Paddy O’Connor Creative Director
“When it comes to creative staff, there are two requirements: you have to be talented and you have to be nice” — Bill Bernbach
We receive regular applications from students all over the world who are interested in doing an internship at Paradigm. So, what does it take to become an intern here, and how can successful applicants have a positive experience?
You should begin with a good cover letter and a well thought-out introductory email. Often, the impression given at this stage is key to how your application is considered — or if your CV is read at all.
The main department we take interns for is our design department, but we also consider budding writers/editors, project managers, and IT students.
In fact, one of the most interesting interns we have had was a psychology major who helped us with a wide range of tasks and finished her internship by presenting a — very revealing — psychological profile of each staff member.
Depending on your aptitude and skill set, we will try to have you work on the most demanding projects that we feel you can handle.
To expand on the “talented and nice” quote, characteristics we find particularly appealing are curiosity and enthusiasm, and we hope all our interns are respectful, courteous and good communicators.
Although we don’t have a fixed requirement for the length of an internship, interns are typically here for two to three months and are in the office for a minimum of two or three days a week. We are happy to discuss individual arrangements.
One point that is quite important to note is that, even though we are always very busy at Paradigm, because of the nature of what we do, it can sometimes be hard to guarantee a steady flow of meaningful jobs. If interns are working on a personal project or are studying Japanese, for example, this can help occupy them during the quieter times.
We do not offer payment to interns, but we cover travel expenses to and from the office. The working language here is English, but having some Japanese skills can be an advantage.
So, if you’re looking for some hands-on experience at Japan’s leading digital creative agency, send us your CV and tell us why you think you’d make a great intern.
I’ll finish with the rest of Bernbach’s quote: “If you were a great talent, but not a nice person, we had no hesitation in saying ‘No’. Life is too short to sacrifice so much of it to working with a bastard.”
For a personal experience of interning at Paradigm, read Jan van Dijke’s comments on his time here. Jan is a Dutch national and a Bachelor of Communications undergraduate at the University of Rotterdam.
Interning in Japan at Paradigm was one of the best experiences of my life. The skills I’ve learned and the experience I’ve gained by living abroad and working here has been stunning. In five months I’ve lived a scenario that I could only have dreamed of before. As the first student from my university to intern in Japan, I’ve done something I didn’t really think was possible. People back home kept telling me, ‘You’re not there yet; stop being so excited’. But I couldn’t contain my excitement.
And it was completely warranted. Living and traveling in Japan has been incredible. It’s so interesting to see how the Japanese tackle their problems and make good use of their strengths. The attention to detail, the cleanliness, safety, and so much more just opened my eyes to how many things can be done in a much better way.
From having fun with the locals in Tokyo’s bars, to climbing Mt. Mitake — Tokyo truly has something for everyone. It’s incredibly large and modern, but, sometimes, turning off onto a side street can instantly make you feel like you’re in a small Japanese village from decades ago. The Japanese are very friendly and helpful, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know quite a few of them.
But, getting to Japan was not very easy. The hardest part was finding a company that was friendly, not a mega-corporation, English-speaking, and open to non-Japanese interns. After looking at many Tokyo-based creative agencies, I found that that company was Paradigm.
Interning at Paradigm for five months was a great experience. I saw and learned lots about the inner workings of a digital creative agency. The people at Paradigm have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. In my time here, I had the opportunity to do many tasks that I’d never done before — from assisting in putting together a direct mail campaign targeting potential business partners to taking pictures at the Tokyo Motor Show for Eurobiz Japan magazine.
Paradigm is a truly great place to intern because you really feel you’re a part of a team, and not just another one of the 5,000 cubicle-bound workers in a 30-floor office building. I would recommend doing an internship here to anyone who is looking to expand their horizons.
Leave everything behind and go on an adventure that will shape your future like no other.