For most people, graduation means freedom – at least, for those freshmen students who still feel like they’re too cool for school does. But for the people who actually made it, diplomas can pretty much seem like an official receipt of their post-graduate depression. No matter how many times we refresh our email hoping to see the two words that would end our life of unemployment, all we get is a 404: job not found.
And to the people who graduated with mediocre colors – what of them? How can they compete next to (insert notable university name here)’s next big thing? In the intimidating world of job hunting, it’s experience over grades. Luckily, your link to fulfilling your dream job’s one year experience requirement can be marked off with internships.
We’ve all seen The Devil Wears Prada. An anxious assistant jumps through hoop after hoop to meet the demands of her overbearing, fashion editor boss. While most real-life editors are much less scary than Miranda Priestly, at least in our experience, and Andy is an assistant, not an intern, there’s a clear correlation between the fictional world of the film’s Runway Magazine and today’s fashion industry: magazine internships are the best way to get your foot in the door, but they’re also really hard to come by. While millennials love adding their Shrek fan-fiction into their portfolio and may sound like the best thing to do, we’ve got a few tips to avoid you hitting send on career suicide.
Do your research
Internships are not “one size fits all.” Before you even consider an internship with a particular magazine, browse their site or pick up a copy of a print issue. Determine if their content engages you and aligns with your interests. You’ll want to be interning at a place that you could see yourself working full-time (an internship may lead to a job offer), or at least somewhere that you think you’d be happy. And if you make it to the interview stage, you’ll want to present yourself as a candidate that actually reads the magazine.
Craft a hire-worthy email
Editors’ inboxes are flooded with emails from aspiring interns and many will have similar credentials to your own. Make yourself stand out. Start by addressing the fashion editor by their name, introduce yourself, and explain your interest in interning. Include prior experience and important information, like where you attend/attended school and your major. Each email should be unique and specifically written for the publication to which you’re sending it. Don’t be generic.
Don’t be afraid to follow-up
If you don’t hear back from the editor within two weeks, send a prompt follow-up email. The life of an editor is hectic, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you don’t receive a response right away. A prompt and professional email will bring your email to the top of the list if they hadn’t seen it in the first place or gently remind them that you’re still seeking in an internship, in case they forgot to respond. Your follow-up email should include multiple methods of contact information, such as your telephone number, so that they may reach you immediately at their convenience. Chances are, a phone call will mean you’re in, whilst an email can go either way.
Nail the interview
The interview is undoubtedly the hardest part of securing a fashion magazine internship. Sweaty palms, the wrong outfit, and bad breath can all be major turn-offs. Pick out your interview outfit in advance, not the morning of. Choose something that resembles your personality, while hinting at the style of the magazine and remaining professional. Wear light makeup and a subtle hairdo. You never know who may be interviewing you, (it’s not always the editor themselves), so your appearance must be neutrally likable. Start the interview off right with a firm handshake and smile. Regardless of how many times you’ve communicated over email or on the phone, this is your first real impression. Make it count. Be confident, friendly, and interesting. If you’re nervous, just remember, everyone working at a fashion magazine was once in your shoes.