My experiences and advice
As a fashion merchandising and management major, we learn that it is vital to apply our classroom learning outside of the classroom. It’s not enough to have a degree; we are expected to have experience before officially entering the workforce as post grads.
It was so daunting to enter college and see upperclassmen that had so many experiences, but I became even more motivated.
I have three semesters of college behind me now and am currently a sophomore at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson). I am on my third internship. I hope this helps you!
How to Get an Internship
Narrow down your interests. Think about what sounds fun to you.
Look everywhere. Don’t only rely on your college’s job searching database; look on LinkedIn and other job searching websites. It’s okay to apply to jobs you don’t have experience for as long as you have a strong interest and willingness to learn.
Some employers will love being your first teacher of a skill.
If you find a company that you connect with, email them and ask if they are hiring interns. 2 out of 3 of my internships were found this way. Introducing yourself and attaching your resume is a great way to get your name out there!
Nerves are normal! Remember that the employer has already looked at your resume and wants to find out more about you as a person.
My advice is to bring a copy of your resume and letters of recommendation. My go-to interview outfit is trousers, a silk blouse, and loafers. Wear something that makes you feel professional, appropriate, and fashionable.
Ask questions. Is it paid? What is the dress code? What are my job responsibilities? Sometimes the job description posted online differs from the reality, so it’s a good idea to ask.
Unpaid internships are meant to be an extension of classroom learning. Nowadays, many companies realize the value that interns have and pay accordingly, but if you are tempted by an unpaid internship make sure it is worth your while. Are you going to get academic credit? How many hours are expected of you?
On the Job
Internships are wonderful because you get to meet a ton of different people. Everyone has something to teach you, and they usually love answering questions and have great advice. Even if you are doing what seem like small tasks, they are probably much appreciated in the company. Always be friendly and willing to help.
Keep a journal or notebook so that you can remember to-do lists and other relevant information while working.
How to Say Goodbye
Your three months at an internship fly by, but you decide that you don’t want to stay for another three. Maybe you realized that you enjoyed the experience but don’t see a future with it. What is a professional way to say goodbye? Make sure that you say thank you and that you are grateful for the opportunity and everything you learned. Be gracious (bonus if you write a thank you card). Maybe ask if they will write you a reference later because you are going to apply to more jobs because you want to learn as much as possible.
Thanks for reading. Comment your internship stories and advice below!
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