An interns advice on getting yourself a placement.
When you're in university getting on with your assignments, is there a niggle in the back of your mind saying "I should really start making some placement/work experience applications"? Yes? Well let me tell you, something will always get in the way. Changing that? It's up to you. Getting a placement or a job isn't an easy task. It takes a lot of work, patience, pestering and creative thinking.
Sadly I'm coming to the end of my placement year. With only four weeks to go, my tutor came in for my assessment the other day. She mentioned that she may want me to speak at the placement conference for the second years, and it got me thinking - what advice would I give?
The first piece of advice I would pass on is to start early. I prepped all of my portfolios, mailers and websites over the Christmas period and started applying from the beginning of January, but didn't get my placement until July. I sent so many emails and mailers out, and I barely got anything back. But you have to remember that it's a numbers game. It's normal to send loads of emails out and only get a few back. It's not something to take personally, it's because Creative Directors are busy. They live eat and breathe what they do. If they are out of the office for the day they probably come back to an inbox full of emails. So if your email is lost in that sea then it's likely they will forget to get back to you. This is why you need to be persistent. The majority of the time they meant to get back to you, but never remembered or found time. So keep pestering them. Wait a week or two and send a follow up along the lines of 'I know you must be incredibly busy, but I just wondered whether you'd had chance to look at the email I sent you?'. I used to stick to the two email rule, if I sent a follow up email and still didn't get a reply, I would tend to move onto a different company.
BUT. Don't let that stop you going for a company that you are really passionate about working for. If you really want it, then don't give up. They ignored your second email? Send them a mailer. Ignored your mailer? Go knock on their door, ask if the creative director has any time for a quick chat. Some companies, even if they aren't hiring tend to be impressed by people who show such a huge amount of devotion and passion for working for them. The moral of the story is, try another approach. Be ballsy. It's what gets you noticed. Do you want to be the one stuck in your final year listening to everyone around you talk about how amazing their placements were? Then don't be. Like I said, something will always get in the way. Don't let a lack of persistence get in the way.