As I’ve mentioned in a few of my previous blog posts on interior design, I feel like it’s time to augment my studies with internships. Not only will this give me a better look at the day-to-day and realities of the various paths in the field, it will also help me build up my resume and portfolio by the time I complete the program.
What am I looking for in an internship?
When weighing my internship options, there are a lot of nice-to-haves:
- Paid over unpaid
- Close to home
- Well-known firm, designer, etc.
However, I feel like I could compromise on these for the right opportunity. Because here’s the absolute must-have: It must be an internship where I get a full view of the work, learning the ins and outs of the job coupled with hands on experience, rather than just doing administrative work.
What area do I focus on?
Right now, I’d like to start with residential design, working with either an interior designer/design firm or a home staging company.
Home staging is particularly interesting to me, especially for my first internship, for a few reasons:
- It’s currently spring going into summer, which is a popular time for real estate, meaning it’s also a busy time for home staging.
- Home staging projects are often faster than full interior design projects, meaning I would have a lot more experience under my belt (and in my portfolio).
So, what’s out there?
As program director, my teacher gets emailed a lot of internship listings. There are a couple of home staging companies and one interior designer that have caught my eye. It’s not clear if any of them are paid.
In their internship description, they note: “Interns will learn how to run a staging and interior design business, including how to stage and de-stage a property, give consultations to clients, create proposals, contracts, invoicing, etc.”
They go on to list the specific things that interns will learn how to do.
- Clearly committed to educating interns and letting them be involved in the full lifecycle of a home staging project.
- Flexible hours.
- Don’t need any prior experience.
- They are located all the way down in Santa Clara, which is pretty far for me, especially considering traffic.
- They ask for a six month minimum commitment, which can be a long time, if it’s something I don’t end up enjoying.
There was not a formal description for this opportunity; rather the owner of the company wrote a short email, saying she’s in search of a design assistant.
- Top-rated company that works on high-end real estate listings.
- Located in San Francisco, right off of the Embarcadero BART station, so it would be a quick commute for me.
- No job/internship description, so it’s unclear how much I would learn through the opportunity.
- Owner indicated she was looking for a design assistant, not an intern, so it may be that they are looking for someone long-term and full-time, which wouldn’t work with my school schedule.
This is an interior designer rather than a home stager. This opportunity also lacked a formal description but the owner did mention interns would learn both in the field and in the office. She is also a former Cañada student, so she understands what an intern would be looking to gain through the experience.
- Former student, so she would know to make the internship a meaningful learning opportunity.
- Looks like she works on both residential and commercial projects, so it would be interesting to see the differences.
- She is open with timing/schedule and level of experience.
- Located in Redwood City, which could be a difficult commute with the traffic.
I’m going to reach out to all three to find out more about what they are looking for and what I’ll learn. In addition, I going to look at Oakland and other East Bay-based firms. If I find one I like, I’ll reach out to see if they are interested in taking on an intern.