IIDA Intern Nails A Fantastic Job

Read Sarah’s previous post here about securing an internship at IIDA while she continued her job search, then read her update below!

by Sarah Bingham, Associate IIDA

Through my connections at IIDA I was able to interview at DIRTT, a sustainable design company, for a position that utilizes and highlights both my interior design and marketing backgrounds.  I have just accepted the offer of Showroom Manager.  Some of my duties will include: running the showroom, performing administrative tasks, giving tours of the office, demonstrating DIRTT’s software, ICE, to clients, filling in for sales representatives, and coordinating events held in the showroom.  I am thrilled about the opportunity and believe more than ever that the harder you work, the luckier you get.  I have IIDA to thank for the wonderful connection and interview and I am so pleased that my internship has proven to be such an excellent experience.

One final word of advice for students, interns, and recent grads looking to land a great job is to stay positive, work hard, and know that you’re not doing it for nothing.  If you keep that mindset, people will notice you and you will make the connections necessary to get the job you desire.  In today’s economy, you have to prove yourself before you are offered anything and sometimes that takes a lot of hard work on your part.  Go after your dreams, enjoy the journey on the way there and don’t ever lose hope.

Original Post:

Graduation + No Job = Internship?

December 17, 2009 · Leave a Comment · Edit This

The Chicago Tribune recently wrote a piece on the importance of finding a good internship as they can provide important professional experience and valuable networking opportunities.

But what if I am looking for a job, not necessarily an internship?

My name is Sarah Bingham.  I am the new intern at IIDA, and here’s my story.

“These recent graduates have done everything society told them to do. They’ve worked hard, kept their noses clean and gotten a good education (in many cases from the nation’s best schools). They are ready and anxious to work. If we’re having trouble finding employment for even these kids, then we’re doing something profoundly wrong,” (NYTimes). http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/31/opinion/31herbert.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=internship&st=cse

I am a recent college graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design.  I was involved in IIDA, the Green Oxford Sustainability Club, and Alpha Phi Omega (a service fraternity).  Throughout my college career, I had a total of four design-related internships and also worked on a freelance design renovation project.  I made sure to keep busy and further my education and experience in the field.

Since graduation, it has been extremely tough to find the job I want.

I’ve applied online, gone on several interviews, and even stopped by multiple firms in person to drop off my resume and try and speak with someone.  None of these tactics ended up being successful.  Each time I either had no response, an “I’m sorry, we’re not hiring”, or “we’ve chosen a more qualified candidate.” Let’s be honest, there probably are more qualified candidates with actual experience in the field considering the amount of people that have been laid off in the past year.  But I’ve been given advice about playing up my ability to adapt because I’m young and have never worked for another company before, or the fact that a company would be able to pay me less since I have less experience, etc.

So how did I nail an amazing internship?

Although I have yet to find a full time job, I know that the steps that I have taken are leading me closer and closer to my dream job.  Thankfully, I had a distant connection with someone who worked at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Through that connection, I was put in touch with the International Interior Design Association, and they asked if I could come in and interview.

I was thrilled.

IIDA offered me an internship position as a marketing and communications intern and I gladly accepted.  Although this internship does not involve any design work, it is an excellent opportunity for networking and also learning about marketing from a design perspective.  You really never know what the world is going to bring to you or how it’s going to come, but you better be ready for the challenge once it does.

Internships are a great way to try a career on to make sure you know whether or not you like it.

I’ve found this internship extremely helpful in connecting me to the design industry and keeping me updated and informed.   It is great to be working in an office rather than at a service job where I would not be furthering my knowledge in my career path.  It is important to have these experiences / internships so that you are prepared for the work place and are better prepared at meeting challenges once you find that job that you’ve always wanted.

Remember that interviews for internships should not be taken lightly.  You should treat it like a job search and be positive, honest and let your personality shine through in interviews.  Few internships are paid but treat it as a great way to learn and network within the field of your desired career path.  Always ask questions, act professional and don’t expect your first internship, or first job for that matter, to be your dream job.

You’re going to have to work for it, pay your dues and soak up everything like a sponge.


One response to “IIDA Intern Nails A Fantastic Job

  1. Lindsey Kelley


    I enjoyed your article about the frustrations of searching for a job after graduation and can directly relate. I graduated with a degree in design from Kent State University almost a year ago and am still searching for a job. I have had countless responses similar to yours of: “we’re not hiring but we’ll keep your name on file,” someone more qualified has already filled the position, or those who don’t respond at all.

    I am doing my best to keep my head up. I have always been told that keeping a positive attitude is the most important thing no matter what the situation- it is the one thing you CAN control in life. Your words in this article are inspiring to those of us still on the search for right job. Not many people write about their success finding their first jobs because I’m assuming they don’t take pride in it or believe it is where they want to be for the rest of their career. That may be true, but in your case, while the internship was not your ideal ‘job’ after graduating, it proved to lead you in the right direction. I’m hoping for something to lead me where I want to be in the design field soon!

    Thank you for your inspiration and good luck at your new position!

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