How to get an internship?

This is my first post so ill introduce myself! Im Allan, 20, from Glasgow, Scotland. Im currently in my 3rd year studying product design and innovation at Strathclyde and I am looking for an internship for this summer!

Here’s my problem:

My eyes have recently been opened to what ID really is (mostly by this site!) and I feel my course does not have enough actual design in it. The first two years have really been “foundation” courses as I see it, with management, economics, manufacturing and entrepreneurship all featuring over actual design! Last year in fact I did no drawing at all within uni!

Anyway I recently sent out my resume to some ID companies, most of which were met with a “send us a folio” type reply.
The problem I have I what little design work I have done in the past 2 years I would not want to put my name on! Im over half way through third year now and we are actually doing some concepts and design work, but this is mainly to get us to a point to teach us other things (parametric cad modelling) and so we are rushed through.

Essentially I don’t have a folio to send! I have started working on my sketching skills and have been doing some reasonable work I feel in concept stages.

Another problem with my course I feel is that they taught us how to use ProE which is all well and good except vie never used a rendering package like Rhino to make things look good.

What would you advise I do for my folio? Im currently doing some concepts that I would actually put in there, and will b doing some model making to prove concepts. Should I try to get to grips with a rendering package?

Are companies really looking for a polished finish even from a student? I have alot to learn!

On a good note one of my good friends is a graphics designer and she said she’d give me a hand on presenting my work well.

I need some advice! Thanks for reading my rant

no tips anyone?

You’re in a tough spot.

I’m not telling you (or anyone) what to do.

What I would do if I was in your shoes…

  1. transfer schools.

  2. wait it out at school, once you start taking design classes (if and when), then develop your skills and portfolio.

  3. start designing your own projects and portfolio. develop a serious sketchbook showing your design process, skills, and thinking ability.

  4. have a Pulitzer prize winning cover letter. without a sketchbook, portfolio, experience, or anything to show, that would be your only crutch. seriously, Pulitzer prize winning, not one typo. probably use 24k gold as paper.

I don’t want to make it off as if I’m poking directly at you here, that’s not my intent at all… but as of right now, from what I’ve read on your post, you would be of no benefit to any company to bring you on as an intern. You may actually have great design skills, but right now you can’t prove that to anyone without a portfolio or well developed sketch book. The company wants to benefit from you, simply put, not just give you a free ride. Regardless of pay or no pay internship, it’s going to cost them time and money to speak with you, bring you on, and “waste” their time showing you their process step by step, when they could hire an unpaid intern graduate full-fledged designer. I say this through the company’s perspective. They’re not even sure of what you can bring to the table, you’ve got to prove it.

I’m not saying it’s impossible for you. With a few small steps, you can build up enough of a resume/cover letter/portfolio that you can ‘get in’.

Companies want fresh non-paid interns, but give them some substance, something to bite onto, a taste.

Switch roles between yourself and a prospective company looking for an intern. There are a lot of students out there looking for internships, what would you be looking for? Who would you accept? Who would you deny?

Good luck, hang in there, then go after it.

You could always apply for a CAD jockey position… sounds like you’ve got that covered… :wink:

Seriously though its going to be tough without a portfolio, or at least a decent sketchbook. Taylor makes a great point… try to find that 24k Gold paper… :wink:

Taylor thanks for the reply!

Firstly I dont think i can change schools now, as that may push me over the edge!!

We have started doing some proper design projects now, and so i am currently working on my folio however its not exactly to the standard i would like to send out as yet. I have also started working on my sketching skills at home and trying to create my own style, clearly though this takes time!

I feel personaly that my thinking process side of design is good however im still struggeling to put it down on paper well.

What im thinking at the moment is that i only have to do a small amount of work for my folio? What size of folio would you see as acceptable?

I was thinking for mine:

1.A couple of rough concept sheets (although obviously now that rough)
2. Some pictures of models to explore ideas.
2.Some development drawings, showing detail and mechanisms etc
3. Some “nice” marker renderings
4.A ProE model
5.A computer rendering (i have no experience of how to)
6. Possible some technical drawings

Does that seem acceptable or should i put more emphasis on sketching?

My essay writing skills have been finely tuned by 2 years of non-design classes and so my resume and covering letter should be reasonable high standard. I was thinking more along the lines of carbon fiber paper with gold set into it!!

Thanks for the reply, much much appreciated!

haha i dunno about that! gold so old school, i expected more from some this site lol.

mibby ill get my covering letter printed onto a carbon fiber hood from a ferrari…

Oh sorry eh ehhmmm…

Honestly… Most places dont even want your cover letter printed and mailed… they would prefer to have a portfolio emailed to them .pdf format. Or a link to which they can then download a copy for themselves.

First off… Can you sketch? And can you do it WELL? and FAST?

What a potential employer is really looking for in your portfolio IS (and this has probably been said so often its almost cliche) how you THINK… they want to see your thought process thrrough a series of sketches… Now youve said that you havent done much design work, I would start sketching IMMEDIATELY… even if its on your own and put it into your portfolio.

Sure pretty CAD renders are nice, but HOW did you get there? Tell your story through images about your designs and renders. One of my professors told me that if I could design my portfolio to tell my story WITHOUT any words do it. The fewer words the better, because IMO no one really reads what you wrote in your portfolio UNLESS they like an image and it intrigues them.

