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How To Get A Great Internship For Graphic Design

Competition for graphic design internships is fierce, but landing a great opportunity doesn't have to be a challenge. There is a bit of research and legwork you should do before sending your qualifications to the hiring companies. You need to know where to find available intern positions, how to create a superb application, and what is expected of you after you are offered a position.

Perhaps the biggest difference between being an intern and an employee is the salary. Some companies are large enough to pay their interns, while some small businesses use interns to cover positions they can't afford to pay for otherwise. Instead, they can offer you the chance to gain work experience in exchange for college credit. Strongly consider your reasons for wanting an internship so you search out appropriate opportunities and are not disappointed if the position does not meet your standards.

Finding an internship isn't as easy as reading the ‘help wanted' section of the classified ads. Newspapers, magazines, and other agencies and publishers may not advertise their available graphic design internships because they receive enough unsolicited applications. Ask friends you know in the industry; consider asking your graphic design professors as they're connected and very knowledgeable outside of the classroom. College career counselors are informative, as are the websites of the graphic design firms at which you want to apply. Start your search early in the school year and be willing to go out of the way to find an opportunity other students may have missed.

Applying for a graphic design internship requires professionalism even if the position is unpaid. Create a resume using clean, easy to read font, preferably in black ink. Your resume is not the medium with which to show your creativity and design skills. A portfolio consisting of high-quality examples of your work should be provided with your application. An online resume and portfolio may be appropriate in some cases. Submit the package with a personalized cover letter, specifically addressed to the person doing the hiring. Make a phone call if needed to confirm his or her name and correct spelling.

Sending out a top-notch cover letter, resume, and portfolio does not necessarily set you apart from other applicants. Set yourself apart by tending to details. References, testimonials, and an extraordinary portfolio can make an editor skip over one application in favor of yours. Ask your graphic design professors for references. Solicit testimonials from those whom you worked on large school projects with. Include a variety of print and online design samples so the person doing the hiring can see the extent of your abilities. Get creative, but stay professional.

Even if you're applying for an unpaid graphic design internship, expect to be interviewed by a senior graphic designer or another department head. It isn't uncommon for companies to rehire interns as permanent employees once they receive their college degree. Your communication and interpersonal skills will likely be evaluated in determining if you are the best candidate for the position. Consider an internship interview no different from a job interview—dress professionally and sell yourself and your skills.

With considerable competition for internships in graphic design, it's important to follow up on your application. Many hiring managers specifically hire only those applicants who take the time to make a phone call or send a thank you note after an interview. There is a fine line however—too many phone calls or emails may be seen as annoying or bothersome. If you keep the lines of communication flowing, you'll put yourself in the best position to land a great internship in graphic design.


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            Graphic Design (BS)
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            Graphic Arts (AAS)

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            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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            Latest Graphic Design Articles & News

            Designers to submit artwork to wine label contest
            Graphic designers and artists are now able to enter the annual Artist Series Wine Label Design contest for The Capital Grille, and can submit their creations until October 7, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

            Graphic designers fighting against new design opportunity at Huffington Post
            The Huffington Post has recently issued a contest, asking graphic designers to create a new logo. However, the winning individual will not be paid for their design - they will only be recognized by name, rather than compensation, according to AdWeek.

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