How To: Get a (Fashion) Internship

Posted on Saturday, 6 June 2015

I feel that now is the right time to share my knowledge and 'tricks' about obtaining an internship. Although my placements were predominantly fashion related, these tips could apply to almost any industry.

Glasses: Osiris (Prescription)

1. Google is your best friend - do the research - study the masters!


I can tell you I stalked many LinkedIn profiles to see CVs of people who already had the placement I wanted. Google 'storm models intern linkedin ' or 'vogue uk internship linkedin' and a variety of profiles will come up. Study their previous experience; how did they get to where they were? Did they get the placement straight out of school? During their degree? After a while, you'll see patterns start to form and realise if they can do it, why can't I?

During the summer of 2014 (the gap year preparation period), I also googled 'Premier Model Management internship'. This came up: http://www.premiermodelstyle.com/premier-blog/index.php/2012/11/26/thedreamfashioninternship/.  This article gave me a tremendous amount of hope that if a student straight from school with no degree (which were my exact circumstances at the time) can gain a summer internship at one of the most prestigious model agencies in the world, then why can't I?

Research can get for you far on an internship search. Make sure you utilise Google/the internet to your advantage!


3. Make your own opportunities - directly contact a person in the company!


If a company isn't advertising an internship, who is to say that they don't want an intern?!?!? Obviously use sites where they advertise internships, but reaching out directly to a company is an extremely important tip I gained which allowed me to secure many future internships.

For example, after I read the Premier Models internship article, I directly emailed a person working in that company. So rather than emailing 'info@premiermodelmanagement.com', I emailed 'natalia@premiermodelmanagement.com' and 'annielou@premiermodelmanagement.com'. Once again, Google allowed me to find these individual email addresses. Alternatively, if Google is failing you, directly ring up the company, ask, and they will give you the person who deals with internships' email address!! I can't tell you how many times I did this, and it worked. The company number can usually be found in the 'contact' section of the website.

I learnt that you're much more likely to get a reply if you email a colleague's work email address rather than the general company email.


4. Interview tips: Turn up, show up (on time) and be authentic


My biggest tip about interviews is to be authentic/honest about your passion, why you want the role etc and prepare a little, but not overly. For example, to my great surprise, Premier Model Management got back to me in the Summer of 2014 to give me an interview. I turned up, showed up (on time) and had the interview. Unfortunately, I didn't get the internship. I knew why after I left Premier offices. I prepared too much for the interview, I was too focused on delivering 'perfect lines' rather than being my natural self.

If you want it badly enough, prepare a little (not overly) and let the passion speak for itself!

5. Be consistent, be persistent...


If you fail, that's fine; but fail fast! Learn from your mistakes and try, try, try again. After the rejection at Premier, I sent out tens of emails to different agencies in London. I got two more interviews. I eventually got that one internship at an almost as prestigious modelling agency. I finally got what I wanted. You can knock on thousands of doors, but all you need is one door to open to give you that chance! And it's SO true! You have to be persistent and keep on trying until one person says YES.



6. Fashion Workie, Fashion United and @ukfashionintern are also your best friends #squad


After my first internship, I discovered the wonderful fashionworkie.com - which has a wide range of opportunities in the fashion industry - from fashion photography, to fashion PR and fashion design. After a month of consistently and persistently applying for internships, I began to understand how competitive the site was. The number of views an internship advertisement has is shown. The more views a post has, the more applications. Apply as soon as possible after a new internship is posted. It'll have less views, less applications and therefore you'll be higher up on list of applicants. I realised that when a company got back to me, it was usually when I applied within 4 days of the posting date.

@ukfashionintern and Fashion United were also pretty good at posting intern roles!


7. When no doors are opening, that means you're getting somewhere!


You can apply for tens, hundreds of internships and not get a reply. But you're closer to your goal then when you first started. After weeks of 'consistently and persistently' applying for internships in November 2014, there was nothing. No interview, no email replies. Of course the natural reaction is to give up, right? On the last Thursday of November, 3 companies offered me an internship/opportunity on the same day - no joke, this is actually what happened. After sorting out the technicalities/availability, I ended up interning for Vecchio Vintage (read about it here), and it was probably the best internship I did on this gap year.

8. Increase your chances


There are a few UK fashion internship advertising sites. A company may advertise an internship on one, some or all of these sites. In my opinion, part of the reason why I was able to assist the casting director of Harper's Bazaar UK during LFW was due to a combination of the above and 'cause I applied to the internship 3 times! LOL! I applied on Fashion Workie, Fashion United and emailed the casting director herself! I was immediately putting a vibe out there that I really wanted it. And I got it!

T-Shirt: Primark

9. But what should I write in the email/application?


You want to include a cover letter and your CV. Keep your cover letter succinct, to the point, formal and be authentic. I talked about a combination of my prior experience, skills and what I can offer to the company. The employer has to go through thousands of applications so don't ramble! Make the person want to look at your CV. Tailor your cover letter to the role's requirements. Employers are more likely to look at your cover letter if it's in the body of the email, rather than an attachment. Only attach your CV.
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If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! I hope this post helps any 'internship seeker' on their journey :) This is also a dedication post to fashionworkie.com and @ukfashionintern on Twitter. Both huge helps in obtaining a placement!

Good luck!


Words, photography and creative direction: Rebecca Cofie

P.S. If you want to read more tips about success/finding a internship or job, read this post.

Also, the next post will be up in 2 weeks time, as I'm going on holiday next week! Follow my social media for updates ^
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