What do small firms look for in design intern/assistant portfolios?

Curious to know what small boutique firms might look for in a design assistant / design intern’s portfolio (not looking to go into corporate!). I just finished my first semester of my AAS Interior Design program and am thinking about internships already – am looking to secure a intern/assistant role within the next 6-8 months.

It’s worth noting I’m career switching and have almost a decade of experience in tech (business ops, community mgmt roles, etc.) so I have a lot of great transferrable business/relationship skills but I’m new to the design aspect so need to focus there! Any one have advice? TYSM :heartpulse:

I feel like my interior design friend @danielaulloa might have some good portfolio insight!

Hello! Thank you for inviting me to participate in this discussion @rebeccakessel What an interesting question!

Based on my experience working with both Mexican and American companies for more than 10 years, I would like to suggest some ideas that could help you enhance your portfolio when sending it to any interior design company:

Firstly, regardless of your industry experience, creating a visually appealing presentation in terms of color and scale is crucial. Think outside the box because every detail matters in your portfolio, regardless of the number or type of projects you include.

Secondly, share a bit about yourself and your background. Even if you started in a different industry, consider making a brief statement explaining how your existing knowledge and work experience in business operations can complement your studies in interior design.

Lastly, include your most relevant and recent projects. Don’t worry if you haven’t completed many projects yet or if they were done during college. Maybe you can show 3 or 5 projects would be ideal.

Spoak has been extremely helpful to me in this regard. Don’t wait for the perfect client or opportunity—use these tools to practice as much as you want, in your preferred interior design style. Since these projects can be fictional, there’s no budget limit, allowing you to showcase the full extent of your capabilities. This will help prospective employers understand the scope of work you can handle.

I hope this advice is helpful. Let me know if you have further questions, and remember to always trust in yourself :slight_smile:

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