How to Successfully Apply to Your First Design Internship: AD&V’s Cheat Sheet!

How to Successfully Apply to Your First Design Internship: AD&V’s Cheat Sheet!
June 23, 2020 Carla Joan
Woman using computer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Carla Joan is the Marketing Coordinator at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She heads Business Development and the firm’s Internship Program. 

First time applying to an internship? Don’t know where to start? Don’t sweat it! Here is AD&V’s Checklist for Success.

Preparing your application documents for the first time can be overwhelming and confusing. Recent events have limited internship opportunities, so it’s time to really step up your game so you can land those coveted internship opportunities. We’ve made you a simple checklist so you can make sure you have everything in order before submitting that application.

FIRST: Update your resume.

  • Include your complete contact information and a professional email address. Refrain from using that janedoelovespizza@yahoo.com email you made back in the day. Create a new email address for professional purposes. Use some combination of your full name like doe@gmail.com.
  • Choose a simple design for your resume. Make it easy to read and include only what is necessary. Less is more.
  • Include your Highschool & Bachelor’s Degree or any other higher education degrees with the name of the institution, your graduation year and location of each institute you graduated from.
  • Write your experiences in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest. This makes it easier for your interviewer to read and puts more focus on your latest achievements. Include a description of the tasks you performed and details about the experience you gained.
  • Include hobbies and personal skills that make you stand out from other candidates. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, computer program skills, being organized and able to work without direct supervision are key and a plus for remote internship opportunities. Be sure to include those experiences that support your skills. Those will separate you from the rest!
  • Documents should only be one page long. Be conscious of the reviewer’s time. Be direct, keep it short and to the point.
  • Save your resume in PDF format. In the document name add the date you’re submitting the resume, the word resume and your name, (i.e. YYYY.MM.DD-Resume-JaneDoe.pdf). This will make it easier to share, to submit online and to identify which resume is yours.

Second: Update your portfolio.

  • Include your best work. Add project descriptions to your work so the interviewer can understand the project, the challenges that you faced, and how you resolved them. Bonus points if you include the computer programs you used for each project.
  • Include high quality images of your projects and only include the ones necessary to understand it. If you don’t like the image, don’t use it.
  • Proofread. Proofread! Ask a friend to read your portfolio to catch any typos and to give you feedback.
  • Size matters. Your portfolio should be at least letter sized to be able to include adequately sized images and legible text. It’s all about showcasing the work and what you’ve learned.

Finally: Contact the firm.

  • Do some research. Look for Internship Program information on the firm’s website. Call the firm once you’ve read that information to make you look informed and interested.
  • Ask to speak with the Internship Program Coordinator.
  • Present yourself.
  • Ask for information on where to send your resume, if it needs to be sent in a specific format, and if you need to include any additional documents like a letter of recommendation from a past employer or professor.
  • Ask if you can coordinate a quick orientation call to receive more information about their Internship Program. Be prepared to ask questions!
  • Let them know that you would love to be part of the team and that you will be sending your resume.
  • Personalize your cover email and target it towards the firm. Generic emails will not make you stand out. It is important to highlight why you want to work with them. Let them know you are really interested.
  • Send the resume in the format they require. This sends a message that you know how to follow directions. It may seem silly, but these details matter.
  • Contact them to make sure they received your information and to let them know you are available for an interview.
  • Follow up.

It’s important to have your resume, cover letter, and portfolio up to date so that you don’t leave any important skills or experiences out during your internship interview. The more skills and experiences you include, the better you can market yourself as the right candidate.

Get your documents in order, send them out, and get ready for those interview requests!

FURTHER READING: THE INTERN’S GUIDE TO THE REAL WORLD

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