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Do’s and Don’ts for Art Student Internships

art internships
Rob Sutter
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Published on June 27, 2014
Most college students should understand the general level of professionalism that is required when seeking employment. Not only should individuals present themselves as approachable, but they must also be aware of the requirements common in their fields. However, attaining an internship can prove to be quite difficult with the abundance of competition. Potential interns typically do not have much experience under their belts, so applying for an internship can be a big process.

For those who are enrolled in art colleges and feel that internships may be able to help them further, here are some of the most crucial do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO prepare a portfolio beforehand.

Internship directors and employers will select candidates based on the work that they have done in the past. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to possess a tremendous catalog of work, you want to make sure that you select some of your best creations. Ideally, a portfolio should contain a wide variety of different creations, ranging from the simplest of sketches to the most dynamic of landscapes. Fortunately, most internship directors will tell you to have a collection of works prepared, so it’s not like this tip will be easily overlooked.

DON’T be silent about being late.

Would you arrive about ten minutes late to an interview for a potential full-time job? Of course not. So you should treat an internship position no different. It does not matter if you overslept or your car isn’t functioning properly—a late arrival without any prior notice is not going to look good. If you believe that you will be late, through no fault of your own, take a deep breath and try to gather your bearings. Contact the business you’d like to work with beforehand, letting them know that you will be there as soon as possible. The earlier that you go about this, the likelier it is that you will still be brought on.

DO look for internships outside of summer.

It’s common for students to get involved in internships during those times when school is out. Summer breaks may be spent, by interns, working for other companies, since these young men and women can dedicate more time to them without having to stress about upcoming exams and the like. However, I would argue that internships are best taken during times when classes are in session. Yes, you may not be able to dedicate as many hours to your internship each week, but keep in mind that most students can’t commit to internships during the school year. That means it will be easier for you to land unclaimed spots.

DON’T fabricate details on your resume.

As stated before, it’s likely that you won’t have much experience to boast about if you’re looking for an internship. With this in mind, be honest about details on your resume, no matter how minimal your legitimate accomplishments seem to you. For example, falsely claiming that you’ve created a large-scale business page through web design may appear suspect to an internship director. On the other hand, if you have done charity work for an art fair in the past year or so, feel free to incorporate it. Honesty will shine through on your resume and you’ll be treated with a greater level of confidence as a result.

Rob Sutter

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