Firstly, thank you so much for visiting and supporting my first blog post! I have written blogs as part of educational requirements, but I never in my wildest dreams thought of writing a personal one. This is purely because I never understood the real purpose of blogging (until I took a course from ShawAcadamy on ‘Blogging and Content Marketing.’ I highly recommend their online courses!). Since I am not a big fan of just writing, I will be publishing a combination of blogging and vlogging (Instagram videos) where I will give tips, advice and take you on a fun-filled journey to create a beautiful interior.
To introduce myself, I’m Miss Supra. Having graduated at the end of 2015 in MA Interior & Spatial Design at University of Hertfordshire, I was luckily enough to get my foot in the professional world as an intern/design assistant in Surrey (trust me, it wasn’t easy). Like every other graduate, job hunting was daunting and a horrible experience for me, especially when I finished higher education with no work experience (not that I had a choice). Every job I applied for required a minimum of 1 – 2 years of experience. And I am talking about JUNIORS POSITIONS here! However, this inspired me to share my rocky journey and I hope to help other younger passionate graduates or graduates-to-be to understand the creative industry. If you have heard any professionals say ‘University is NOTHING like the real world. Believe me, they are not lying!
This introduces my first post, ‘Are You In It, To Win It?’ Realising that having degrees, studying four years and being in debt to Student Loan (for god knows how long), does not favour any hard working graduate. Even if you gained a first class degree, the current market as we know is exceedingly competitive. Internships are becoming the minimum demand companies are expecting from graduates, particularly within architecture and design sectors. According to The Sutton Trust, who researched paid and unpaid internships during 2014, 63% of graduates within cultural and creative markets worked unpaid intern positions in order to gain experience (is that fair?). That’s the highest figure out of any other market sector in the professional industry. Are you sure you still want to pursue this career?
If you are thinking of applying for internships whilst studying or after graduating (like me!), make sure you visit the GOV website. It has written simple and clear guidelines of intern’s employment rights (this is a must read).
I’ve done some research on paid/unpaid internships myself. So here is my advice. If you are considering doing unpaid/voluntary work for a company, DON’T DO IT! (unless you’re working for Phillip Stark, Zaha Hadid or Nina Campbell). Why? Because paid internships have an equal or better chance of getting you a full-time job (no pay Vs pay?).
From personal experience, here is why I think you should NEVER go for unpaid positions. When I started applying for my first internships, I attended many face-to-face and telephone interviews (challenging times!). As excited and vulnerable as I was, let me tell you this, the worst and most demanding interview I ever been to was the one unpaid internship I applied for. They were rude, they made me feel intimidated, their website was unclear and they wanted me to do a lot of work, as part of their requirements (which by law is illegal!). So here is a motto I think every graduate should follow: ‘Work to pay, never pay to work.’ This was an amazing quote by Forbes writer Susan Adams who supports paid internships in America. The laws for internships may slowly be turning in favour of students and graduates. Yet, there are businesses that are still exploiting interns with unpaid positions (tut tut!). So don’t be fooled and no matter how desperate you are, there are always thousands of job posts waiting to recruit the right candidate (It could be you!).
Another site I came across that is popular and is also known to be the best site for paid creative internship opportunities is glassdoor. The site allows employees and interns to rate and comment on the company they have worked for. So you are in control of applying for a company with a good working environment or even pay!
Here are a few sites/places I would recommend for advice and support when applying for an intern position:
- University Careers Hub: Every university has a Career Hub where there are experienced and trained consultants who can help with almost any career related enquiries. They do one-to-one, telephone and even Skype appointments. This is my biggest TIP and ADVICE as it’s free of charge and you would most likely need it for your first CV and portfolio draft. (So don’t forget to use the university resources to the MAX, YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT!).
- LinkedIn is a professional networking site which also includes a series of Student Handbook to help students and graduates transit from University to the professional world with confidence.
- A professional and reliable interior architecture and design sites that post job vacancies daily include Dezeen and DesignWeek(You gotta be a competitive candidate here! Go for it!).
That’s all folks! Thank you for reading my first blog post. If you have any questions or liked the post, hit the follow button and comment!
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