So you’ve graduated, maybe accumulated some awards along the way, got a little experience and are ready to enter the workforce with your new set of skills and the paper to prove it. This is going to be awesome, you think. Surely, I’ve acquired the necessary experience to get myself into a reputable position as a designer. Well, if it’s anything like how it was for me, this may not necessarily be the case. Will work become available to you? Sure. Will it be the kind of work you really want to do? Maybe. But wouldn’t you like to feel some reassurance that you’ll be able to have more choices; more between great and awesome instead of ok and good?
As my summer internship comes to a close, I can’t help but look back and admire the amount of growth I’ve gone through, and today I want to share with you some of the main reasons why interning here gave me and can give you a leg up in the competition.
To start, there’s the obvious reason: agency experience. One of the first roadblocks I encountered before arriving here at ST8MNT, was how many employers were asking for people with agency experience. It was everywhere, no matter what job hunting site, Slack Channel or networking opportunity I engaged in, but can you blame them? People want to be reassured that when they pay for a service that they are getting the most bang for their buck and agencies have that kind of reputation (especially ST8MNT). You can take one look at ST8MNT’s list of clients and find evidence that they are capable of providing excellent results, meeting deadlines efficiently, and attracting repeat business with some rather large clientele. I don’t know about you but if I were a business in the market for a new designer, I’d hope to get someone with experience in those kinds of conditions.
Secondly, you gain access to years of award-winning knowledge; from establishing and executing an efficient creative process to the importance of client relationship maintenance. This means that what’s taken years of failures and successes to build, you get to learn from for little to no risk. You will have Creative Directors, Art Directors and Project Managers (all extremely friendly and approachable) to guide you away from your mistakes and into the next level of your professional career.
Oh! And did I mention that everyone here is super friendly and approachable? Sure, it’s nice having instructors, fellow student colleagues and maybe that one dude at the local coffee shop you created a poster for as references but it’s hard to beat having an agency-level reference or two to back up your capabilities as a designer. It’s difficult to gain access to these kinds of reference opportunities when you don’t have working relationships with them and even more so when they can be intimidating. The beauty of the people that work here is that while they are masters of their trade (and always striving to be more so), they don’t let it define how they treat people less experienced. They recognize hard work and healthy ambition and at the end of the day, they just want to be around like-minded individuals.
Finally, and I believe most importantly, you gain an enhanced sense of self-worth. Probably the most valuable thing I have learned since starting here is how important it is to have a healthy level of confidence in yourself and the work you produce… because it shows! The work you can produce when you have an impressive family of leaders backing you up is a far cry better than what you produce without. The worry to produce something that is going to make the cut evolves into an inspiration to create something that goes above the cut because it’s more fun and because you find out you’re capable of doing so.
So, for three months of your time, you’ll learn how to become more efficient and attractive to prospective employers, acquire award-winning guidance to steer you in the right direction, a chance to create significant relationships with masters of the trade, and gain a sense of self-worth that, by itself, makes the experience completely worth your time. This is what makes the difference between what you learn/gain in school and what you can learn/gain at ST8MNT and why by doing so, you’ve given yourself a leg up in the competition.