INTERNSHIPS & RESEARCH
Internships provide real-world experience for students and positions can often be held for university credit by enrolling in Art 393: Internships in Art.
While searching for opportunities, start looking for an internship early and apply both locally and nationally and speak with professors and professionals in your intended field for suggestions. Make use of creative online searches, utilize resources such as GoGlobal to explore a list of internships, and even calling institutions to ask about internship programs. When you’re ready to apply, the Writing Center is available to help you improve your resume, cover letter, and application.
Items to Prepare
- A Resume and CV
Prepare both a one page resume with references and a longer CV and apply using the employers preferred document. You should tailor your resume for the job or internship. For example, if you are applying for a printmaking internship, make sure to include your printmaking skills and classes. If you are applying to a museum, your art history classes and administration skills should come first. If you are applying to curatorial work, your skills as an artist, your art history classes, and any outside gallery work (such as through WUD) should be noted.
- A Portfolio
If you are applying for a graphics or visual arts position, make sure that you have a digital and hardcopy version of your portfolio. You may also want to create a website to high light your portfolio. If a portfolio is specifically required, read all instructions. Specific labeling, resolution, digital sizing requirements and type of document (ie jpeg, tiff, pdf, etc) may be required. Simply not having your portfolio labeled and organized correctly can (and does) disqualify many candidates. These instructions make it easier for the employer to find and access your portfolio. It also tells an employer if you can follow instructions or not.
- Writing samples
Yes we are all visual people, but communication is mostly written and many employers will want to know your writing skills. Inquire as to whether writing samples will be required. Writing samples can range from art history papers to press releases to formal correspondences. Usually there are specific instructions. For more tips on writing your sample check out:
Recommendations may and usually are required for all internships and positions. Ask your referees for recommendations at least 2 weeks in advance to provide enough time to write an accurate and thoughtful portrait of you. Strong references and recommendations are better than more weak ones. In order to get strong recommendations, you need to cultivate relationships. Do this by striking up conversations with your professors about your interests. In a large lecture, this can be difficult, but going into office hours can make all the difference.
Tips for Applying
- Follow Instructions
Following the company’s application instructions will make it easier for the organization to process your application. It will also show the company that you have reading comprehension skills and can follow directions.
- Pay attention to deadlines
Some internship positions are first come, first serve. Once the position is filled, the company will no longer need an intern. Apply as soon as you know about an internship. If the company has a continuous internship program and takes on many interns in a year, it is still important to get your application in as soon as possible. You should know if the deadline is a post-mark deadline or if it needs to be in the office by a particular time.
- Know the name of the person responsible for the position
When you are preparing to apply to a particular program and place, find the staff list for the organization. Doing so will allow you to find the internship or volunteer coordinator to whom you should address your cover letter. This also shows that you have real interest in the company or organization. Beyond this, looking up the staff list will allow you to be able to see who the organization employs. This can give you a better understanding of the organization’s direction. (For example, does the company employ designers or artists? Do they employ volunteer directors? Do they employ production assistants? All of these things can give you insight into what the company does.)
- Build an online presence
Consider having your own website with your resume, CV, and images of your work. This can bring potential employers to you. Consider going to DoIt free technology classes or access online training or make an appointment with a DoIt Trainer for a hands-on approach. As a UW student, you have the opportunity to take Software Training for Students (STS). If online classes are better for you, UW offers access to Lynda.com with tutorials. You can also make an appointment for someone to give you a one-on-one lesson to help you set up your website. Links to all of these services and more information can be found at http://www.doit.wisc.edu/training/student/
When making a website, make sure that everything can be found easily and quickly. In the same vein, consider having your name as part of your domain name. Not only is having your name as your domain name more professional, it will allow employers to find your site more easily.
- Know what already exists online about you
It is becoming increasingly common for potential employers to Google search job candidates. Consider what is on the internet about you and be prepared to address any questions those links may raise. You may also want to consider limiting the information available to the public on social networking sites.
- Create a Linkedin profile
Linkedin is a networking site for artists and nonartists alike to list their resume. You can join linked in through: http://www.linkedin.com
Students in the Art Department have interned and conducted research at many businesses, institutions, and on-campus departments, including the organizations below:
Carlos Eduardo Gacharná, who graduated with a BFA in Ceramics and Glass, works with area school children as part of RestART, a program he began as a sophomore. Carlos continues to expand his project.