I love working with students. If I hadn’t pursued web design, I probably would have been happy staying at WWU and working with Resident Life forever. But, since that didn’t happen, my hope is that I can help to inspire and motivate young students interested in the graphic design (print and web). I first realized that web design was the path for me my junior year in high school. I had always had a passion for art, but I also loved working with computers. Web design was a natural next step.
Before entering my junior year at WWU (Go Vikings!) I had almost no experience in designing, let alone using any of the software that graphic designers usually work with. I was starting from scratch, which was scary considering most of my classmates had at least some experience.
One thing that I regret about my time at WWU was that I didn’t participate in an internship. Internships are a great way for young designers to get their feet wet and get a taste of the professional workplace. It’s not always easy to find, or get, an internship. Fret not! Here are a few tips to help you through your journey to professional office experience!
Please keep in mind that these are just my opinions from my past experiences. There are a ton a great resources out there filled with to help you out. These suggestions are just some of many. Go out and search around as well.
Part 1: How to get an internship:
- Do a quick search – First check the design firms that you’re most interested in. Check their website if they offer internships, and especially pay attention if they don’t. If they expressly don’t offer mentorship/internship opportunities, move on. However, not every firm is so specific, if you’re not sure, you may want to call and inquire.
- Email the design firm – Craft a short, but descriptive email letter to the firm inquiring about their internship program. Make sure you tell them how you heard about the internship, and include a cover letter, resume, and link to your online portfolio. If you don’t have an online portfolio, make one, or send in hard copy examples of your work. If you do send in hard copies, make sure to specify whether or not you’d like them returned. If you’d like your work returned, make sure to provide appropriate packaging and postage. WARNING: there is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll get your portfolio examples back; what’s more, the pieces might get damaged in transit, or at their office. Make sure that you’re prepared to lose anything you send. DO NOT send anything you absolutely cannot part with.
- Return calls! – If you provide your phone number, make sure you always check your voicemail. Don’t leave a potential employer hang’n!
- Be persistent – Make sure you keep your name fresh in their minds. Don’t pester them, but after sending in your application, call and make sure they received it. After a week or so, inquire again; ask if they need anything else from you. Wait another two weeks or so, and call again.
- Be Patient – Sometimes it takes awhile for a company to make a decision. Don’t get too panicky if you don’t hear back right away.