How to land the internship you've been dreaming of

Carving out a career path can start over brunch

Hey guys, Fashion Weekly’s very own fashion journalism and digital media intern here! How did I get to where I am? Luckily for all you goal diggers and aspiring #girlbosses out there, I’m going to share my journey with you, plus some tips and tricks for standing out and becoming valuable to the company.

I study creative and professional writing, which is teaching me some very versatile skills. Over brunch with a colleague I mentioned that working for a fashion magazine was a goal, and my friend then said she knew someone who worked for a well-respected publication called Fashion Weekly. She offered to ask if they had any internships going.

Next thing I knew, I had the email address of Stacey O'Keeffe, our Director and Publisher. I put together a cover letter with the details of my degree, career goals and why I love fashion and would love the opportunity to learn more about the magazine industry. Stacey responded, asking about my availability and suggesting we set up a phone interview. It was then that I started to realise this was getting real!

My phone interview was successful. I came in for my trial a week later, nervous but excited. I met the Fashion Weekly team and was set to work steaming and packing away clothes from the previous day’s photoshoot. I handled those designer clothes and clutches like newborns!

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Shortly after that I was writing my first couple of articles. Stacey gave me some great feedback, letting me know what needed improvement and what I had done well. Towards the end of my first day, I was asked to return once a week for a three-month internship. How could I say no? I already loved it!

That was August. Fast forward to November, and I have written countless articles for the website, attended fashion events, and can now do an Instagram beauty flat lay like a pro. It only took me a couple of days in the office to know that this is my dream job. To be publishing my writing, as well as being involved in the fashion world, is an incredible opportunity.

So how can you get onto your ideal career path? Here are my hot tips for getting there and making yourself valuable:


Network

I certainly wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been casually talking to a friend about my goals. There is nothing wrong with a little (or a lot of) networking. Think of it this way: you may get a little help getting in touch with the right people, but ultimately it is down to you to do the work.

Reach out

Don’t wait for opportunity to come knocking. In the words of H. Jackson Brown, Jr., “Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.” Reach out. Find companies and people you’d love to work with and learn from, and ask them if you can join them. You won’t always get a yes, but if you don’t ask, you never know.

Say yes

Take on whatever opportunities you can. If you appear eager to learn and prove you can commit, you will be given more and more responsibility. That being said, don’t allow yourself to become snowed under, as this can affect the quality of your work as well as your stress levels! Find a balance.

Find out what is expected of you

If you’ve landed an internship or even a job, one of your first steps should be finding out exactly what is expected of you. You won’t be spoon fed tasks and information, but if you find out what is required, you can set about fulfilling this to the best of your ability. This is how you become valuable to the company.

Stand out

This is the most important one. Remember, companies will likely be inundated with requests for internships and learning opportunities. Why should you be the one chosen? In your cover letter, enquiring email, or phone call, identify what makes you special. Don’t only tell them what you hope to get out of the experience but what you can bring to the table. Ask yourself, what can they gain by bringing you on board?

Follow these tips, but most importantly, follow your passion. It takes a lot of work to build your dream career, but it also takes a great deal of love for what you’re doing. Joining the Fashion Weekly team as an intern has been an invaluable experience. If you can work solidly for eight hours and leave feeling energised and excited for the future, you’re where you’re meant to be.

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Words: Hanna Sloan

Hanna Sloan continues to write for Fashion Weekly as a regular contributor. Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with her journey.