Here it is uglies—even though it’s a bit premature considering most of you are in the market for summer fashion internships—but since my inbox has recently been inundated with questions about this topic, it seems like a good time to get them all answered.
I’ve made my way around the internship circuit and consider myself a bit of a veteran regarding getting internships and making them worthwhile. Here’s everything you need to know to snag a fashion internship:
Do your research:
Before you even think about applying, make sure you’re sure you know everything there is to know about the company. This includes past mastheads, their editorial voice and successful past articles they may have written if you’re looking to go into editorial. For PR jobs, make sure you’re familiar with all the company’s clients and the overall aesthetic. You should be able to show that they’re biggest fan and be ready to answer any and all questions about why you want to work at that specific company.
The most coveted internships are highly competitive, and you want to make sure that you can compete with the best of the applicants. This means that you should have plenty of relevant experience before you try for something big. Before I started at Teen Vogue, I had three other internships under my belt as well as experience writing for my own blogs.
Summer applications should be sent out before March, but apply early! The later you send something in, the more people you’ll have to compete with. Shoot for late-January to mid-February.
Resume / Cover letter:
Trim the fat on your resume: leave out irrelevant work experience, ditch the fancy fonts and keep mentions of your high school achievements to a minimum. DO make sure you’re thorough and specific when you explain all your tasks, commitments and responsibilities for each job. As for your cover letter, this is where you show (in three paragraphs) that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Avoid clichés, don’t be redundant (if you can find the information in your resume, leave it out of your cover letter) and make sure you convert everything to a PDF.
Dress appropriately (no pantsuits, unless you’re applying for a finance job, ya hear?), and please study up before. Prepare answers to stock questions (“Why do you want to work here?” “What are your favorite designers?” “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?”). Bring a portfolio of your work if you have one (Don’t have one? Make one!) Don’t be a sycophant, but don’t be too nonchalant. Confidence and enthusiasm is key.
Don’t get fired:
Read the contract thoroughly. Most places have confidentiality agreements that you have to adhere to. Also, don’t be snobby, don’t feel entitled to anything, don’t be rude, and don’t be afraid to ask assistants and other interns for help. The more tasks you complete perfectly and thoroughly, the more responsibilities they’ll give you.
This Chictopia internship is the sixth gig I’ve had since I started college, and probably my last before I graduate this May and head out looking for a real job. And though I’ve had my fair share of humbling experiences, I don’t regret any internship I’ve had. Each has helped me hone in on what I want to do with my life, and has given me invaluable tools in helping me get to where I want.
I hope this covers most of your questions! Leave me a comment if I forgot anything and I’ll make sure to answer it in a subsequent post!