We get a lot of intern applications. Some rise to the top of the pile. Others, are a different kind of pile altogether. So we’re here with our top four ways to help all applicants put their best foot, resume and portfolio forward. These aren’t simple to execute, but they’re worth every extra hour of work. Do these right and you just may find yourself by-passing the internships and jumping straight into a full-time, 401k-filled job.
1. Design Your Resume:
Gone are the days where a Microsoft Word template was an acceptable starting point in creating a resume. This is the first official introduction you get with a potential employer, so you need to look good. The story of yourself and your brand began when you chose design as a career path. Welcome to the big leagues. Leave the Word doc at home and step into InDesign. Also, be sure you know InDesign.
2. Write Case Studies:
School projects are misleading. Typically, the professor is just focused on getting students to understand the basics of design. That’s not a bad thing, but a good-looking project is only half the battle. You need to clearly articulate the reason for every color choice, image style, and call-to-action. What was the main goal? Who was the target market? How is this a good way to reach them? Why this method? What are the project results (or actual results if this project made it into the wild)? Understanding your thinking is just as important to a potential employer as seeing the finished product.
3. Choose Applicable Projects:
Not everyone will have the chance to acquire real-world expertise before graduating. (Why else would there be internships?!) That shouldn’t stop you from making projects as relevant and realistic as possible. A book cover is nice, but a creative director will appreciate an integrated campaign more. Show me the execution of your design across a variety of media and we’ll talk. How was this messaging handled on outdoor boards? How about Facebook? Or an interactive application? Take your projects and go bigger.
4. Digital Portfolio:
During my last semester, I spent far too long crafting a hand-bound, large-format book of my portfolio pieces. It killed at the academic portfolio review, but the true secret weapon in my arsenal was a responsive portfolio website. It secured the validity of my application before I ever had a chance to show off my bookbinding skills. No more sending huge PDF files for review and sucking up mobile data from frustrated art directors. Make your work super easy to access. Validate that code, keep the jQuery simple, and highlight the case studies.
Agencies today are more willing and eager to bring in newcomers to the ad world. Building up a young creative reminds us why we got into this career, and keeps us all on the cutting-edge of what’s cool. Making young talent better is our end goal, but first, you have to get in the door. And with hundreds of applicants seeking internships and jobs, you have to stand out before you can step in.