Friday, 24 October 2014

How I Got My Design Placements & Some Tips!


I would like to begin my first blog post, with a huge welcome to veryberrycosmo! :)

On this blog I plan to write about pretty much everything, it is all going to be very random...

My Name is Kayleigh, and I am a graphic design student at the University of Leeds! I am currently in my 3rd year, on a year in industry placement, and I am often asked how I got my placement as well as a few tips - so I thought I would write a blog post on this subject! I apologise that this post might be quite wordy, but I like to think that it may be useful and informative!

By the way, these won't all only apply to design internships, but the only experience of internship applying I have had!!! It could also apply to general job applying

Ok Ok Ok, lets get started....

The Application Process:

Start As Early As You Can
- My first piece of advice would be start hunting and getting in contact with people as early as you can! I won't lie, I didn't start hunting for my placement that I wanted to start in June 2014, until about February or March, and it really isn't worth the stress or almost the feeling of being competitive against your course mates. So start early, START NOW if you are due to go on a placement year next year if you can! But saying this, a lot of companies don't release their placements until a lot later. But starting earlier means you are prepared and can pounce on the opportunities when they arise!

Target Your Company
- When you do find some companies that you would like to work for specialise your CV and portfolio (if design) to suit their business. If they are a packaging design company, they are unlikely to be interested in how you design layouts for magazines etc etc. I reckon companies can often tell when you don't specialise your CV and portfolio. They want to feel special, and in terms of the portfolio they want to see what YOU can do for their business and how you could have an amazing impact!

Don't Give Up
- Take it lightly if you get either a lot of rejections or no replies at all. (I had plenty of these)  Don't give up, even if it does make you feel really rubbish and question if you are doing the right degree, try not to think these and have an open mind and positive attitude, and just think - hey, maybe I just didn't suit their organisation. I CAN DO THIS!

Choose A Specialism You Are Really Passionate About
- I can't stress this enough. There is no point in committing to something that you won't enjoy. A year in industry is an excellent opportunity to explore areas that you would like to pursue your career in as well as learn soooo many skills such as getting so much better on software! Plus when you are invited to interview I think it will really show whether you actually want the position or not, and that would just waste everyones time!

Don't Always Just Take Your First Offer
- Yay great you have got a placement offer!!!! What do you do? Take it straight away?!!! Most people would say yes, but then you may get another offer come along that may suit you a lot more! Although a lot of people I know have many many placements ( I think this is more common in design) so 3 months here 3 months there. Mine is a 12 month one, it is just what you feel comfortable with.

- Don't panic. My University (yours may be different) had a date in which you had to have 3 months of placement secured by. And although that may not seem anywhere near the 9 months you are supposed to reach. Do Not Panic. The beauty of going out there into the big wide world of the industry you have so many opportunities to network with so many people which can then lead you on to meet more people, and you never know you could be offered so more months at another company! It is quite an exciting process.

Have your CV checked
- My Uni has a careers centre, and I am SO happy I went to them with my CV. I completely changed it because I wasn't having a lot of success. I can honestly say that the careers centre is the reason I have my position now. THANK YOU CAREERS CENTRE! (plus I had a mock interview and this was SO helpful)

Don't just focus on getting a paid one
- This is a really really really tricky one, I was in a situation where I probably couldn't do one unless I was paid since I fund pretty much everything myself. But do not let this get you down, everyone wants to be paid, which makes grabbing the paid placements even harder. The experience is priceless. Just go for it!

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