The world of fashion is highly competitive, no more so than when it comes to internship placements. This is an incredibly gruelling – but infinitely worthwhile – experience where you’re certain to discover your true talents and areas that need some work.
Because there are so many people looking to land the right fashion internship, you need to make sure you stand out. Here are a few tips on how to secure that fashion internship.
Don’t leave your application until the very last minute, or you’ll be left out in the cold. Start researching fashion houses and possible internships months in advance if you want any chance at a good internship. Get out your calendar and mark off deadlines now, so that you have lots of time to prepare.
First things first – get that CV sorted. You’re applying for an internship, so nobody expects you to have an extensive CV. Try to categorise your experience and prioritise what’s relevant to the fashion internship you’re hoping to land. Make sure you personalise every cover letter as well, rather than sending a generic letter to every fashion house. Find out who you need to address the letter to, talk a bit about yourself… but don’t make it too long.
Looking online for fashion internships opportunities is obviously a good place to start, but you will need to take it a step further. If there’s a particular place you’re hoping to eventually work, send out your CV and cover letter before any listings are posted. Just don’t do this too far in advance, a few months prior is ideal. You should also draw on your network of existing contact where possible.
While you might have one particular fashion house you’d ideally like to work, don’t narrow your options by only applying there. Make sure you send out your (personalised) cover letter and CV to a number of organisations, but make sure you make a note of exactly who you’ve contacted. This will be a useful reference if you get a follow-up call.
In addition to personalising your cover letter, it’s important that you consider the company you are applying to as well. Analyse the brand’s aesthetic, message and feel when you’re making your application. It’s also vital that you follow every application requirement carefully, don’t send too much and definitely don’t send too little.
If your initial application is successful you will be called in for a job interview. These are always incredibly stressful, but if this is the career you want, you just need to prepare. Because this is a fashion internship, what you wear will definitely count. You are going to be working hard – lifting and carrying possibly – so your outfit will need to be chic but practical. Bring along a portfolio of previous work that showcases your skills and – in addition to preparing responses for possible questions – prepare some of your own questions as well.
Don’t harass the company, but make sure you keep in contact, even if you are unsuccessful in your first attempt at an internship. It’s also important to maintain good relations with companies, even if it’s your choice to turn down an internship for another opportunity.
Once you’ve landed that fashion internship, the hard work begins. But remember, you are not there to be completely overworked. It’s about gaining experience not being exploited. You need to decide exactly how long you are willing to work at internship level before seeking paid employment, and while the work will be gruelling, you must be happy gaining this experience.
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Do not be disheartened if your application for an internship is unsuccessful. There are many students of fashion looking for internship positions – it’s a competitive industry. Just keep sending out your CV, networking wherever you can, and gaining as much experience as possible. Disappointment is inevitable in any career, just learn from it and move on.