Internships are one of the best things you can do for yourself when you’re at school, or even right after school. You have the opportunity to learn some incredible skills from people that are very experienced in the field. Whether an internship is paid or unpaid, you still need to look for an opportunity to grow your skills in the design field.
Experience Matters the Most
There’s nothing more important when searching for a future job than experience. It’s important to find experience in internships and learn to grow your skill set. As a student, it’s easy to look past these opportunities because of the lack of pay. Why work somewhere that doesn’t even let you get paid, especially when you’re already paying for school? The negatives often seem to outweigh the positives, but there’s one aspect that is always overlooked – and that’s experience. You can’t pay for experience, you have to put the time in.
Don’t Overvalue Yourself
This goes for most things in design as well, but one thing that I always see that is so unappealing is students that believe they are better than they actually are. One of the shortcomings to this is believing that you are better than an unpaid internship, that you only deserve something that you can be paid for because your skills are that much better than everyone else’s.
Overvaluing yourself and your skills is what never allows you to grow as a designer. Regardless of finding a paid or unpaid internship, there are always new skills and values you can learn. When you hold your head too high for a job, then you will have opportunities pass you by that will have benefited you for the future. You will have plenty of time to earn money in your life, but if you always pass up opportunities because they aren’t worth your time, you will miss those that help mold you into a better designer and a better person.
Take the Opportunity
If you are given the opportunity to have an internship but are deciding on whether or not to take it because it’s not paid, take into account the experience and abilities you will gain from it. An internship isn’t just a chance to get another portfolio project or work on cool stuff, it’s a chance to learn from people that have been in the industry a lot longer than you.
The benefits of the right opportunity are up there with those of pro bono design. But that’s just it, you need to be in the right internship, not one where you’re treated as a servant, fetching coffee all day – David Airey
It’s a chance to learn how they do things, how they battle pressure, and how they overcome obstacles in a daily work environment. Don’t look at the internship as a missed opportunity to earn some extra money, look at it as a free chance to have some real world mess ups and real world successes.