Knowing how to get your foot in the door in one of the most competitive industries is difficult. So many people want to work in fashion, and so many people don’t know how. I love fashion. I always dreamt of being that busy intern, multiple Starbucks coffee’s in hand, running around a city to answer a last minute demand from my horribly strict and out of touch boss. Maybe the reason why so many people desire a job in fashion is because of its exclusivity. Would we really want it if it was so easy?
Getting an internship is a great place to begin your journey in any field of work. That’s even more of the case within the fashion industry because it’s so closed off. The only way you can start if you haven’t been handed a role because of nepotism, is through an internship. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re working for free. Not every internship is unpaid. Yet, paid internships within the fashion industry are rare because there are so many people willing to work for free just go get a glimpse of inside the industry.
Securing a place in the fashion world is hard. But not impossible. After several failed attempts, hundreds of ignored emails, and several learning curves, I’ve discovered a lot of ways that you can help improve your chances and secure yourself an internship in fashion.
Pick Up the Phone
A lot of us nowadays have phoneaphobia. We’re terrified of making calls and for fear of what? If you make yourself look like an idiot, hang up, and call again in a few days. When applying for internships or free work in fashion it’s key that you’re sending the correct emails and information to the right people. If you want to work at Tom Ford in the PR department, then you should research who is managing PR and their assistant(s). Before you send them an email or call them personally. You should phone ahead to reception. Try to reveal as little about yourself as possible and get straight to the point. That way you’re likely to catch people off guard into confirming information before you sound like you’re unprofessional.
Your question in this instance should be, “Hello, I’m just calling to confirm that X is the correct contact to speak with in regards to upcoming PR opportunities?”. If they say “yes”, thank them and hang up. Job sorted. If they say “no”, then follow up with “Ah, my mistake. Who would be the correct point of contact for this information?” They will then either a) give you the correct name or b) ask who is calling. You can say it’s you and you’re looking for work or say you’re working for a PR company at the moment and needed to get in touch with regards to an event/celebrity. Obviously do not reveal your name if you fib about where you’re calling from because it will be remembered.
If you’re certain you have found the right point of contact before calling then you can go ahead and approach them. You can either approach them by emailing or calling if they have a unique number (rather than a general HR or receptionist number). I would always call them to enquire about work because emails are likely to go straight into a Junk folder or your email simply won’t stand out. Calling gives you an opportunity to showcase your personality and interest and have them hear your excitement about working for them. That works wonders.
Finding Email Addresses and Contacts
It’s likely that you’ll have to email a few contacts in order to get an internship. If you can’t get through to your contact via telephone but you know that you need to contact that specific person then emailing them is the second best option. Finding someone’s email isn’t too difficult. It’s likely to be on one of their social media profiles, listed on a company website, on Linked In. Failing that, gaining access to Fashion Monitor is incredibly helpful when searching for contact details for people in fashion. It’s basically a huge fashion dictionary of emails and telephone numbers of fashion contacts from magazine editor’s, to top bloggers, to PR’s and newspaper managers. Fashion Monitor isn’t free, so see if you can gain access via a friend, your University or a company.
Give a Lot of Thought to Your Emails
This may be your one chance to impress someone and stand out. Especially if you’re afraid of picking up the phone. Everything from your subject line to your content and signature has to be memorable. Get inventive and creative. Add a Snapwidget to your signature so you can showcase your creative work. The most important thing to remember is: Do not be Boring!
Have a Creative CV and Cover Letter
I was once told that your CV and Cover Letter should go hand in hand. Meaning that if asked to pick them both out of the crowd, it would be obvious which belongs with which. For those of us that have very creative looking CV’s this requires more work but will give your application a sense of synergy that others don’t have. Creating an interesting looking CV and Cover Letter on Canva is really easy as you can choose pre-made templates for you. Therefore, the colour scheme and font is already there ready for you to utilise it.
If you need any more help on how to get an internship in fashion, then my e-book is available to buy via Amazon for just £4! It offers more detailed advice for your CV and cover letter. It also includes an example of one of mine that was very successful! Plus more resources for you to use.