Monday, 13 May 2013

intern essentials


so, as some of you are aware i currently have been working at a number a names* for 4 months as a press and showroom intern, and i always get asked on my tumblr how did i get this intern, to which usually my answer is something along the lines of 'applied, went for an interview and got it!' so i thought it would try write up a post with some (i hope) tips and tricks of how to hopefully get yourself that dream internship and get the most out of it you possibly can! que 'intern essentials'....



so how do you get yourself that internship?
first step - apply. basically, the trick is not to give up. find brands, companies,  studios, stores you want to work for, look in their vacancies section and go through and search for anyones email you feel is relavent and drop them a mail, explaining that your interested in and internships they may have, or have in the future. don't be afraid to email someone, because really what is the worst they can say? no? which in hindsight isn't the worst thing is it! and at the end of the day, if you don't ask you don't get anywhere but be polite, don't be too pushy and remember although you may love that brand more than anything you are there to do a job, and be focused and represent that brand professionally at all times. so, talk about what you have been doing, briefly what you want to learn and some key skills and interests.

with the big companies and fashion houses 7 times out of 10 you may not hear anything back, or a 'no' email but don't let yourself get down about it. busy people don't always have time for no, or no thank you emails. the first internship i had i sent out about 15 emails a day for 3 weeks, it's hard graft and constant but just turn into a machine with it and you will get somewhere in the end. it pays to be organised, maybe list who you have contacted, then you can always send a follow up email but remember don't be too pushy! confidence and drive is good but there sometimes is a fine line, be professional.

make sure your cv is looking tip top and have a good cover letter!
sounds simple enough, but myself i am the worst with CV design, i usually just think 'oh it's a corporate job, just shove it all on word so it's easy reading' which i have learn't isn't the case, especially within creative jobs you need to stand out! so get yourself a good layout (this is where you could call in some favours from some friends who do graphic design) and make yourself eye catching! in your personal statement, outline briefly but to the point about yourself and use good key words, employers usually want to know you are wanting to learn and develop new skills and that you are professional and responsible.

ideas of key words to describe yourself - honest, driven, responsible, social, dedicated, intelligent, patient, organised, ambitious, fast learner, confident worker, teamwork e.t.c

usually the layout i would go for CVs would be personal details, personal statement, key skills i.e photoshop, illustrator, web design and another things you have done maybe you helped organise a fundrasing event or show - these things might not seem like the most important thing to you ever but it shows your initiative and ability to work to deadlines and be creative. a good CV will be re written over and over as you learn what is good and what isn't to include, but that will only come with experience from working. work experience, i'd go from most recent to oldest and make sure you sell your jobs! sure you maybe only worked in your aunties flower shop for a year while you where at college but what duties did you have, this is where your key words come in - 'working in the flower shop looking after the arrangements and talking to customers' or 'managing the flower shop at busy periods on my own,  greeting customers and offering high standards of service at all times' you can make even the most tedious jobs interesting if you just step back and look at what you where actually doing and use the right words to describe these (what may seem like mundane tasks) to the full. it may seem like really silly thing but it's words like managing, creating, gathering, preparing, selecting, completed, helped, directed, supervised... there are so so many and if you get super, super stuck google is your friend here!

i've managed to get an interview, what can i expect? what do i need for an interview?
usually a company will let you know if there is anything you need to bring along for an interview i.e portfolio, examples of work, cv...but if they say you don't need anything, take your initiative here and DO bring something. when i used to go to interviews i would always have another copy of my CV in a wallet ready to give them, the look book from my final major collection, postcard with an image from the look book, a business card. you're going into a creative industry, so show them your creativity! fair you don't need all singing all dancing glitter and feathers on everything, just something that sums you up! it's the little things, also in an interview its is so much easier to be like 'here let me show you' to someone then try to describe it and it's engaging, you can be like 'yeah i put this together on indesign, the photos where edited by myself and styled, i collaborated with a photographer who was studying at my university also' it all adds to selling yourself to this brand of why they need you! preparation is the key!

