Student Success Story

Sociology Major Gets Her Dream Internship With Leading Houston Design Firm


As a fall junior at The University of Texas at Austin, this college student had great volunteer experience in many different roles, but had limited internship experience. The good news was the student’s event planning, vendor management, and social media marketing skills coupled with her outgoing personality made her a great fit for many job and career options, yet the student was unaware that she had developed so many marketable workplace skills in her volunteer roles.

The Challenge:

Get a summer internship after junior year with a top interior design firm in Houston, TX without any prior design courses or design internship experience.

Major: Sociology, Business Foundations Certificate from the McCombs School of Business

The Strategy:

Career Onward created a comprehensive strategy to help the student package her skills, but most importantly – had her research Houston design firms and select four firms to target that were “best fit” based on her style, their style, and client base. We tasked her to analyze the quality of their social media presence and helped her develop social media strategies for each design firm.  None of the companies targeted had summer internships posted either on their website or job search sites.

The Execution:

Using Career Onward’s custom and personalized process:

  • Resume was optimized for niche interior design companies
  • LinkedIn profile was updated and strategy implemented to leverage recommendations, LinkedIn groups, and connections while skills were edited to tie to both interior design and social media marketing
  • Pinterest boards were edited and additional pins were added to reflect her personal style with regard to interior design
  • Custom cover letters were developed for each interior design company, including specifics on how social media could be used to increase their brand awareness
  • A list of four “dream” companies was created that consisted of design firms that were “best fit” in terms of location (Houston), clients, and design philosophy and style
  • Success stories were developed and packaged for interview prep
  • Honest feedback was given at every stage of the process

The Result:

Student was successful and received an internship offer even though there was never an opening posted. In the cover letter, the student offered to work unpaid. The design firm not only created an internship position for her, but also made it a paid internship.