Coffee runs, press bag-stuffing, paper filling, email organizing. Welcome to the glamorous world of interning!
With summer comes a new crop of eager college students (or recent graduates) who are looking to break into the media or fashion industry with a coveted internship. However, landing that dream internship can be as tricky as finding a studio apartment in New York that can hold your bed AND dresser AND shoes. (New Yorkers, you know what I’m talking about.) Plus, with college admissions rising and, in turn, college graduation rates increasing, the competition in the media/fashion internship land got 100x more vicious.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for your dream internship – it just means that you have to get smarter and more dedicated while on the internship hunt. Copy/pasting your resume without a cover letter won’t cut it, kids. You have to stand out, be the best all the while showing off your personality in limited doses. Sounds intimating? Don’t worry – we’ve got you coveted.
Here are five tips to not only getting an interview but scoring the coveted internship:
1. Master the Art of the Cover Letter: The surest way to make your resume disappear into the email black-hole is to not attach a a cover letter with it. The cover letter is hands down one of the best resources you have in your arsenal. Nestled in three concise paragraphs, the cover letter conveys your job qualifications, professional desires and unique personality. Easily digestible and accessible, a cover letter sets your application a part from the rest so don’t forget it. And always make sure to personalize the letter (Dear Mrs. X or Dear Hiring Manager) as it shows you didn’t just send your resume off on a massive BCC chain email.
2. Be Passionate: We’ve met with many interns and if there’s one thing we know right off the bat, it’s if they are passionate or not. There’s a look in their eye, an excited tone in their voice, a feeling of true nerd joy that fills our office the minute we come across them. It’s truly palpable and it’s what your future employer is looking for as well. Look, we get it. Following Twitter, creating databases, pinning nonstop. It’s not fun for most people but we are true social media nerds and we are looking for talent who feels the same. If you don’t, it just won’t work.
3. Do Your Homework: The worst thing you can do going into an interview is to not know what is going on with the company in question. It makes it look as if you don’t care and aren’t interested. You should be familiar with their recent product launches, press placements, social media updates, and latest updates. All of these information can be found on the company’s website and only takes an hour for you to get caught up. But it really does pay off, especially when the HR manager asks if you saw the most recent news release and you can successful say yes and explain why you thought it was riveting.
4. Demonstrate Your Strong Oral/Written Communication skills: Every employer is looking for those students who can write and talk speak clearly and write in a concise manner. These written and oral communication skills are absolutely required in today’s professional field. If you can’t write and can’t talk effectively, you will have trouble not only getting your interview but keeping your internship as well. You have (or are pursuing) a college degree. Show off your skills and you will succeed. Fail to understand how to use spell check or how to punctuate your sentences properly and you will have a problem. Note: please have someone proofread your resume/cover letter. Spelling mishaps and grammar errors are non-negotiable.
5. Say yes. To everything. Yes, coffee runs might seem fruitless but guess what? You are there to help out in every area. It may not be thrilling, it may even be draining (try getting coffee/pastries for an entire press event filled with editors. Yikes). But it is your job to assist your manager in every way. Hopefully, your manager will see your enthusiasm and start giving you more important tasks. But you always have to start at the bottom.
There you have it, our tips for getting and keeping your internship. Intense and chaotic, internships are honestly the best way to get your foot in the door in any industry, not just fashion and media. Everyone at IFB started off as an intern somewhere and it completely pays off.
Just remember: if you work hard, good things happen. Oh, and don’t steal office supplies. Talk about bad job karma.