before the interview make sure you know what it is you want to learn and what specialism you want to go into at the internship, because they will ask! of course you can be open that you want to learn about every aspect (because lets be honest, does anyone really know what they want to do?) and thats the aim of an internship, to learn all aspects so you can then find where you fit in and where you passion lies! make sure you express this in your interview if you feel like this! it also really helps to know the terminology, but at the end of the day if you really, really want something and you are incredibly passionate and driven about  it i honestly believe it will always shine through! just believe in yourself and be confident about your abilities! and always be sure to follow up an interview, a few days go by and you haven't heard, drop a quick mail to relevant person asking if they are any further forward in their decision, again don't be pushy! don't jump to conclusions that you didn't get it just show a positive interest, and at the end of the day you do deserve to know if they have/haven't decided!

i didn't get the internship, i'm really sad and now i don't know what to do!
first of all i believe you will all get the internship and everything will be fantastic, but we all know this isn't always the case! the only advice i have is don't give up! sure i know it's the most gutting thing ever, but try take some positives from it. email the relavent person asking for feedback and what they think you could work on to improve, and if they would consider you again if another opportunity arises. try not to be sharp and stroppy even though they just ruined your day/week/month. most the time the people who deal with the interns are assistants so will have been in your shoes before interning, so they will be able to give you really helpful advice! and just start looking for other opportunities, working on what you need to improve on. it's a massive learning curve, and sometimes it isn't an easy ride but you will get there in the end! don't get disheartened and just think every 'no' was because the job wasn't right for you, it wasn't ment to be so take the positives and keep learning from it!

wooo! i got the internship! what can i expect? what might i need, what are the essentials?
well truth is i don't know what you can expect! every internship will be different just like every brand/company is different! my key tips i could give you would be;

  1. be punctual, time is money people! 
  2. ask questions, if you don't understand ask! it's so important, i never ever used to ask questions i used to be too afraid of annoying someone. but i've learn't if someone sets you a task make sure you go over everything so you're 100% sure on what you're doing, and if you get stuck again ask! don't be afraid it shows you want to get it right and also allows you to make adjustments if needed as your working through a project!
  3. a notepad will be your bible! my little black notebook with the patta sticker (pictured above) is my life, it has everything in it, i find it easier to make lists and collect a stupid amount of sticky notes with things to do on them. and there is no fear of you loosing pieces of paper if they are bound together! (and it's looks professional again!)
  4. macbook/laptop! it helps a great deal if you take the initiative to take your laptop into the office everyday, i cycle everyday with my 15'' macbook pro in my ruck sack and although it weighs a ton, it's helped me be able to be more involved with design tasks and research instead of waiting for a free computer to come available. it shows initiative, shows your organised and taking things seriously! my friend who runs anyforty has an intern who brings his full imac in everyday from brighton on the train, now if that isn't impressive dedication i don't know what is!  
  5. make sure you have a memory stick, portable harddrive and make sure you save everything you do to the company server as well as on your personal one for your records, the work you're doing can contribute towards your portfolio for other jobs - and also otherwise people will end up calling you on your day off looking for something you have done that needs to be mailed urgently and they can't get it if it isn't on the server!
  6. as a showroom intern one of the duties is keeping the showroom clean and tidy at all times, so if you see a client leave have a quick look around and square everything up. it's your job to keep everything immaculate won't go un noticed and shows you care!
  7. another key thing i think is don't go into the internship thinking you're going to get a job at the end of it (i know this sound like a downer on the whole thing) go in with a fresh mind of you're there to learn what you can, get the most out of it! i think if you're focused on getting a job out of it, you end up casing yourself unneeded stress and worry. work hard for yourself as well as the company, make sure you get what you want out of it, and don't be nervous to ask to learn about something you want to know about, i don't think anyone wouldn't want to teach you about something they are maybe in charge of or passionate about themselves!
so to conclude my 'intern essentials' be prepared, confident and focused and at the end of the day just be yourself! thankyou for reading and i hope some of my hints and tips where helpful



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