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I want to get an internship in a UI/UX Design role, but everything I find are senior roles or min.5 year experience. I don't know how else to get experience unless it's through Freelance, but then that way I won't learn much. Any leads or suggestions on how to make this happen?

Current UI/UX Design student, with Industrial design and Visual Merchandising background.

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Mojtaba’s Answer

Securing a UI/UX Design internship may seem challenging due to the need for experience, but here are some friendly tips to increase your odds:

Sparkling Showcases: Display your design prowess through personal ventures, academic tasks, or case studies.

Networking: Join design gatherings and mingle with professionals to learn and possibly unearth opportunities.

Be Proactive: Reach out to firms that pique your interest, regardless of whether they're openly offering internships.

Begin Humble: Search for openings at smaller firms or startups.

Freelancing and Personal Endeavors: Enhance your experience and expand your portfolio through freelance jobs.

Volunteering: Assist nonprofits with their design needs to gain experience and contribute positively.

Learning and Certifications: Sign up for online classes to boost your skills and establish credibility.

Short-Term Roles: Think about accepting temporary or contract-based roles as a stepping stone.

Internship Schemes: Look out for internships specifically designed for beginners in the field.

Show Your Zeal: Express your passion in your applications and during interviews.

Constructive Criticism: Seek advice on your portfolio for improvement.

Stay calm and keep pushing on your journey to land a UI/UX Design internship.
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Eira’s Answer

If an internship is not listed with the company and you find somewhere you are interested in working in it does not hurt to ask the person working at the company. People really take to initiative so I would encourage you to reach out to people and see if there is any way you could work as an intern. If you look into a company and compliment them on something, show an interest in what they do that can also improve your chances.

Reaching out on LinkedIn is a good way to get in touch.
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Brandi’s Answer

It's true that you won't be part of a team while freelancing, but it will push you to take charge of your project-management skills and help you define areas of UX/UI Design you excel at, and which you could really benefit from more practice/training/guidance.

Freelancing also helps you develop operations and business management skills since you're "self-employed".

While freelancing, I spent time conducting informational interviews with people in the industry and asking them to help review my portfolio and resume. This was an excellent way to make connections and get advice in a casual setting. They also pointed me to networking opportunities in my area and made suggestions for events I might attend to rub shoulders with other designers.
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Michael’s Answer

Volunteer work looks great on a resume, and it shows that you are interested in UX/UI for social good, not just a job. There are foundations or even businesses you can ask that might want to revamp their website or app that you can reach out to. You can also apply to jobs requiring two to three years of experience. These jobs are looking for people with some knowledge and will be looking for designers to train in their design systems. Another tool to utilize is LinkedIn; if you connect with designers on the platform, they often post about job offers or internships you can apply for. I recommend applying for a job with your resume and cover letter to the website of origin or the job posting. I also highly recommend researching the company and alums from the company through their website (About Us) and their LinkedIn profiles.

Michael recommends the following next steps:

Create or update LinkedIn
Research Businesses
Volunteer
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Judy’s Answer

Mojtaba's response is great and I will add as you pursue experience for your growth and your resume, always make sure to keep track of the work you've doing including projects, personal soft skills growth and technical growth. It's one thing to gain experience but it's equally important to keep track so you can "sell yourself" on your resume and in the interviews.
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Alison’s Answer

In light of the excellent responses already shared, I'd like to offer a few more suggestions. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager for a moment. Hiring someone without any UX work experience carries a certain risk - they need to be sure that you're capable of meeting the job's demands. For this reason, it's advantageous to have some UX experience outside of academia, to reassure the hiring manager that you've been "tested" in the field.

Internships offer one avenue to gain this experience. Volunteering is another option. Freelance work is also a viable route, especially if you can secure a short-term contract with a well-regarded company, or if the freelance project gives you the opportunity to work on a practical project that you can include in your portfolio (always make sure to get permission from the company to publicly display the work). Freelance projects, particularly those for established companies, can provide a wealth of experience.
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Lylyna’s Answer

I would like to add another opportunity to gain experience in your inner circles. You can reach out to them to see if they need design work done, and you can offer your service for free or some compensation. It helps to get you off the ground, but above all keep creating anything that interests you.
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