I hope that you're all enjoying your spring days and are looking forward to warmer days. The post I have prepared today is slightly different from my other articles, but since Polly's Lookbook is a personal fashion & lifestyle blog I decided that it is definitely relevant.
As many of you might know from my previous publications, I am currently doing my internship in London, in a company called PureNChic. As a person who is really passionate about fashion, this opportunity is very important for me and every day I'm trying to express my gratitude for being able to do what I'm doing right now. Although I am in no way an expert (it has been only 3 months since I began my internship) I still remember all the questions I had when I was looking for the right vacancy, and I'd be very happy if sharing my experience is something that will help young people going through the same things.
Here are my 10 tips for ambitious people who want to land their dream internship, especially if we are talking about working abroad:
- Always do your research. Before you start applying for internships abroad make sure to do some research on what is seen as a good application in the particular country. For example, I found out that in the UK the formatting of CVs and motivational letters is slightly different from the one in the Netherlands. This is important because people are strict about it and a well-written CV can make or break your chances of getting that internship.
- Make sure that all your documentation is written in good English (or whatever language you are required to use) and is well-presented visually. I have seen my managers going through applications and small details really matter. Plus, it has been scientifically proved that people can overlook small mistakes if you manage to make a good first impression with the way you present your application documents.
- Do not lie about your skills in your CV. Although people might not notice that something you've included in your CV is untrue, I wouldn't recommend that you do it. Sincerity is something that people really value. Just the other day I had a conversation with my manager and she shared with me a situation when she hired a candidate who was honest about here drawbacks, over a candidate who had a perfect resume but could not cope with simple situations.
- Something extra is always a bonus. To this day I believe that my blog is one of the main reasons why I got my internship. If you have a portfolio with your best works, a personal blog or a LinkedIn profile don't be shy to share them with the employer. In the matter of fact, blogs are really a great tool when you want to show your continuous progress. Especially for people who want to work in fashion: you can benefit a lot from blogs because you can demonstrate both writing and visualising skills.
- Check your social media profiles. I know, I know... this has been said so many times that it's already becoming annoying. Funny enough, some people keep forgetting to do that. If you have many pictures from night out, wild parties and nights you can hardly recall... yeah, maybe you would like to look into that. If you don't want to remove such photos, at least change your profile setting so that people who are not your friends cannot see your publications. Managers check social media profiles, so don't let such small things jeopardize your prospects.
- Reserch the company's culture. This is obviously something you cannot be completely sure of before you actually start working, but there are things that can give you a clue. Especially if this internship is going to be your first, it is important to find a company that will be encouraging and supportive. When I was applying for internships I noticed that some companies were rude when communicating with me even if I was approved. One of the reasons why I chose to do my internship in the company I am currently working at is that the representative person was friendly, professional and answered all the questions I had. At the end of the day, the point of an internship is to learn new things and put your university knowledge into practice, therefore it is better to look for a good working environment even if this means that you will work for a smaller company that is not that famous.
- Be professional in your communication with the company. This includes emails, job interviews, work clothing and everything else that sends a message of who you are. People notice everything and it is small details that make a difference.
- Go to more than one interview. Even if you are offered an internship, do not turn down your other options (in case you have any). It never hurts to look around, make new connections and gain interviewing experience.
- Require an internship supervisor and take advantage of having one. Honestly, the best thing about doing an internship is the fact that you have a special person who would guide you and help you with difficult situations. Having a more experienced person who will motivate you to strive for more and will set a good example for the kind of professional you want to be is amazing. I am sure that my supervisor was really fed up with me the first couple of weeks because i was always after her for feedback on my work... but hey! At least I gained more knowledge and experience.
- Don't take things personally. Very often people make mistakes, especially in the beginning when you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment. It is important that you know that even when your work is being corrected it is not because you are not good at what you do, but because your manager wants the best for the company. Do not be afraid to ask questions, ask for help and work with the rest of the team in order to find the best solution. At the end of the day, everyone has the same goal: the company's success and people need to look beyond themselves in order for everything to run smoothly.
I hope you have enjoyed my tips. I am planning to havea separate category in my blog which will be dedicated to my experience in working within the fashion industry, what would you say about that? I'll be happy to read your opinions on my tips in the comment section below. In the mean time here is a sneak peak of how my office looks. Each photo on the wall represents a designer who is working with us.