How To Bag Your Dream Fashion Internship
We are very pleased to welcome Abby Dennison of Sunday Girl on board as a guest blogger! In her post post Abby draws on her on experiencing interning at Vogue to offer fashion students advice on how to do the same!
We’ve all heard it, the fashion industry is a tough bubble to break into, whether they tell you “it’s who you know” or “what you know”, ultimately the way to do it is to start from the bottom, literally. I spent a year of my university life sat on the floor in a windowless fashion cupboard – however being surrounded by the muses that created the magazines I read throughout my teenage years was totally worth the numb bum and the constant cabin fever.
Throughout this post I want to share with you my tips and hacks on how I went from a shy Fashion Journalism student with only a part time college job on my CV, to Vogue’s fashion intern and running an international magazine in 1 year.
1. Initiative is Key
Whether you dream to be the next Rankin or style the cover of Vogue, starting a blog, running test shoots and showing your range of skills is the first step; if you want to write, style, photograph, sew, illustrate – do it! This will show your potential internship that you’re a proactive candidate and keen to work hard.As you wont have the big names on your CV yet, working with small independent companies around your local area is great to get on the ladder. You get a lot of one to one help and also make really good contacts! It also helps you figure out if you actually enjoy the role/ department you want to progress in.
2. Make Your CV Talk
Ok not actually talk but don’t present your CV to your employer in boring black and white ‘microsoft word’ style, it must stand out! This was pivotal for me – I must have sent out over 25 black and white ‘word’ CVs with not one single response. The minute I went crazy on InDesign and showed my personality through my resume, I began to get somewhere.
3. Email the Correct Person
Sounds like a no-brainer really, but finding out the name of person who deals with interns and addressing your email directly to them really helps e.g. ‘Dear Lucy’ is going to get the reading time over ‘To whom this may concern’. Tailoring your email makes it personal and look as though you’ve really done your homework.
4. Do Good and Always Leave the Door Open!
Once you’ve got your foot in the door do your best and say ‘Yes’ to everything! Can you make tea? Yes! Can you use the photocopier? Yes! Will you assist this 7am-7pm shoot for me? Yes! Be the intern they can rely on. They’ll certainly remember you to being one of the best interns they’ve taken on and will recommend you to another company/magazine or even potentially employ you if a position comes available. This happened to me! After I did my utmost to impress the team at Look magazine, I was contacted by Company magazine, then Cosmopolitan, then Cosmo hired me as a freelance fashion assistant, then I was recommended to Vogue. Everybody talks and knows everybody else, so make the right impression and you might not have to email your CV out for an internship much more!
5. Remember, Make the Most of Each Experience, Even the Bad Ones
Not all of your placements are going to be amazing throughout and there are people who might treat you badly. As an intern is ultimately the bottom of the chain, some people think its ok to treat them badly. I was once shouted at and sworn at for not steaming clothes fast enough, but for me that was a one off; every other place treat me with respect and I was well looked after. Know what you’re going into and try to have a thick skin. This experience only made me stronger (and now I’m a very good clothes steamer *cough*) and I also know how to handle myself in a situation like that. However, the good experiences are what makes the whole thing worth it and your internship will go really fast so learn as much as you can whilst your there!
These experiences have been so important for me to go out into industry and launch a publication. Learning new skills and the way things work in publishing has really helped grow Sunday Girl into an international magazine, for example (amongst other lessons) at Vogue I was taught the etiquette of simply answering the phone on the second ring and at Cosmo I learnt how to deal with (sometimes aggressive) PR managers – things I thought wouldn’t be that useful have proved incredibly important.
Thank you for reading; I really hope you can take something from this piece! If you need any advice or someone to talk to then please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be delighted to hear from you!
In the meantime check out Sunday Girl for more from me and the Sunday Girl team!