Internships at corporations not well known for design

Hello everyone,

I’m applying for internships this week and a couple of the companies on my list are not “design companies” or firms, but I would love to work for them because I’ve used and enjoyed their products for years. Should I apply to these companies just like I would apply for a job at a design firm, or am I barking up the wrong tree? How would you approach these companies differently?

It will help if you can at least find out who a designer is there so you can send your work to their attention.

I like your website, very clean and easy to use. Did you design it from scratch?

These are the situations where LinkedIn comes in handy.

I would approach both if possible, (maybe this is obvious). Let them know in a short cover letter why you like their work/products but don’t forget to list what you can bring to the table) - look at some sources for writing good cover letters. One of the issues for companies taking on interns if they don’t normally do it, is that it does take some time away from someone to supervise that person, sometimes that person is supervised by a manager then assigned to work for a “buddy” in the design / engineering group (this is how they did it where I worked), it is a little extra work for them in addition to all their current tasks, so maybe let them know you can be self-directed and require little supervision.

Thank you everyone for the responses. I’ll find out who the designers at those companies are, and be sure to emphasize the value I will bring to the company if they hire me.

I’m using for my website.

One more quick question. If a company doesn’t have an internship opening listed on their website, how much does that hurt your chances of getting a response or getting hired by them? Is it typical to not have internships listed online? Would it be a nearly hopeless endeavor to apply anyways?

Even great positions might not be advertised. You want to be on that directors desk before they say “Man, we really need another person here.”

Always, always, contact companies you want to work for. It gets your name out there.

It may not be in your best interest to intern at a company that does not usually have interns. I know of internships where, because they were not used to having an intern, the intern was not able to learn as much as they could have at a place where the company regularly hire interns.