For the next year of my degree, I have decided to take a year out of studying with the aim of experiencing the industry I want to graduate into. An opportunity to gain knowledge and skills that will not only place me in good stead for my final year at uni but also hopefully make the struggle of being a new graduate a little easier. As I have quickly learnt in the design industry it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! So that’s my plan, get internships, make connections by meeting great people, pick up skills and learn what it’s really like to work in the creative scene of London…

Sounds easy right? Oh, how I wish it were…

Whether you want to address it as luck or hard work somehow in my education and “career” I seem to have gotten exactly what I wanted. However, these past couple of months have been an eye-opener, to say the least. I’m a little fish in a humongous sea of interns, freelancers, graduates and everything in between. X amount of emails and applications in I’m realising how important it is to stand out and be resilient.

At the start of my application process, I spent days perfecting my portfolio, making sure it said enough about me as a designer and strategist but not too much that I wouldn’t have anything new to say at a face to face interview.

So yes, I am proud of my portfolio but, I quickly learnt it means nothing if I can’t write a good email/cover letter. I am pleased enough to say I already have one internship lined up, which I applied for without even attaching my portfolio as it wasn’t finished. I’ve loved the agencies work for ages and didn’t want to risk not applying so I poured my heart into the email I sent, noting my outlook on design and strategic culture, mentioning work of theirs I admired and expressing how I go about my practice. Low and behold a week and a half later I got a replying inviting me for a face to face interview. It was this experience that taught me how important it is to grab their attention and make your email memorable right from the hello.

Once I had the email and the portfolio under my belt, in comes an excessive number of internet tabs, excel spreadsheets and the inbox refresh button. I’ve tried to keep a track of who I’ve sent applications to and on what date so I can send a follow-up email if I don’t hear back. However, in most cases, I have heard back and I’ve had to learn to take “we’ve chosen not to take forward your application” on the chin and use it to spur me on to apply for more.

Thank goodness for sites like LinkedIn and The Dots who email me almost every day with new job listings. Those tabs are definitely always open!

I haven’t lost faith just yet, I’m a strong believer that things happen for a reason so whatever agency contacts me back it’ll be because we are a perfect fit. And I certainly have many self-initiated projects lined up to keep me busy in the meantime so watch this space!