Sending lots of applications and not getting back what you seem to put in has been a marker of many people’s experience with interning. My own included. Hundreds of applications can go out with little to no reply. It seems to almost define the process.
My dream of finding the perfect internship was crushed very early on in the operation.
Going through this process often means taking jobs that aren’t perfect. I have jumped at most opportunities that have come my way –– irrelevant, niche, unconnected to any of my interests. I have gone into internships and roles in areas I have no intention of continuing in. Fashion, media. The electrical industry.
These experiences –– while good CV fodder –– could be practically useless to me if I let them be all they were advertised as.
Instead, I have tailored non-relevant jobs to my interests. When I took a short-term position in a media company with absolutely no interest in advertising I made it very clear I was an illustrator and animator and managed to vie a position in the creative team where I did almost all of the illustration work for the whole company while I was there. Through being clear and volunteering for the creative work I managed to work on briefs for Vauxhall and Tui as a storyboard artist and concept illustrator. During a fashion internship in a womenswear department I ran errands and did simple trend research for three days before I asked for illustration jobs and was able to designs jumper motifs and fabric patterns.
I was very vocal about what I was specifically interested in, in both my CV and in person, and was able to carve a niche for myself. When given a job that was in any way relevant to illustration I went above and beyond what was asked so I would be given these types of jobs again. Because of this I became known for illustration in all of the offices I worked in, even when the company itself had no room for an illustration department.
The best advice I have ever received is do the work you want to do –– even if you’re not getting paid for it, even if there seems to be no place for it. Do the work now that you want to do later and if you do it well you will find that you’re asked to do that work again and again.