School’s out, suckers.
Instead of lounging poolside all day, loads of students are going after the coveted internship. What better way to pave the road to your career success than to fetch coffees and make photocopies in a real true life company?
Being at the age where I sometimes hire people, I have been responsible for finding interns in MY corporation, and boy do I ever have inside scoop for you.
Just to be clear, my advice is geared at internships in fashion and design, but I am sure that some of these points can be applied across other categories.
So here it goes.
1. The application process.
You want to be a unique snowflake, don’t you? Well, then for fuck’s sake don’t write ANYTHING in your cover letter that even remotely resembles the following:
‘Ever since I was a little girl, I expressed my interest in fashion by sewing all my own clothes’ / ‘When I was 4 my parents took me to see the Eifel tower (fill in another obvious yet important landmark here) and from that moment I knew I wanted to be an architect .’
Listen, I’m glad that your inner child is peeing itself at the idea of getting this internship, however, NO ONE in a real company cares about the crappy tunic you made when you were a tween. I get many applications, and about 80% of them include a story pretty much identical to the above. I know you want to write an application that stands out, so tell me why you’re amazing, and what makes you passionate for this.
Obviously include all the usual professional stuff, but its OK to show that you’re cool.
If you’re applying for any kind of creative position, don’t even bother to do this without a portfolio. Your CV at this stage of your life means very little, and the fact that you were ‘part of New York Fashion Week’ is really only mildly impressive, since we all know that you just let people into the tent.
Don’t lie. It only takes me about 45 seconds to know that you maybe opened illustrator once, yet included it as one of your ‘skills’. Don’t include a program unless you’re proficient in it.
Also, knowledge of Microsoft word or gmail is not a skill.
Super Special note: if you send me something with spelling errors I immediately delete it and never talk to you again. Bad spelling in a job application is like wearing dirty underwear inside out on the outside of your pants.
2. The Interview.
Arrive ten minutes early.
Give yourself time so that you are not sweaty or frazzled.
WEAR SHOES THAT FIT YOU!!! I can’t stress this enough, but when you arrive limping/ teetering like Bambi on ice, we notice, and we judge you.
We know you’re super nervous. It’s OK. We’ve all been there.
If you’re applying for any kind of creative position, BRING YOUR PORTFOLIO!!!!! Printed copy is best (I know it’s old school, but this IS proper interview etiquette), but at the very least load it on your iPad or laptop. Don’t rely on the interwebs. I am not going to load up your portfolio to a computer while we interview.
Ask a load of questions. Being inquisitive helps us determine your intelligence and shows whether or not you are ‘getting it’.
At the end thank the interviewer and politely say goodbye.
It is in definite good taste to send a thank you follow up email the next day, but do not say, ‘WHEN WILL YOU LET ME KNOW?????’.
Remember that often this stuff takes a while to process in a company and you might not hear back the next week. In that case, send a follow up email, but do NOT pressure me, telling me you gots other opportunities. Its OK to show me you’re hungry and desirable, bit don’t be ‘end of the night haven’t gotten a girl and will pounce on about anything still breathing’ hungry.
Don’t call me. I have enough crap to deal with.
this is the end of part 1, tune in next week for part 2- when you get the gig.
happy interviewing, M.H.