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Four tips to turn your graphic design internship into a paid job

The way to professional success can be a tough and rocky road. You need to invest a lot of study, hard work and time.

Why intern?

A smart move is to take a non-paid job in your industry area - AKA "the terrifying" internship. Getting your head around the concept of not being paid may be tricky. But the experience itself will pay dividends in the future.

Getting your foot in the door without experience is becoming harder and harder. Getting the attention of a recruiter isn't easy. Especially in the early stages of your career. Considering an internship can mean stepping into your future paid job.

[quote]"What I do for my work is exactly what I would do if nobody paid me." – Gretchen Rubin[/quote]

So how can you land a paid position after completing an internship? We asked some Bachelor of Graphic Design students how to go about it. Hopefully their experiences can help you turn your internship into a great paid job.

Matt Ranzetta, Bachelor of Graphic Design graduate 2015

Current position: Graphic Designer

Matt says:

Get to know your colleagues and your role. Get involved. Get to know the people you work with and their responsibilities. But most importantly, get to know your role in the company. Don't simply go into your internship with the view that you're just ticking off another course requirement. Instead, embrace the opportunity to learn new skills, enhance your current skills and meet people. It's a perfect time to start networking.

Show them what you've got. Approach your internship as if it were a longer, more relaxed, job interview. Unlike a half hour job interview, an internship gives you the chance to settle in and show your potential employer who you really are and what you can do. Keep in mind that employers do hire interns.

Benjamin Harrild, Bachelor of Graphic Design student

Current position: Junior Graphic Designer

Ben says:

Always be on time. Treat your internship as a paid job. The same way you would be expected to show up on time in a regular job. Your technical skills and abilities to do the job will be under evaluation. Your commitment to the work and responsibilities will also be noticed.

Stuck? Ask for help. If you feel stuck with something, don't be afraid to ask your boss or colleagues for help. This is the time to ask questions. Your internship is a great opportunity to grow your skills and learn industry practices. No-one expects you to know everything. You'll be surprised what conversations can be triggered just by asking a question. Make it worthwhile; employers appreciate someone who takes interest and goes above and beyond expectations.

NOTE: Our Bachelor of Graphic Design students have the opportunity to undertake internships as part of the Communication Internship subject. In this subject, students are introduced to job prospects offered by our industry partners. This helps them get a taste of what areas they can be focusing on and what real work-life looks like. Most of them turn their internship into paid jobs; the next successful employee could be you.