How do I Choose the Best Graphic Design Internship?
Choosing a graphic design internship can be a challenging task. An internship that is perfect for someone else may be totally wrong for you. The key is to understand what you want to achieve through your internship and then ask lots of questions. Evaluate the pros and cons of each opportunity carefully and choose the one that will best help you achieve your post-internship goals.
Many graphic design education programs include a required field internship component. Each program sets forth rules regarding qualifying internships. These regulations may apply to the number of hours worked, the type of work completed, the amount of supervision gained, or the overall length of the internship. If your are seeking to fulfill this component, your first concern should be ensuring that potential internships meet all requirements set forth by your program or school. That said, you may encounter a non-qualifying opportunity that is too good to pass up, even if it means completing another graphic design internship later in order to satisfy your program requirements.
Another prime consideration when choosing a graphic design internship is the pay, or lack thereof. Many internships are unpaid. This means you receive no wages and are compensated solely by portfolio pieces and experience. If you cannot afford to accept an unpaid position, you may need to search further, to find one that both meets your program's requirements and compensates you financially.
Graphic designers, particularly those with limited experience, gain work based largely on their portfolios. You will want to choose a graphic design internship that will give you as many portfolio pieces as possible. Since work done for hire — even if you are not actually paid wages — usually belongs to the employer, you will need to ask about the company's rules regarding usage in a portfolio.
The industry in which you are interning can also be important. Graphic designers work in a wide variety of industries including fashion, business, higher education, automotive, manufacturing, retail, and many more. If you hope to work in a specific industry after graduation, you may want to pursue a graphic design internship with a company in that industry, or in one that is closely related.
You may also want to consider the specific company with whom you are applying for internship. An apprenticeship with a large, well-known company may be more impressive on a resume than an internship with a smaller, relatively-unknown company. On the other hand, the smaller company may be more willing to work with you individually, and may be able to teach you things you won't learn at the big corporation. Ultimately, you will need to weigh all factors and choose the internship that will best equip you for a future in graphic design.
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