Another thing is think about your portfolio… think about how this piece of work is describing YOU. Its telling some HR manager to hire YOU over that other guy. How can you stand out of the crowd? Sure you can use 8.5 x 11 for your portfolio… but probably most everyone else is using that same size… make your resume and portfolio make a statement. Make it rememberable… not forgettable. Be creative, this is after all what they are looking for…

Its all on how you want to spin it. If you want a CAD jockey job… put alot of CAD drawings in your portfolio… if you want a design job, show them how you think things through sketches and actually DESIGN.

just my $.02


brilliant! thanks alot, ill drop the cad stuff then and concentrate on my sketching, does it really matter how much you show them? (clearly as i dont have alot just now im really trying to focus on creating my quality ratehr than quantity)

The reason i ask is it seems that alot of the design places are choosing interns soonish and so i dont really have the time to create alot of work as well as a high standard

ohhh and yeh i was planning on making it a pdf, hopefully my friend (whos a graphic designer) will help me present my work to a good standard. standard

New plan :
1.A couple of rough concept sheets (although obviously not that rough)
2. Some pictures of physical models to explore ideas.
2.Emphasis on development drawings, showing detail and mechanisms, evolution of ideas etc
3. Some “nice” marker renderings
4.A computer rendering (if i can get to grips with a program in time)


I really do have a passion for design again, i remember now why i choose to do it at high school. I think that its just a matter of time and practise before i get good (sorry for sounding a bit cocky there but its a hard thing to write)

I wouldn’t say drop the CAD stuff completely, because as of right now this is one of your strengths…

As a fresh still in school intern, they will be looking for sketches. Along with quality of ideas, and resolution of ideas through sketching. I dont know how many projects you have as of right now but typically you could show…

Sketches- As many as possible… (again the seeing how you think)

More refined hand drawings - not necessarily “nice” marker renderings but thinking about quantity and quality here… find a nice in between where you can pump them out but they still look good at the same time.

DO show your CAD stuff

and its not a big deal if you dont have a computer rendering… do you have any physical models that youve made? pictures work wonders!

PS. Also have as many people as you can read through your resume coverletter and portfolio… misspellings and grammar mistakes are a HUGE turn off… as soon as someone finds one they might not even look any further…

PPS… think about this… there is a hiring manager with a thousand of these things on his or her desk… they probably flip through them relatively fast… what are you going to put in there to grab their attention? and make them not put your portfolio down in 10 seconds like the did the one before yours.

thanks again, yeh i do have some physical models ill be using now, im away to work on some sketches ! :smiley:

be sure to post your results… :stuck_out_tongue:

Hi Allan, you made a good move by recognizing your situation and soliciting advice here, so step 1’s down. Internships are good to have under your belt, they help you get some “real world” experience, but they aren’t the end-all be-all to landing a full time position. I was in a very similar situation where I recognized that my school wasn’t offering all of the types of classes that I wanted to be taking. I knew what I needed to have in my portfolio, and I knew they weren’t going to get me there, and I was already 2 years in. What my school did have was decent model making, so I did a model making internship. When I graduated I went to another school and took some ID illustration courses and a 3D rendering class.

As a back-up plan to an internship you could consider finding a school that offers the kind of classes that you feel you need and you could take the time you would have spent working at an internship and take those classes instead. This is also something you can put on a resume to show employers that you take initiative and a thirst for skills and knowledge. There were a few upper classmen of mine who opted to go to Art Center in California for summer break and take classes, they came back with a serious boost to their skillset. Think of it as an educational enhancement eh?

I agree with most of the other people’s comments here. If you’re modeling in Pro-E then you might be able to export the models and import them into a rendering package. Dig around the net, or ask here if anyone knows of a good method for doing this. Good Luck.

Hear your predicament mate.

From what i know here in the UK its not quite the same as popping over to another Univeristy to take summer courses. I myself looked for similar as i heard alla bout top notch guys taking summer courses at Pasadena. Anyway i think Royal college of art do “short courses” but thats just a hunch so try there.

The pro e top notch render sitatution…

Export the model as an STL and play around with the chord heights to minimise the triangalation on your model. You can then import into programs like maxwell. If its still to triangly then try using the Obj setting.

You can download a free trial of maxwell and use all its capabilities all it does is bung a water mark on it. to solve this you need to buy it. However i recomend if u plan to use it play with it first before you buy. Like i said you can use the whole program fine so you might as well just set it up in the maxwell then when your ready purchase it.

For a rendering programme check out 3ds max. As a student you can get a full version from JourneyEd for £90.

I use ProE as well and as Sketchme says you can export your models as an STL into Max from it.

thanks for the reply’s all

ive had a look into the courses at the royal colllege of art but it needs more research.

at the moment im going to try and focus on improving my skills as much as i can and creating a semi decent folio, im gna give the pro-e rendering a go as well!

once again thank folks some really great advice, ill post up how i get on!

Firstly i would drop pro-e.

no one, uses pro e in any creative or mock-up situation, continue your sketching, explore possibilities of doing life drawing lessons in your uni. I would try and expand what software you can use, because if your stuck with just pro-e, you will not be hired. i would recommend a good mix of surface and solid modellers ranging from 3dsmax, to ideas to zbrush to give you a range of skills available.

remember your portfolio is another way for prospective companies to see how you work, not how polished you can make things, they want to see how you generate forms, how good your mark making is, how well you translate your sketched ideas to a more controllable computer generated model.