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Your First Graphic Design Internship: Three Things to Look For

November 12, 2014 Graphic Design, General 0 Comments

One of the best ways to get a foot in the door in the graphic design industry is to get an internship. Whether you are looking for an unpaid or paid position, there are several key things you should look for in order to ensure you're getting the most out of your time as an intern. Ask about the following three factors when considering different positions for your graphic design internship:

Your First Graphic Design Internship: Three Things to Look For1. Experience With Multiple Departments

When you are looking at internship listings, be sure to note to whom you will report. Is it a single person or department? This could be a bad sign since it means you will only get experience in one area. Internships that allow you to gain experience in multiple departments and across various levels of seniority will let you see what different jobs are like and help you decide which career path you may want to take. If the internship listing isn't specific about who your manager would be, don't be afraid to ask in an interview about whom you will report to if you accept the position.

2. Opportunities for Growth and Development

As an intern, there's a good chance you'll be doing plenty of things that you don't necessarily want to do. Filling out paperwork, sorting mail and, of course, getting coffee are all tasks every intern will probably have to perform at some point during the internship. However, tasks like these won't teach you the valuable skills necessary to become a graphic designer.

It's important to take a position where you will be able to perform tasks that are similar to those that you would encounter in your first or second year of work after you graduate. Make sure you look carefully at the description of duties and follow up with current employees about what types of work you can expect on a regular basis. Creative Bloq also suggests that interns look for positions where they can participate in meetings, attend after-hours employee activities and sit in on creative sessions for multiple departments.

3. The Ability to Grow Your Portfolio

When you graduate with a degree in graphic design, the first thing potential employers will want to see is your portfolio. Though you'll likely have some great pieces from your time at school, being able to show off some work you did as an intern that was recognized or perhaps even used by the company you interned with is a huge bonus. When interviewing, make sure to ask whether any work created during the internship can be used in your portfolio and determine whether there are any limitations regarding online or physical portfolio usage.

Getting a graphic design internship is certainly an exhilarating process, and while it can be tempting to jump at the chance to work with the first company that offers you a position, it is important to consider what you are getting in return for your hard work. Because most internships offer little or no monetary compensation, ensure you are getting the most from your internship by looking for a position that lets you work across multiple departments, gives you plenty of room to grow and allows you to build your portfolio.

Photo credit: Flickr

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