn off a prospective employer faster than someone who isn’t together enough to meet simple deadlines. So get your applications in early and when you do get called for an interview, plan for every contingency to ensure that you arrive well ahead of your appointment.
  3. Be professional. Even though it’s not a paid position, you need to comport yourself in a professional manner throughout the application process. So take pains to dress appropriately for an interview and behave in a way that shows you understand what is expected in a business environment. Be friendly, attentive, and confident during your interview. And always be careful what you say (be diplomatic in all answers and never complain).
  4. Check in. Calling back frequently to check in with your interviewers is always a good idea. If they’re on the fence about you, your obvious eagerness could push them over the edge, and it never hurts to keep your name fresh in the mind of potential employers. Just don’t call too often, and take them at their word. If they say they’ll get back to you at a certain time, give them a chance to live up to it. There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.
  5. Build a portfolio. Even though this is an internship and you’re not necessarily expected to have experience here, a few samples of work to highlight your skills could really help you nab the internship. And it’s not like you have to seek out business web hosting in order to post a professional site. Just build yourself a basic personal page to showcase the projects you’ve undertaken for classes or in your free time. You’ll give the company a taste of what you can do and one more reason to offer you the internship.
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