Design Internships: Top Tips for making them work

Posted by on September 10, 2014

Marketwave Design InternshipThis week’s guest post comes from Marketwave’s creative services’ intern, Allison Handlos.

Internships are great to gain real-world experience, network, and kick off your design career. While it can be slightly stressful to work in an unfamiliar setting and to grind out well-designed work rather quickly, an internship will help you figure out what kind of company you would like to work for and what type of design you would like to spend time doing. Since I graduated and moved to Dallas from Des Moines, Iowa, I thought an internship would be the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door of an industry and a new location. I am in the last week of my creative internship at Marketwave. It has been great to work with a company that encourages and helps broaden my skills. Reflecting on my internship experiences, here are some quick tips I have learned to help you throughout yours.

4 tips for a successful design internship

  1. Set goals. Think about what you want to accomplish at your internship. Write down your goals and challenge yourself. Get inspired to do things you have never done before to broaden your skills and experience. Also, keep track of your accomplishments so you can include them on your resume or discuss them in future job interviews.
  1. Treat it like a real job. Your mood is a large part of your experience at an internship. Stay positive by being eager and working hard to complete your projects. This will show that you’re excited about your field and will lead you to more opportunities later. Some of the projects given to you may not be of strong interest or within your comfort zone, but think of it as a benefit of your learning experience and a way to gain more understanding in that area. Take your internship seriously by staying organized and practicing good time-management skills to get tasks done on time.
  1. Accept feedback. Feedback on your work will uncover what you can’t figure out on your own. You will learn your strengths and where you can improve. Your coworkers are a great resource for that. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about projects you don’t fully understand. It shows you are eager to learn and interested in the job.
  1. Get out and network. Internships give you a great opportunity to connect with others in your field. However, try to meet people in other departments as well. They may also be valuable contacts for you later on. The more people you know, the more support you will have.

Your internship experience is what you make of it. It may not always land you a job, but it leads you to many other opportunities and advantages of gaining the experience, skills and references to get where you want to be.


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Allison. Internships in the right settings can be so valuable and memorable. They enable us to see how what we’ve learned in various classes benefits companies and clients. That delivers a sense of accomplishment and builds confidence. We also get that feedback and greater understanding of what we need to do to launch out as professionals.

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