This year so far Ive had quite a few interviews and have been chasing internships like a crazy woman. I thought it would be useful to write a post on interning and interviews- I'm no expert but its always an eye opener seeing other peoples views on these things!
As a fashion student the word ‘internship’ carries numerous alternative meanings. Its something you know is required to advance in you career and make your CV stand out to potential employers, but it is also something that is not always easily attainable.
Being a fashion intern can be lots of fun. Its so rewarding and often not as scary as people might expect (The Fashion Industry have ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ to thank for that and UGLY BETTY. THANK YOUUU!). I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and being busy, two parts of the intern role. Recently, I was assistant styling manger in a Fashion Show put on by my course at university (see older posts) and learnt from this that I work very well in high pressure environments- which interning can often be, especially if you’re interning at fashion week or catwalk shows, for example. When I interned for Matthew Williamson during Paris Fashion Week earlier this year it was definitely a case of high pressure as so many things were happening at once and I had to learn to be flexible in order to successfully multi task. By the end of the week of doing 8.30am – whenever times we were all so tiered but it was such an amazing experience I would have been a total mug to say no. Not only did I meet some really interesting people and learn so much but I felt so independent and proud of myself- its not everyday you get a job offer in Paris. It was pretty surreal hearing clients starting conversations like ‘OMG, last night at dinner Kayne and Jay-Z were sat on the next table to us.” Don’t tend to hear that in Northampton or Oxford! That’s the type of conversations I want to be having in five years time!!!
On the other hand interning, or rather securing a placement can be really challenging and there are often times when you feel like giving up. I’m not an expert at interning but I do have a few tips that I think most aspiring interns would agree with. Firstly, I think that pester power is the way to go. Often companies are so busy and receive hundreds of emails a day and yours might be overlooked so the more you send I reckon the more likely you’ll get a response.
Following up emails is also a good idea, as it shows your really keen and eager to work for the company. For example, the other day I sent a mass of emails out to people I had previously been in contact with but the thread of emails had stopped for whatever reasons. The next day I got a reply from one of the companies that I REALLY love and the day after that I had an interview and now I am interning for them this summer! YAY. There have been loads of times when my friends and I have felt really disheartened from a lack of response or a bad experience… however this feeling I’ve found is only momentary. I try not to let it get me down because you have to work hard and get knock backs in order to get where you want to be. A new thing I’ve done recently is actually ring the company or send a letter. The phone call method is really daunting (I can be a shy person too so it was extra scary!) But it shows initiative, passion and drive, and is more personal than an email. The letter is an ‘old fashioned’ approach, because who really sends ‘letters’ these days?! I think its quite a unique way to contact a company because anyone can send an email, its not very original, but a letter is more poignant in a way and shows true determination and commitment as it is more effort.
One of the most annoying things about interning in fashion is more often then not they are not paid and only travel remunerations are offered. There have been a few times when I have nearly turned down an opportunity because of this reason. Money does not, unfortunately, grow on trees. Everyone’s finances are different and as a student unpaid work seems like a totally foreign concept but I think its important to take all opportunities offered to you. So I try to avoid saying no to placements, even if it means I can’t buy new clothes for a few weeks which if you know me you know that’s pretty much mission impossible.
Would you agree? Do you have any tips to add? What’s been your best/worst interning experience?
Love Lexie x x x