5 Steps to Get a Design Internship

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By: Alyssa Olvera

Your resume is complete and you’re ready to apply for an internship in design work, but almost every application requires that you submit a portfolio. What does that even look like? And what is the best way to create one?

Know how to sell your product… you!

Before a recruiter hires you, they want to know… can you sell yourself?

Start by developing a brand identity unique to you. Create a logo, color scheme and copy that best represents who you are. Showcase the best aspects of yourself and the work you create. Now let your identity bleed throughout your portfolio. 

Brand identities are a professional way to build trust through authenticity and consistency. They are also a great way to grow your audience to eventually attract desired employers, or clients!

Fake it till you make it.

Employers want to see you have worked on personal projects. Projects show that you are self driven and are interested in self improvement. One way to do this is to create sample marketing and advertising campaigns for larger, well-known companies.

Take a look at how different companies market their products/services. Revamp their aesthetic and design, then upload them to your portfolio! While it isn’t “real work,” it shows initiative and creativity to redo campaigns in your own style.

These design strategies show employers you have the necessary skills to work with large companies. It also demonstrates that you understand larger brand’s audiences and how to target them effectively. This allows employers to build trust in you and have them interested in what you could create for them.

K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid

The way you present your work visually, especially as a design applicant, is extremely important.

Don’t go overboard and overthink your portfolio’s presentation. It should be clean, easy to navigate and creative. (bonus points for integrating that brand identity!) So remember to, K.I.S.S, Keep It Simple Stupid.

Be sure your campaigns can speak for themselves. Your design strategy should know and connect with your target audience effortlessly. Create pieces where you identify the problem, your actions, and showcase the results. 

An additional item you can add is your work process. Employers love to see effective workflow. This can be as simple as uploading your first draft and final product side by side, or as detailed as uploading a video of your workflow at 10x speed. Similar to this brand identity developer. This shows you know exactly what you’re doing from beginning to end.

Develop your own style. Copy others.

From the wise words of Yohji Yamamoto, “Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.”

Begin by following fellow design, marketing, and advertising professionals on social media. Watch how they create work. Learn from what you like and revamp what you don’t and voilà, you have developed your own style!

Now keep that style consistent and now it’s time to apply apply apply apply!

Know that company like the back of your hand

Know what the company does or creates, how they position themselves against their competitors, how people purchase their product or service and how you can do their job… better.

As a design intern you would assist in creating promotional content reflecting the wants and needs of the consumers and the company. So be sure the company you are applying for has a similar style and values as you. This is especially important if you want to nail that interview!

Now for some portfolio examples:

Your portfolio should be simple, clean, easy to navigate while reflecting the style of work you create in a creative way. Here are a few examples of design and marketing portfolios that reflect this:

Zuairia Zaman

Matt Wojtas

Mohamed Samir

The portfolios clearly present who they are, what they do and how they do it.

Within design there are many tools you can use to visualize your promotional strategies; photography, graphic design, web development, illustration, etc. You don’t have to be a master at all-or any of these skills, but-knowing what looks and sounds great can really help you perfect your portfolio. 

Still looking for a platform to present your portfolio? PathMatch allows you to showcase your personality, skill and apply to jobs all in one platform! Join for free today.

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