Whether you decided to not go to university (like me) or you have a degree, the reality in most industries, especially fashion, is that you are going to start your career as an intern. Before I became an intern, that word filled me with dread because in the last few years internships have rightly been under scrutiny as many were unpaid. I don’t know about you, but this girl is not working for free- however great my CV would look, I had to have an income.
Then it came to actually applying for my first marketing job out of college, and despite not thinking interning was for me, to my surprise a lot of them are now paid and also paid pretty reasonably! So I waved goodbye to my shop assistant job and started my first internship and am now about to start my second. ‘Okay, so you are paid but aren’t you just the photocopier and tea maker?’ You may be asking, and although you may find yourself photocopying, running errands and making tea (it is a British thing to do after all), here’s my advice on how to make the most out of your internship.
Really sell yourself in your CV (but don’t lie!)
Sorry but your degree is not enough to make you good at a job, work experience does and if you have it, don’t play that down, embellish it. Fill your CV/ application with all that experience, drop in those words that they used in their job description and make sure you can expand on everything in your interview. Make it known that you have value and you are NOT just going to be their bitch. Where I previously worked they had never had an intern before, so they didn’t really know what to expect or even what they needed, so it was really important that I showed I was an addition to the team, not just tea maker with a desk. In daily life I am certainly not a confident person, but in the super competitive world of entry level roles, you have to really fake it until you make it.
Have opinions & get involved
Although it’s daunting at first, having opinions in meeting or even just to your manager is also another way for them to see you as a valuable part of the team, and also means that they will trust you with real work. If they aren’t giving you stuff to do, go out your way and ask for it, attend meetings and don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. The point of an internships is to learn and build your career, which brings me to my next point…
Jumper // New Look
*Jeans // Topshop
Trainers // Adidas Stan Smith (Kids)
Baker boy hat // Topshop
Earrings // ASOS
Coat // Boohoo (Similar)
Bag // Kate Spade (Similar)
Photography // Olivia Bush
Contacts, contacts, contacts
As well as learning skills that you can take into your career, maybe the most important thing about an internship is to build contacts. Not got LinkedIn? Get it! Okay, people do make pretty annoying statuses but it’s not going to be an app you find yourself checking every 5 minutes, instead it helps you build a network of people you’ve worked with, keep up to date with what they are doing, as well as what you are doing. Top tip: if you add them quite soon into your internship, it will also help you remember their name, as you can sneakily look them up! If you have to run errands around the business, use it to meet people across different teams because you never know what contacts you might need in the future. As I work in social media, I also like to follow people on Instagram but if you post photos of yourself pissed on a night out or you don’t follow the ‘keeping your grandma in mind before posting’ rule, then maybe this isn’t for you. Oh’ and when they say employers look you up on social media, that is 100% true.
Keep note of everything
Interning is all about learning skills in the real working world, so one day you can no longer be an intern and get a full-time, better paid job. So make sure you keep a note or remember everything you do, especially if it’s using a specific programme or you did something beyond an intern and add it to your CV/ LinkedIn profile sooner rather than later so you don’t forget!
Don’t be afraid to use interning to try different career paths
School teaches us that we should know exactly what we want to do for a job and honestly I still don’t know! As much as an internship can drive you to want to work in that career even more, it can also help you find out what you don’t want to do, and that’s okay. Use the time early on in your career to try out different brands and different job roles, because you can never know what you really want to do until you try it.
I hope this post made the world of interning seem a little less daunting and although you may need to make a cup of tea or two, internships can really help you establish yourself in the industry. I would love to know your experience of interning and if you would like more advice (I could have gone on longer, but this post was already quite long) then feel free to drop me a question, across my socials, in the comments or by sending me an email.
Until next time,