How to Stand Out as a Spotify Internship Applicant

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Kate Jung

Christina Shi

René Simonsson

Ian Harrysson

Josefina Geisse

Wondering learn how to get seen amongst a sea of intern candidates? No matter how a lot you have labored in your resume or portfolio, you might have hit a wall when making an attempt to face out. So, to counter the competitors, we requested Spotifiers what they did to enhance their odds. We spoke to 4 product designers who succeeded of their Spotify internship software not way back. Here’s how they used their creativity to their benefit and landed their product design internships.

Can you share a bit about your background in design earlier than the internship? How did you maximize that have in your software?

Christina: My ardour for design began to develop once I was designing movie posters for my friends once I was in movie college. I developed a love for the intersection of design and music whereas working as a design intern at an indie music label primarily based in New York City. I made a decision to pursue design as a profession, went to a design grad college, and took on extra internships. 

In my software to Spotify, I highlighted the totally different product design skillsets I targeted on throughout every of my internships, equivalent to visible design, product considering, and design technique. I additionally emphasised my ardour for tech and music by highlighting the music-related initiatives I labored on. 

I highlighted the different product design skillsets I focused on during each of my internships, such as visual design, product thinking, and design strategy.

René: I accomplished a six-month UX internship in 2020 the place I obtained to determine “ResearchOps”, which concerned organizing and optimizing processes, instruments, and methods to assist large-scale person analysis and amplifying its influence throughout the group. By the time the Spotify internship began in the summertime of 2021, I used to be graduating from a UX design program at a faculty known as Hyper Island in Sweden. I used to be additionally nearing the tip of a seven-month-long design internship at a artistic company the place I labored with huge trend purchasers on their digital experiences. My diverse previous expertise meant that I used to be accustomed to totally different components of the design course of, whether or not it was developing with a brand new design idea for a shopper, finishing up usability testing with customers, or proposing a brand new enterprise vertical.

What did you do to organize your private model previous to making use of?

Ian: I began making ready for my software about 4 months earlier than making use of. The very first thing I did was learn totally different assets on design portfolios, resumes and interview preparations. I spent a major period of time “cleansing up” and making ready my portfolio. I prioritized high quality over amount by eliminating initiatives that didn’t essentially assist my case, and I targeted on showcasing who I used to be as a designer and my methods of working, reasonably than the tip outcome and glossy mockups. I additionally made certain that my writing was related for every case and touched upon the totally different phases of the design course of.

Secondly, I listed out my strengths, weaknesses, and issues that I wished to be taught. Identifying strengths gave me a superb understanding of my “superpowers” in addition to which a part of the design course of I felt most enthusiastic about. Listing my weaknesses and issues I wished to be taught, months earlier than making use of, motivated me to enhance and gave me enough time to take action. As a outcome, I felt extra assured going into the applying course of. Things I wished to get higher at or be taught ranged from constructing my internet portfolio from scratch utilizing HTML/CSS, bettering my craft by doing ardour initiatives, and deepening my data of human-centered design and approaches. I didn’t essentially attain all of the objectives I had got down to however dedicating time to take action taught me to carry myself accountable for my very own studying and progress.

Josefina: The very first thing I did was deal with how I wished to current myself. I made an inventory of the issues I’m good at, my expertise and, most significantly, what my pursuits are. I began creating my portfolio by writing a quick introduction that I may use to current my essence in just a few paragraphs. I made a decision to keep away from talking an excessive amount of about technicalities, like what instruments I knew learn how to use or programs I had taken (I put these on the finish of the doc), and I made certain I included my favourite books and hobbies. I believed it was necessary to indicate Spotify my very own private relationship with design, so I added a web page the place I uncovered how I really feel about what we do (spoiler: design is all the pieces!). 

After I had introduced myself, it was time to show what I had achieved previously by displaying just a few initiatives. However, I made a decision to not present the perfect initiatives I had achieved however to border my challenge part primarily based on my pursuits. I selected three or 4 pursuits (storytelling, digital communication, UX, and illustration) and introduced a challenge associated to every. By displaying what I like, I demonstrated a transparent imaginative and prescient of the place I wished to go (and issues I nonetheless wanted to enhance on). Since I joined Spotify, I’ve realized that managers search for fascinating profiles of people who find themselves unique in the way in which they current themselves: somebody who’s advanced and never afraid of displaying their weaknesses. I extremely encourage everybody to create a novel portfolio doc! It’s not about your initiatives, it’s about you.

What do you assume was most notable or distinctive about your software?

Christina: I feel probably the most notable factor about my software was how I used totally different initiatives to showcase my numerous skillsets as a product designer. I picked two initiatives for my portfolio evaluation, one from my previous internship that focuses totally on visible design, and one which has extra emphasis on UX and product considering. During my presentation, I made certain to emphasise the purpose of every challenge by being intentional about how I communicated them. For the challenge that targeted extra on visible design, I hung out discussing the totally different design choices I brainstormed and why I landed on the ultimate resolution primarily based on person wants and enterprise wants. For the challenge that touched extra on UX and product considering, I talked about how I led the challenge from finish to finish by collaborating with person analysis, product, and engineering. 

