How To Get More Career Training: Try Out For An Internship

girl-thinkingWhat Does The Future Hold?
Getting a job is probably more difficult in today's economic atmosphere than it was several years ago. If you are a student at a graphic design college or graphic design school, you have probably pondered this very question:

"Will I be able to get a job when I graduate?"

The Time Is Now
You may be able to improve the odds of securing a job upon graduation by doing something about it now.

One hurdle to overcome is the issue of experience. Unless you have the advantage of having someone on the inside of a company or firm alerting you to possible job opportunities, it may take more time to start your career.

interns2Internships = Experience and Career Training
One way to overcome this experience deficit is to consider internships.

The definition of an internship is a career training opportunity or work experience that is integrated into an undergraduate education. The work is supervised and the intern receives the needed experience in his or her career field while still attending school.

The Ohio State undergraduate department defines several characteristics of a successful internship and says:

  • It contributes to the student's personal and professional development through challenging work assignments
  • It is planned and scheduled through consultation with the department or college so as to fit into the undergraduate experience
  • It involves a supervision component that is mentoring and educational
  • It includes career related experiences that complement what is learned in the classroom
  • It will have a reflection and evaluation process at the conclusion of the internship
  • It builds upon the relationship the department/college/university has with employers
  • It is most successful when the student, the department/college, and the employer all share responsibility in making it a valuable experience

intern-candidate2What Do Internship Sponsors Look For In Candidates?
A college internship coordinator gave his views on what a good internship candidate is by saying:

"Above all, willingness to learn. You can teach someone almost anything, but you can't teach them to come to work motivated.

"When we look at candidates and help students apply, we always tell them that their experience isn't as important as finding an internship that excited them... Apply early and often. The more applications you have out there, the better!"

What Does An Intern Say About Her Experience?
In addition to gaining some real career training, an internship can also be a good source for portfolio material. Interning can also be a good way to get to know new people and establish social networks. Consider what this student intern said:

"My internship was 12 weeks long, and at the end, I was given a client's project to do, so I actually got some graphic design experience. They ended up really liking my project, and now I have a great piece for my portfolio.

"Doing the design project at the end was definitely the best part. I also really liked the people I worked with. They were just a lot of fun, and everyone was friends, so we hung out outside of work sometimes too."

balance-experiencePay or No Pay: That Is the Question
Many internships do not pay interns. This may seem odd, but consider the firm is taking a chance on you and are making available an opportunity that may be more important than a paycheck; work experience.

You will have inside access to a graphic arts company or design company that is willing to show you the ropes and provide you with hands on training.

Be careful on which internships you apply for. Some firms see this as a way to get "free labor" without really caring about your career training, so choose wisely.

college-counselorGet Some Advice
In some instances, internships are paid, but the main point here is to get the needed experience that can come from an internship.

Check with your college counselor or advisor for available opportunities. Combing the Internet for internships can also be a good source for tracking down leads.

But as the college internship coordinator said:

"Apply early and often. The more applications you have out there, the better!"

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