Everything Students Should Know About Seeking Professional Opportunities

Even though we’re only a few weeks into the spring semester, now is a good time for students to make summer plans.

For juniors and some sophomores, pursuing a professional experience is strongly encouraged. A professional experience is any opportunity that helps explore career options, develop specific skills, and accomplish professional goals. Students should research and pursue opportunities in February, March and early April, as waiting longer will present challenges.

Internships: Internships are opportunities to work on-site at a business or organization, engaging with work that directly relates to their career interests. Internships can be part-time or full-time, and academic credit can be earned.

Professional Jobs: Similar to internships but with no academic credit, professional-related jobs provide valuable experience in a student’s industry or profession of interest. These jobs can be full-time, part-time, temporary or seasonal.

Freelance Projects and Commissions: Businesses, organizations, associations and private citizens periodically have creative-based projects for which they seek artists/designers. Seniors, juniors and sometimes sophomores have the skills to pursue such projects.

MIAD Innovation Center Projects: The MIAD Innovation Center connects corporate and nonprofit organizations with MIAD students, giving students the opportunity to work with real clients, apply their creative thinking and skills and build their professional portfolios. Encourage your student to check with the MIAD Innovation Center Executive Director Drew Maxwell to learn about potential projects through the Center.

Exhibitions and Selling Work: There are opportunities for students to exhibit their work in a variety of venues, and the community where the student is living for the summer is a good place to start. Commercial galleries, public galleries, virtual/online galleries, artist-run spaces, alternative spaces, art centers, artist collectives and art fairs are all options.  In addition, MIAD offers two opportunities each year for students to sell their work: at the annual Creative Fusion gala in May and the MIAD Holiday Sale in early December.

Professional Associations and Organizations: Almost all professions have associations, organizations and groups, including creative and art/design professions. They encourage student involvement and often offer student memberships. Become members, attend workshops and events, participate in activities, or assist with programs. Examples include AIGA for communication design students, the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) for industrial design students or American Society of Interior Designers for interior architecture and design students.

Volunteer: Opportunities to assist nonprofit organizations and associations also offer valuable professional experiences. Most communities have art-related groups that recruit volunteers year-round. Many offer summer programs and activities for which they seek volunteer assistance.

Students should discuss their professional interests with their MIAD Advisor and Career Services staff to learn what types of professional experiences may be options for them.

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