Blue Deer Design


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How to get a design internship!

This blog is the story of how I bagged my first design internship...


If you haven't watched the video here is a brief written version...

After leaving college I decided to go and find myself some design related work experience at any agency that I could get into. This would bridge my time gap of 6 months before taking the leap into going freelance full time. 

First off I already had a fairly large body of work due to the college work and paid work I had completed. (If you don't already have this I recommend starting to build that now. Maybe do some practice briefs or just create some posters for your favourite sports team. Do some self-initiated work to build up your skills and portfolio).

I wanted to give the agency something to remember me by. Something that would stand out from other people in my position. I started researching what others had done, I didn't find too much about it. So I thought about how I could present my CV and portfolio in a different way.

I came up with the idea of a booklet with case studies and the work I had produced, alongside my skills and cv. This allowed me to show off my initiative and layout design skills. 

Working with In-Design was not something I had done too often at the time. However, I knew I needed it to layout the document. If I had known more about it and how to get large booklet files ready for print I would have done a much better job. 

Anyway, I laid out 9 case studies from the best work I had done at the time. Using a total of 18 pages. Other things I added into the booklet included my education, my hobbies, a contents page and a personal statement. 

So once I had these printed I set them into envelopes with a personalised cover letter to each agency. I only sent off around 8 by post and then hand delivered two to local agencies (one I had done a 2-week work experience placement at whilst at school). I rang the doorbell of the second local agency and nervously handed them the pack containing my cover letter and book. I gingerly explained that I was a student at college and was looking for an internship when I had finished. 

I was pretty happy when I walked away from that door. It was the first time that I had cold-called someone.

A week or so went by. Whilst in one of my last graphics lessons I received a phone call from the MD of the local agency. As I was in class I missed the call. I quickly phoned him back. I did it. They seemed really happy and sort of shocked that someone from college had out so much into just getting an internship. We then had two meeting about it and I got the position. I was finally an inter.

Anyway here are a few key tips...

- Do some self-initiated work to build up your skills and portfolio. You need something to present to the agency or firm. Something that shows off your talents. Create some practice briefs and build your portfolio. 

- Do something to stand out and be remembered! Be different and put time and effort into what you are presenting the agency. You are giving them a first impression without even meeting them so make it a good one. 

- Check the spelling and layout of your device. I failed on this one so I am giving the warning. Get a friend or family member to check it and make sure it reads well.

- Don't give up. I have still not heard anything back from 8/10 of the agencies. Luckily it wasn't anymore and I found a local one pretty early on. 

Thanks for reading this blog post. If you think it may help someone then why not share it with them. Have a great day and I hope you get that placement. 

If you have any questions, email me at