The Intern Diaries: How To Get The Interview

If you’re hoping to work in fashion/beauty in any realm (PR, design, graphic design, etc.), often times, applying for an internship is not as easy as going to the brand’s website, finding their careers page and filling out a general application.

Instead, it requires utilizing your network, your research skills (yes, all those years of Facebook stalking do come in handy), and sending out dozens of well-crafted, personal emails.

This semester, I’ve sent out dozens of emails that resulted in over 15 interviews. It’s exhausting, but there is no greater satisfaction than receiving an email back, because when that happens, you’re probably being offered the chance to interview.

Here are my tips for scoring the interview of your dreams:

Don’t limit yourself to sites like Ed2010 or Free Fashion Internships. If there’s an editor or PR person you particularly admire, figure out what their email address is. Chances are, it’s somewhere on their LinkedIn profile, or somewhere on the internet. But, if you only know a name, all you have to do is figure out how the email addresses for their company are formatted (for example: sarah_brovda@company.com). Check their colleague’s information on LinkedIn to see if they’ve posted their own email address. This is where your Facebook stalking skills come in handy.

If there’s a brand you dream of working for, but don’t know any specific names to reach out to, do the above, but target an assistant in the department you’re interested in. They’re in entry level positions, and in my experience, are the quickest to respond. Check LinkedIn and magazine mastheads to find names. Also, an entry-level employee probably know what it’s like to be applying for internships!

Can’t find the email address you need? Don’t be afraid to cold call a company. Just look up the phone number for their offices, and ask if there is an internship supervisor that you can contact regarding an internship.

Want to work for a bigger, corporate brand? Contact their HR department. Oftentimes, bigger brands have a more structured application process.

Once you locate who you want to reach out to, personalize your email to that person/brand. In one sentence, tell them why you want to intern there. Do you want to work for this designer because you admire their digital presence? Was your first experience with cosmetics with that particular brand?

Keep your email short and sweet, and make sure that the subject line includes the word “Internship” (Internship Opportunity, Internship Inquiry, PR Internship, etc.). Don’t forget to attach your updated resume!

One of the best tips I’ve ever gotten: When ending your email, never say “I look forward to hearing from you.” It shuts you down to ever contact them again without hearing from them first. Instead say, “I look forward to being in touch.” (Thanks @PRProfessor!)

When responding to an online internship posting, make sure you include everything they request, whether it be your availability, a cover letter or whether you can receive college credit or not.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get an immediate answer. Keep in mind that whoever you contacted probably has more important emails to answer. Or, they may be waiting until their own intern hunt begins to reach out to you. I’m still first receiving answers to emails I sent out in January!

If you do get an answer, but it’s just stating that they’ll forward your resume to the appropriate contact, find out who they forwarded it to so that you can follow-up.

If you plan on being near in the city of their offices for a day for other interviews or just for a break, reach out (even if you haven’t gotten a response), and let them know when you’re available, and suggest meeting face-to-face.

If you haven’t heard back, and it’s been 2-3 weeks, touch base with a short 2-3 sentence email. Keep it in the same thread as your first correspondence, and make sure you reattach your resume (just in case!)

If you get a response from someone you admire saying they can’t hire interns, or that the positions are full, ask if they’d be open to an informational meeting or phone call. If you’re seriously interested in that person or company, they may offer you some great insight, advice, and it’s a great way to get your name out there for next summer.

Have you had trouble securing interviews for this summer? What’s your advice for scoring an internship? Let us know in a comment!

For more internship advice, visit our Intern Goddess section.

11 thoughts on “The Intern Diaries: How To Get The Interview

  1. These are great tips! Another great PR fashion job site is PR Couture by Crosby Norricks. She is a great contact! She also just came out with a book for breaking into the business too.

  2. I was a PR intern in college. Email was so new that I spent a LOT of time in front of a fax machine sending out announcements. Someone told me while I was there to READ everything I could get my hands on. I’d sneak a peek at the incoming faxes, internal memos, inboxes as I was walking by… Also, be mature. When asked to do something, don’t roll your eyes. They know it’s tedious, that’s why they have an intern. But when you’re cheerful about it you may get rewarded from the free perks around the office – jewelry, concert tickets, posters, etc. If someone is going for food, see if they need a hand. It lets you get out of the office for a bit and talk with an employee one-on-one, and they’ll appreciate you jumped in without being asked. Maybe even buy you a coffee for it. Also, don’t burn bridges by having an emotional hissy fit, calling in sick all the time – or in any other way. Companies remember their interns, and if they thought they saw something special in you, they will think of you when jobs in the office open up. I was offered full time jobs while interning, but explained that finishing my degree was my top priority, but would intern 5days/wk if they needed me to in exchange for part time wages. Other times, I actually followed the person who left their job to the new company they were working for because it was a better company and they were able to hire their own intern and already enjoyed working with me.

    When sending out resumes – quadruple check your spelling. It is not a text from A. It is a first impression in the business world. Act like it, and have your vocabulary reflect it.

    and when they tell you they all dress up on Halloween, they may be teasing you, so you will come in costume and be the only one. Then you ride home on the subway dressed like a cat at 6pm with weird men around you. Bad bad bad.

    That is all! Go forth and have FUN!!

  3. Hey sweetie! You have a very beautiful blog with a lot of inspiring posts! I’d like to invite you to be my friend and follow each other:)
    I also have an amazing GIVEAWAY on my blog, please check it out:)

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