But even though I had some journalism experience under my belt, I quickly realized it wasn’t nearly enough. I realized I needed to meet people in the industry and make connections that would lead to my dream job, so I began to apply for internships. I ended up doing seven internships. Yup, seven.
Some internships have been editorial and others in fashion, which is exactly the kind of experience I needed. Ironically, my first internship was a remote internship for a magazine in Chicago. I was a New York reporter where I was required to attend social events. For my next two internships, I went on to be an editorial assistant and fashion writer intern for two different websites. Then after a couple of fashion assistant internships I moved onto being a pr assistant intern for a high-end menswear line. At my last internship I was a fashion closet intern for a national magazine which was surprisingly a paid internship.
There were oh so many times when I would come home tired and discouraged and it made me second-guess moving to the Big Apple, but deep inside I knew it was all temporary and that it would lead me to where I really wanted to be, and it did. So here are some takeaways from my interning days that can hopefully help you if you’re looking into becoming an intern or are currently interning.
1. You gain experience and learn about yourself With so much experience and all your hard work you are bound to get a job somewhere. Through my internships I have gained so much valuable experience and I have learned about myself and what I really want to do professionally. I learned that even though I love to style outfits, I also love to write and I want to continue to do so. I also learned how important it is for me to feel happy with my job, otherwise it can feel like a living nightmare. If it weren’t for these internships I wouldn’t be where I am now.
2. Referrals are the way to goAfter one of my fashion internships ended, another fashion stylist’s assistant let me know of another opportunity to intern with them. The assistants at my previous internship said I was a “hard worker who got things done”. Referrals are highly valued not only in fashion but in any career. Companies like to interview (and hire) someone who is referred to them because they immediately know that it’s someone they can trust to do a good job.
3. Treat it as if it were a paid job Even though most internships are unpaid you need to treat it as if you were being paid. This might be hard to do at first but internships allow you to demonstrate that you’re responsible and capable of doing even the simplest tasks super well. No matter how insignificant your job may feel, it’s still important that you excel in everything you do. Your boss will take note of these things and it can lead to a paid position within the company or elsewhere.
4. Doing errands all over the city has its perks I discovered many restaurants and shops, and most importantly I learned my way around the city thanks to many coffee and errand runs. As a newbie in the city this was all exciting for me. What I enjoyed most about returning clothing samples was visiting showrooms of some of my favorite designers like Oscar de La Renta and Stella McCartney. And, I was lucky to have been sent to sit front row at fashion shows like Lela Rose and Nicholas K. This was one of the perks that came when editors needed to be in several places at once.
5. You will learn somethingWhen interning it is important that you are actually learning and not just doing coffee runs. Internships are for gaining experience in your career so it is necessary that you are assisting in projects or other important tasks that will teach you about the ins and outs of what you will most likely be doing in the future.
6. A fashion closet sounds amazing but can also be insaneWorking in a fashion closet sounds like every girl’s dream (it was one of mine!) but at times it can get overwhelmingly crazy. There are piles and piles of clothing, bags and shoes, which in mind sounds amazing (and it is!), but it is also completely different when you’re buried under all the clothes and you need to constantly keep the items organized when there’s no more room. Jewelry can be the most tedious of all as it’s hard to differ and can easily get lost. Then again I loved getting first looks on trends for the upcoming season.
7. I learned about fashion from the designer’s, stylist’s, and editorial point of viewFashion is much more than pretty clothing and shoes. It is a multi-billion industry in which everyone works together to make fashion happen. Interning with the menswear label I learned about the business side while in interning with stylists and a fashion magazine taught me about everything that goes into shooting editorials and how every minor detail can make all the difference.
8. You make friendsI have made some amazing friends along the way! These are friends who share my same interests and who understand what I’ve been through because they’ve also experienced the same situations. They then go on to have jobs at other publications and for professional reasons it’s always great to have friends in your choice of career. My friends also taught me other tips and tricks within the industry and let’s face it, work can be ten times more fun when you’re working with friends.
9. One connection can lead to anotherI met my current boss through my old boss during my internship as a public relations assistant. The two were friends and my old boss referred me to my current boss because she knew I was in search of a job as a writer. Little did I know I would end up working for her. This just shows why you should always work hard for what you want. This will only lead you get the job you have been waiting for.