5 killer tips to land your first job

So you're coming to the end of an internship, been working with a top creative director, got a killer design portfolio and are raring to land your first job. But how do you make that transition from intern to staff? As part of a YouTube series from Computer Arts, brand consultancy Magpie's junior designers Hannah Muddle and Eva Yarza Hilario share some top tips for turning an internship into a full-time job.

01. Show that you can work in a team

As well as proving their design skills, interns must prove themselves as potential team members. "A big part of it is showing that, no matter what task you're given, you're willing to do your best,” says Muddle. "Even small things can be important if they help with the running of the studio."

02. Integrate yourself into the studio

"Become part of the studio culture," advises Muddle. "Make sure that you're useful at all times – there's always something you could be doing. And talk about the other work the studio is doing. If you fit well, they'll value your opinion, so don't be afraid to speak up."

03. Learn to explain your ideas

"The design industry isn’t just about making things look beautiful," points out Hilario. "You have to explain your ideas too. Everyone struggles to express themselves when they're starting out, but even with bad ideas, the advice you get [from your colleagues] is really important. They don't punish you!"

04. Practise new skills

As a design intern, you will probably be asked to help out across a lot of different projects in the studio. Use this fact to your advantage to try new things and round out your skill set. "Every new project is a new challenge, with a new approach and new techniques you have to learn," says Hilario.

05. Gravitate to what you're good at

If you've followed the tips above, the transition from intern to junior designer should be organic: both Muddle and Hilario are still working on projects they began as interns. "If you show you're good at part of the process, it gravitates towards you," says Muddle. "You gradually develop into the role."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 253. Buy it here.

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Jim Thacker is a freelance writer and editor.