if there is one thing i have learned so far about the creative industry it is this: it's not about what you know, rather, it's about who you know. i always tried to tell myself otherwise, hoping that my creativity alone could land me a job after graduation. after meeting with firms, it seems like the only thing that matters, when they look for new graduates, is not so much their design skills as much as it is about whether or not that applicant's personality would fit in well with their company.
i've spent the last couple weeks doing a self-initiated circuit of informational interviews at firms around town and it seems like they all say the same thing. they realize brand new graduates won't have the experience and knowledge of a seasoned professional. they have all emphasized doing as many internships as possible-- even internships after graduation are a good idea. when talking to people at Larsen, the HR woman said that they tend to hire a lot of their interns. honestly, i would really recommend Larsen to anyone. they are very supportive of design students (they are the only firm in town that i know of that gives out an annual design scholarhip) and several of their staff are really involved in AIGA. Heather (the head of HR) said that their policy is: if they like the person, they'll find a spot for them.
granted, i know not every place in town is as supportive. my advise: get your name out there. go to informational interviews and aiga events. (i plan on going to the next Cocktails with Creatives on the 12th if anyone else wants to join me.) form a contact base by collecting business cards-- there are people in the industry willing to help you out.