Internship Requirements?

I’m in a weird situation. I graduated in ID almost a year ago but haven’t even bothered to look for employment. I have a job that I really like. It also pays the bills with some money left over at the end of every month, and I only have to work four days a week. Over the past couple of months, however, I’ve realized that it’s becoming less and less challenging for me, and it’s time to get a ‘proper’ ID job. I know I’m good at what I do, but much of my portfolio doesn’t reflect that, so it’s getting re-worked until I’m a little happier with it.

To get to the question - I think half the reason I’ve not bothered looking for a job is that I never did an internship and my real-life design experience is lacking. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable being hired as a paid designer because I’m not even sure what it’s like to work in the field. Instead of jumping head-first into trying to get someone to pay me money, I’ve decided that an internship might be a better idea. I can gain experience with a little less responsibility than a paid designer, while at the same time keeping my current job until I’m ready to make the permanent change. (I’d be taking about a $10,000 pay cut as an entry-level designer anyway).

Aside from the obvious fact that it seems late for someone who’s already graduated to apply for an internship, does this seem weird to you? I’ve talked to some employers who feel that if you can’t make at least a 3-day per week commitment to an internship, most won’t even consider you. Is this true? I can commit that time if I need to… Also, is there anything different for an internship interview than a job interview?

Sorry if I’m so long-winded. I’m a stickler for details and it’s 6am - it’s been a long day!

I would suggest you try to get a full-time position over an internship or, something you didn’t mention, freelance in your time away from your other job. I think that if your education was worth anything, you should be as productive as anyone would expect an entry level designer would be. Moreover, in my interviews no one asks me about my 6 month (albeit part time) internship, only about the 2 month contract I had after graduation. I get the feeling people (at least here) feel that internship=stuffing envelopes or something.

Consider freelancing also. You can set your own work hours, so you should be able to work it in around your other job. Freelancing will give you some real world experience and even better it will show initiative on your resume.

If you really want to intern instead though, I think companies will take you up on it if your portfolio is good enough. If someone needs an extra designer, I don’t see how they could turn down getting one below the going rate.

Wow, inspring…

  • You graduated in ID but never looked for a job or internship
    You left school with a sub-par portfolio (what were you doing?)
    You’re looking for an internship with “less responsibility” than entry-level
    You don’t even want to commit to an internship (because you like your mindless job due to its 4-day week and slightly higher salary.)

Let me go out on a limb here an assume you didn’t foot the bill for your degree?

Sorry for being harsh, but I would never hire even an intern knowing those things.
In this economy “its time to get a proper job” doesn’t cut it. Competition is fierce. If you’re not willing to commit to design as a lifestyle, then you’re not likely to ever make it.

PS, I’m quite sure there are plenty of designers in Bangalore and Beijing willing to pick up your slack without a 3-day-a-week contingency.

Gee, that hurt so much… :unamused:

First - the job I have now is anything BUT mindless. I’m just ready to move on. I don’t think that’s a crime, and it doesn’t make me less of a person.

While I do take responsibility for graduating without what I consider a great portfolio, I place most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of the school I attended. A year after graduation, less than 10% of our graduates have gotten jobs in ID - I’m far from the exception. Our thesis project lasts three semesters and leaves no room or time for working on other projects. From what I understand, this is going up for review by the administration this year because it is not successful. I also completed an apprenticeship during my time in school, as well as working 30+ hours a week. I have paid all of my bills on my own, thank you very much. I love ID, it’s just that I let my life circumstances take control of my life. And that’s why I’m making this change.

My graduating year was the FIRST that my school didn’t offer an internship program, and we’ve all suffered. I’ve spent the last year getting my portfolio up to speed (I’m nearly finished) and working hard at my other job - it’s only four days a week because it’s exhausting. I get paid well because there’s a high burn-out rate, and that’s how I’m starting to feel. I am successful in that field because I’m good at what I do, but I never planned on staying there for very long.

The “less responsibility” thing is because I’ve never had a professional job and never had an internship in this field. I know that I’m not the only person that this has ever happened to, but I also have something called Social Anxiety Disorder. It sounds like an excuse, but imagine if every day of your life felt like a job interview, or the night you had to meet your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. I’ve come a long way in the past couple of years, and I’m ready to get working in the field I love.

I knew I’d get some “holier than thou” answers from assholes in here, but that’s not why I asked this question. Thanks to everybody else who feels like helping me out.

I left school with no portfolio, but a lot of great work ready to be organized into one. I hope that is what Chief’s situation is (that is what I assumed).

It’s not clear from Chief’s post how long he had his degree (perhaps just 10 months?). I can’t blame someone for working another job to pay the bills while organizing their resume and portfolio. I think that is better than putting alot of crappy resumes out there and making bad first impressions.

Lastly, Chief sounds like he is not confident in his/her design skills. While this is not good, I can’t blame them. Many people leave school very intimidated of the field, but go on to be successful.

I really admire your work Mr. Gielow, but I think your post was a bit overly negative. With your experience, you have alot of positive advice that you could give chief that might inspire him to reach higher, and I’d like to hear that.

I think alot of what cg is stating is true. The fact remains ID is a very competitive field where there are more students graduating every year than positions available.

There’s nothing wrong with taking time off or pursuing another career, but you just have to be realistic about getting back into ID. Being out of school as long as you have, I would imagine it will be a challenge for you to obtain an internship position. Interns are often not self efficient and require alot of hand holding which costs the employers time and money. If it is not for educational reason (school credit), many times companies will not take interns who are not in school.

Also, as stated above, you should be able to get a full time entry level position with your degree at this point even without internship experience if your portfolio supports it. Personally, I did not have any internship experience in school. I had one industry sponsored project and 1 freelance project under my belt when I got my first ID job 8 months after graduation. It’s possible.

At the end, your portfolio will speak for itself.

Good luck.

Look, I wouldn’t be posting here if I didn’t care for your situation.

Its a bitter pill, but I guarantee it’s shared by all those unemployed designers out there reading this right now who not only already have great portfolios, but are also agressively competing (against you!) for anything they can get.

Just being a designer is hard. You have to prove yourself constantly against the competition.

At this point, you need to get off the sidelines and get in the game mentally. You can’t play if you’re ready to get on (in!) the field.

Also, forget about your schooling. Everyone bitches about how their school didn’t prepare them. The 10% issue isn’t unique–it’s actually quite typical, even in good programs. I think this is partly becuase ID is such an open field…

My advice: get your portfolio together and looking great. Forget about 3-days a week–go out and sell yourself and sell your enthusiasm for design and being a designer. Forget about the money, it will come later (if you don’t suffer a little bit now, you’ll look back in 10 years with regret, and fewer options!)

Now get out there!