- Don't hesitate to grab an internship with either a large or small company:
It's almost impossible to get a job in the fashion industry without any previous experience. Getting an internship in the field is crucial and you must be prepared that it may very well be unpaid. Setting out to apply for internships with with major designers like Polo Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein may be your goal but don't forget about small designers where positions may be less competitive.
- Try to stick with it.
Starting a new internship or job is tough and it may take a little time to learn the in's and out's of what you're doing as well as the names of the people with whom you work. It's important to remember that starting a new internship or job is very much like moving and starting at a new school which can be intimidating and bring up all sorts of emotions until you feel more comfortable.
I often hear from students who say I don't know if I can stay at this internship because I'm feeling inadequate and not accepted. After several weeks I may hear from this same student saying that this experience is the best they've every had. So the key to be successful is to stay with it and give it a chance.
- Take the opportunity to ask questions to learn all you can about the job.
Questions are about learning and it is expected for any intern or new employee to ask tons of questions. If you're not asking questions, take a moment to ask yourself why and find ways to become more engaged in the process.
By asking questions you will learn so much more at your internship. Asking questions is always a way to help ensure that you minimize the number of mistakes you make because you weren't afraid to ask the right questions. Remember - when in doubt, just ask.
- Dressing for the job is important.
Prior to beginning your internship you may want to ask about what is appropriate dress on the job. This can save you money by not buying the wrong outfits plus embarrassment when everyone comes to work looking professional and you show up in jeans and a shirt. Each corporation has its own culture. Fitting into that culture right away will make the whole experience more enjoyable. Starting a new internship is a great time to add to and update your wardrobe. Depending on the job, buying classic styles and good quality clothing you may be able to begin building on your wardrobe for when you graduate and get a job.
- Accept grunt work and simple tasks as a part of the process.
Want to prove your worth? Accept the grunt work and do it with a smile. There's no better way to prove yourself than to accept those jobs that you feel are beneath you and complete them without complaining. If you are efficient and make yourself a valuable asset on the job, it won't be long until you see more worthwhile projects come your way. If not, don't be afraid to ask about participating in new projects where you feel you will be able to make a real contribution.
One way to avoid a situation where you spend your time doing all grunt work is to have a conversation prior to starting any internship. By defining your role within the organization you will have more leverage if you are not given assignments that were discussed before you started.
- Enjoy the experience.
As the new kid on the block, take advantage of meeting new people and learning new skills. Your summer internship might be the very place that launches you into a career so make sure you use the experience wisely and don't waste your time by complaining or doing the minimum work possible.
Fashion is an industry where the competition is huge. It is your job to make the most of it and do it with a smile. If you have had an opportunity to do an internship in fashion, be sure to make the most of it by learning everything that you possibly can about what's required and how to be successful in the industry.
Also, be sure to read The Top 10 Tips for Interns.