Advice for Design Grads and Interns
Are you finishing a design degree or about to take the leap into your first internship? Stay tuned! We’ve put together this handy blog post just for you, with hints and tips.
Firstly, it’s good to note these are personal opinions and other studios or individuals may think differently! We’ll delve into four topics: your portfolio and CV, the use of email, the interview, and the internship. As well as provide so great resources which may come in handy!
What’s the choice for your portfolio or CV? Print or digital? Our advice is to go for digital and have a website.
Keep your portfolio clean and minimal. Make it all about the projects with well-composed images of your top work. Avoid unnecessary graphics that distract from the work you’re trying to show off. We recommend between six and eight projects. If you don’t have enough projects or aren’t happy with your portfolio then create more projects with your own brief.
Remember, potential employers won’t just look at the images in your folio. They’ll look at everything, including the typography, structure, and grids. For example, they may scan the text for consistency as it demonstrates if you have a good eye for consistent spacing, tracking, and leading, that you use capital letters where appropriate, and have decent grammar and spelling.
Need help searching for a job? Look no further than TDK The Design Kids – This is a fantastic global online resource for student and graduate graphic designers. They aim to educate, inspire and connect you to the design industry.
You are ten times more likely to get a response from a studio if you make your job application personal. So use the name of the studio and the individual you’re approaching, say specifically why you’re reaching out to them and provide them with a link to your digital portfolio and/or website. A custom email signature is also a great idea and will make you look more professional.
Give studios time to write back. They may not get around to your application for a week or more. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t reply at all (unfortunately, a lot probably won’t). If they do write back with a yes or no, make sure to say thank you! This really makes a difference. Even if they said no, it’s more likely that they’ll keep you on file and potentially reach out down the track if you’ve been polite and kept in contact. Make sure you spell the studio’s or individual’s name correctly! Mistakes like this happen way too frequently and result in your email being instantly deleted. Aim high! Don’t shy away from approaching top companies. Getting a foot in the door at these companies will be very beneficial and will open more doors.
Be prompt, but not too prompt. Don’t show up too early for an interview, but 100% don’t be late! Just be on time. Always be positive and enthusiastic about the company and your work and don’t speak negatively about your previous work or say what you can’t or didn’t do. Don’t show work that you know you can’t talk confidently about. It will look like you didn’t do it.
Lastly – The Internship! Always take on advice and feedback. There’s nothing worse than an intern who thinks they know better. Never feel like you can’t ask questions or for help. It is way better to ask questions upfront than get stuck, sit on your worries, and waste time. You’ll learn more in an internship than you ever did at uni (shh… don’t tell your uni). Lastly, if your employer isn’t giving you enough responsibility or experience, speak up! Some internships will be better than others. Make sure you’re happy with the one you’re in and that they aren’t taking you for a ride.