The importance of internships for interior design with 1.61 London
There is no denying that building a solid portfolio of credible work experience whilst studying, can give your CV the legs it needs to sing and dance in front of potential employers. Aside from that all-important competitive edge, there are a host of other benefits which you should bear in mind when you consider undertaking an internship.
We spoke with Alexander Christou, property developer and Director of luxury interior design studio 1.61 London. A company that regularly provides internship placements, and is also one of our inspiring design practices who will be offering a 3-month internship to the residential category winner of Get me 2 the Top UK 2019.
He shares valuable insight about his experience with interns at 1.61 London, what he looks for in an intern and how he would advise students to make the most of their internships, leaving employers with a lasting impression.
Starting out his own career by interning across numerous fields, from insurance to property development, Alex is dedicated to following the same philosophy with 1.61 London. In fact, he admits that a large proportion of the staff at 1.61 London originally started out as interns! Being a firm believer that interning is an effective way of ‘trialling’ potential employees, it helps him to gauge how well they work in the office environment, how they interact with the rest of the team and if he can envisage a future for them at 1.61.
Alex summarises some of the key characteristics he looks out for…
Tailoring your CV
Many employers like myself receive a heavy influx of generic CV’s with the same impersonal content, layout structure, list of relevant skills, educational accomplishments – and worse, spelling errors. This means that it’s more important than ever to take a personalised approach. Showing drive and enthusiasm for that specific company when applying for the role can demonstrate to the employer or hiring manager that you are likely to show that same level of initiative in practice. They want to know WHY you want to work for them, and HOW you can add value.
Spending that extra hour to tailor your CV, research the company, or think of an intuitive way to reach them, could go a long way in speaking to the employer on a more personal level. In fact, I have previously hired someone at 1.61 London based on a personal, hand-written letter I had been sent; something as simple as this, to me showed genuine hunger and enthusiasm to work for me and my company.
Standing out from the crowd
It’s not just CV’s that have trouble standing out. It’s even more difficult now, in this day and age, to truly shine whether that be on paper or in person. However, I would urge you to remember that although there may be other students with the same (or better) grades – you can’t fake passion.
It’s important to show that you have a great passion for the industry or field you wish to work in, and there are lots of ways to do so – if you look for them. Whether creating something unique on social media or blogging platforms to display your passion, building relationships by meeting as many people in the industry as you can, or even hosting your own podcast – figure out how to distinguish yourself from everyone else, and use your passion to drive you forward and showcase this.
Know what you want to get from it and don’t be afraid to ask
Make sure you understand who you’re working with and get to know the working environment. Every workplace is different, so when you have questions to ask you should not be afraid – but you should also pick the right moments.
If you really want to learn or understand things, create a list of questions or certain aspects you want to explore during your internship and try to set a meeting with your superior at an appropriate time to discuss those – if it’s done in a professional and constructive way, there will usually be a positive response.
Showing a positive attitude can go a long way
It’s all about attitude. Being at the beginning of your career, you won’t know a great deal about the industry, so it’s important to show a willingness to learn, get involved and interact with the people around you.
You simply get the most out of an internship when you put the effort into it! Sitting around with nothing to do, or not showing any interest or engagement with your allocated tasks will never reap positive rewards. Interns may not always get the most ‘glamorous’ of jobs, but there are always tasks that need doing in a busy office. So get stuck in; make yourself useful, take the initiative, show enthusiasm to prove your worth and add value within your role – in most cases, it will not go unnoticed because essentially, every employer is looking for someone with a real desire to learn.
Key points to remember
The key is to really understand the process; you must strike a clever balance between being patient with it and also making it clear what you’re there to learn. Showing a good attitude, using your initiative, and going the extra mile with even the simplest of tasks will lead to bigger things. If you do all of the above and know what you want to get out of the internship from the outset, it will more than likely be reciprocated by the staff and your bosses, resulting in a mutually rewarding process for both the intern and the employer.
Entries are now open for Get me 2 the Top 2019. For your chance to win a 3-month internship with 1.61 London this Summer, visit the website to find out how to apply.