How to Land the Dream Fashion InternshipMarch 24, 2017
As just a junior in college, I've already held two internships, (Nationwide and L Brands -- owner of Victoria's Secret) and plan on holding my third one this summer with Kohl's HQ in merchandising. A lot of people I go to school with and know, ask me how I've gotten so many offers, and in a field I enjoy as well.
Many people think to work in the higher ups of the retail industry (i.e. not a sales associate) you need to be unpaid, and work from 7 am to 7 pm -- I'm here to tell you I've made competitive wages, never worked more than 40 hrs a week on the regular, and have done actual work; not coffee runs and file organization.
How is this possible you ask? A lot of hard work simply put. But here are some tips to help as well.
Start the search EARLY
Like so early you say, wait is anything posted yet? Because it will sneak up on you and suddenly it's April. I've started looking for my internships beginning of September, and find there to be two big "waves" of hiring for college students; early November and February. It might differ at your school a little, but this is from large companies that are all over the country and you don't want to miss these big hiring points.
But you could luck out later
Although not as likely, if you have missed the waves of hiring, last minute (April) some companies find they didn't hire enough interns, or too many of their offers were declined. This is when you spring in and take that spot they desperately need filled.
Utilize all your resources
So how do you even find these great opportunities? Start the search with your school career board, then use other sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Internships. Check out this Forbes article that has a good, short and sweet list, but those above are my favorites.
Don't just check online, talk to your professors who work in the fashion industry and ask for their contacts, talk to your parents and other family. Getting your first internship is the most difficult, and most often people get it through knowing someone.
Know what to look for
Figure out what your key words are and what search filters to use. If you want that job to be paid (and I highly recommend you don't settle for anything less), use the filter 'paid' vs 'unpaid'! I've not selected this in case a company hasn't filled out all of the pieces of their ad, but think, do you really want to work for a company that isn't proud to pay it's employees? Plus what do college students want more than a paid internship? If it doesn't outright say that the position is paid, it probably isn't (and thus not worth your time).
Starting your searches close to home, even if you were happy anywhere in North America like me, will limit yourself to only relevant job postings and also make it easier for interviews. Sometimes you waste time realizing you can't afford the flight to a small company in L.A.. It happens.
Boost your resume
Okay but like really when is the last time you updated that thing? Make sure you're using good adjectives, promoting your accomplishments and leadership positions, and cutting out that you were a babysitter in high school as job experience (cmon you're in college who cares?). Go to your school's career center to learn how to write an effective resume, check out this site, or let me know if you want to see another post about how I made my resume ;) ;)
If you want a job in fashion particularly, make sure you write experiences you've had working in fashion, seriously is underline/italic/bold enough to grab your attention? Fashion loves fashion, so even having that you worked at Hollister in HS is better than swiping in people at the dining hall (lol I worked at Hollister, I thought I was really really cool). If you haven't worked at a store try writing out some blog posts, or go through magazines and spot the latest trends; do something that relates to fashion.
Ever had where you submit a resume and like a month later there's still no update? After 2 weeks, send an email to the company and ask to make sure they got your resume, and see if there's anything else you can do. Sometimes they just miss you, or sent the email to the wrong address...human error knows no limits.
Interview like a pro
There's a million tips on interviewing, I could even do a whole post on it (seriously let a girl know in the comments), but my top tips are to sell yourself, find a connection, and be different.
Sell yourself: This is your time to brag! You are awesome. So awesome. This company should be blessed to hire you (ok that's cocky but really you've done a lot if you got an interview). Talk about your best aspects only, but be honest. There's a fine line between cocky and confident, but feel the situation out, sometimes it's good to skirt that line.
Find a connection: This one is a personal favorite. Science shows (no I'm not making this up ok look it up yourself you skeptic) that people are more likely to trust you if you have something in common with them. So chat it up during your interview, get to know your interviewer a little, and when the tiniest thing that connects you too pops up, elaborate on it. "Oh no way you went to high school in Canada? I just got back from a trip to Toronto, it is such a beautiful country!" Seriously. They will love you.
Be different: Everyone reads the same preparation articles, studies the same information on the company, and expects the same questions. Be different! Say something outside of the box, be original, don't follow a pattern and be afraid you will be judged for it. High risk is high reward, and sometimes you will fail, but being different is memorable and can really set you ahead.
Any pointers I missed? Ask in the comment section below, and let me know if you want more tips on resumes or interviewing. Xo.