Entering any industry can be intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out as an intern because we really don’t know what to expect. We’ve all heard the horror stories of being placed at a desk by the trash or having to do nothing but coffee runs. Or the polar opposite of stories, where some lucky intern lands a job at the place of their internship. Either way, the pressure to find a place where you fit comfortably is the most daunting challenge we face as soon to be graduates.
The right fit for myself personally had to be a commercial art gallery that specialized in artist development. I didn’t want to work in a space where they simply hung the art on the walls and called it a day. As luck would have it, I landed my dream internship at Arch Enemy Arts right here in Philadelphia and have been smitten ever since.
Prior to finding this internship I had a tendency to ‘settle’ for internships at places where while they looked good on my resume, i just wasn’t passionate about. After an insightful discussion with a previous professor I realized that in order to find my dream internship I had to stop just saying yes to the first place that gave me an offer. Not only was I technically underselling myself but there wasn’t a solid consistency throughout my previous internships (for example some were editorial, others administrative or curatorial) and while having a lengthy resume was my driving force for accepting them, my professor was able to open my eyes to the fact that a lot of experience doesn’t equate to quality experience, and that is what we should be aiming for.
With this new found motivation I dug deep and applied at bigger name galleries and rather then saying I would be happy taking any position I made it known what I wanted and where I knew I would fit best and low and behold one of my favorite galleries offered me a position doing exactly what I wanted to do.
Finding your perfect fit is a process, and we all know that finding a job is a job in and of itself so when you get serious about working in your ideal career it’s important you do everything possible to land the job. My biggest piece of advice is to find a mentor, professor or someone you look up to in the industry and have the same discussion I did with mine. Not just a resume review but actually have them go over your longterm goals and show you where the skills you’ve accumulated thus far fall into play. It can only help you in the long run!