In order to make my software stand out additional, I tailor-made my software to Spotify by doing two issues. First, I integrated Spotify’s branding components equivalent to font, coloration palette, and illustration model all through the design of my presentation. Secondly, I additionally made connections between my design initiatives and Spotify’s present merchandise. For instance, my first challenge was round designing subscription emails for sure prospects, so in my presentation, I touched on how I might design Spotify’s subscription emails. 

I imagine each product designer has a novel set of abilities and standpoint and Spotify actually values that. Your software will certainly stand out extra should you lean into your distinctive perspective as a designer. 

Ian: Something that I feel was notable about my software was a drive and willingness to be taught. During my interview prep, I famous down issues that I didn’t essentially get to observe throughout college, issues I wished to be taught throughout the internship, and what I used to be anticipating to get out of the internship. Although I targeted on highlighting my strengths and pursuits, I’ve tried to be open about my progress alternatives throughout any interview that I’ve had with any firm. Doing so felt intimidating, particularly within the context of an interview, however I additionally imagine that it will probably showcase a progress mindset. 

The suggestions from my Spotify software mirrored this: they talked about that I appeared honest and desirous to be taught. Being open about this additionally ready me to stay to that honesty once I joined Spotify; when the internship began I advised my buddy about one particular space of enchancment that I wished to deal with, which they had been capable of assist me with throughout the course of the internship.

Ultimately, internships are supposed to assist you in studying new abilities and bettering on present ones. Keep in thoughts, nonetheless, that speaking about progress alternatives shouldn’t be the identical factor as stating that you just can’t do one thing. I positively ended up in conditions beforehand the place I didn’t get a suggestion as a result of I framed a progress alternative as a flaw.

Any different suggestions for a Spotify internship applicant seeking to stand out?

Josefina: There are hundreds of wonderful designers on the market however not everybody will use their distinctive persona to carry one thing new to the desk. My first tip could be to take a deep have a look at who you’re and the way you’re totally different from what’s on the market. What makes you distinctive? It is usually a interest that you just love, a particular philosophy you typically take into consideration — it doesn’t matter, so long as you acknowledge it as part of you. Once you could have that, translate it into your software. Not solely within the descriptions and textual content however in your total portfolio. Avoid utilizing A4 white canvases to put in writing your resume; make it enjoyable as an alternative. Have a narrative to inform and let all of the visible components talk who you’re: colours and fonts, photos or illustrations, icons, all the pieces. It doesn’t essentially must be aesthetically lovely (you may at all times enhance your graphic design abilities later); it must be genuine. Make them need to get to know you higher. Use quotes, inform them about your favourite books, films, and video games. What is it that you just love?

Don’t waste your time modifying who you’re with the intention to match what you understand Spotify to be. Spotify is a spot of variety, collaboration, and inspiration. You wouldn’t need to invite 100 clones into your band, would you? 

My first tip would be to take a deep look at who you are and how you are different from what’s out there. What makes you unique?

René: The design neighborhood at Spotify values individuality, a artistic sensibility and storytelling. Whether you could have an unhealthy obsession with tufting otherwise you’re a stamp collector on the facet — no matter makes you tick, present it! Scream it! Embrace it! Make your persona and standpoint shine by in your work and software. Oftentimes, it’s what I’ve achieved on the skin that’s helped me with fixing an issue inside at Spotify, and all of us within the design neighborhood have very distinctive and totally different hobbies that form us and our design method. Ultimately, we dwell by our Band Manifesto so it’s necessary which you can resonate with it. We all resonate otherwise so be sure you can reveal how our values align with you in a method that’s distinctive to you and your experiences.

Applying for an internship at Spotify isn’t a one-size-fits-all course of. (Take it from us, former interns!) Your distinctive background, experiences, and abilities are what differentiates you from the remaining — so be clear on how this interprets into your subsequent position. Double down on what makes you shine as a designer, and let your creativity do the remaining. Lastly, to these aspiring interns, hold pushing your self! The internship hunt is a nerve-racking course of however each alternative — profitable or not — is an opportunity to enhance in the precise route.

From all of us… the perfect of luck!

Kate, René, Ian, Christina, Josefina, and Ian

Want to affix the band? Applications for Spotify’s international summer time internships open each late fall/early winter, in a number of areas all over the world. Keep a watch out for upcoming alternatives at Students at Spotify.

Credits

Kate Jung

Associate Product Designer

Kate is a Korean-Canadian designer engaged on new product innovation. She lives close to Toronto, the place she will be discovered café-hopping and taking walks together with her canine.

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Christina Shi

Product Designer I

Zhenyuan (Christina) is a designer and printmaker who seeks to carry poeticness and playfulness to all the pieces they create. Likes: possums, chess, and boxing.

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René Simonsson

Product Designer I

René is deep in social discovery and sharing at Spotify. Outside work, he likes huge phrases, digging into music samples, and visiting Stockholm’s dive bars.

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Ian Harrysson

Junior Product Designer

Based in Malmö, Sweden, Ian is part of the workforce designing in-home-experiences. In his free time, Ian enjoys ingesting pure wine, operating, and studying.

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Josefina Geisse

Product Designer I

From southern Chile, Josefina loves recognizing hidden product flows. Outside work, she typically leaves actuality to stay her head in books with fairies or warlords.

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