Forget the horror stories depicted in movies like The Devil Wears Prada. Whether you’re interested in being a buyer, stylist, designer or visual merchandiser, an internship is a great way to break into the fashion industry. We’ve compiled a few helpful tips below to help you get the most out of your internship.
1. Focus on the opportunities
The fashion industry is fast-paced, competitive and full of aspiring upstarts ready to take your place. Though you may find yourself performing a lot of menial tasks and grunt work as an intern, you’re also getting privileged access to the ins and outs of the industry. Keep your eyes and ears open and focus on learning the basics, no matter how trivial they might seem. Once you’ve mastered these, you can use this knowledge to go above and beyond, predicting needs and providing useful and well-informed ideas.
2. Give it time
Shifting from the safety of the classroom to the unknowns of an internship can be overwhelming. You won’t be babied and will quickly be expected to figure out names, faces, responsibilities and procedures. Listen, ask questions and be patient—focus on being useful and you’ll find yourself getting the hang of things in no time.
3. Think long-term
Yes, your internship might only be three or six months long, but it very well might also lead to a full-time gig. Show those around you that you would make a great colleague by investing in the job from the start. Get to know the company, be impeccable with your work and make yourself indispensable. You never know when a position will open up, and when it does, you want to be top of mind.
4. Network, network, network
In fashion, as in most industries, it’s just as much about who you know as what you know. Take advantage of your internship to meet people, socialize and make lasting connections. The contacts you make will be indispensable for keeping you in the loop about jobs and opportunities in the industry.
5. Have faith in yourself
Fashion internships can be unforgiving but don’t let yourself get intimidated. Remember why you wanted to pursue fashion in the first place, be confident in your knowledge and don’t be afraid to voice your ideas. Employers appreciate interns who are genuine and passionate—you can’t go wrong with authenticity.
No matter what aspect of the fashion industry you’re interested in, JCI’s Fashion program prepares students for a variety of roles. With a passion for fashion, the right skills and our handy tips, your internship is sure to jumpstart your career.
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