- Hannah Rafter |
Interning and gaining work experience is regarded by many as a must in today’s competitive working environment and a concept that has been advanced for decades. But perhaps what is different in today’s climate, is considering how this could be achieved in a non conventional setting. How many people have thought of other ways of gaining vital work experience for the CV, ensuring they get a role they want but isn’t located in a company’s headquarters . Actually long gone are the days where you have to sign up to a 2-week, 3-month, 6 months or even a year internship, often located far away, perhaps in an expensive city and in a companies’ office. Of course these are still available and recommended if you have the opportunity but what if that’s not an option for you? You don’t live near a city, you don’t have financial backing, or your university have particular criteria that is difficult for you to meet.
How about considering the following:
1.Working from home: not a new concept but certainly not one that usually applies to interns or work experience students. Working from home allows you to stay put and intern from any location which is great for anyone who can’t travel to a major city. Many smaller companies and ‘startups’ now offer this as it is a typical way of working for their permanent employees. I suggest you looking up smaller brands, companies or agencies that are new to the industry and offer your services to them. Like always, email them directly, add them on to your LinkedIn profile or approach via an application form registering your interest. Simply explain to the hiring manager your situation and ask whether they would consider a work from home intern. Usually smaller companies are willing to negotiate on this based on their desire for a pair of extra hands and that innovative, committed and enthusiastic approach that you bring! It is important that you understand that working from home often has scheduled commitments. Often there are Skype calls with your managers and daily tasks set with deadlines, however you will be able to do it from the comfort of your kitchen table!
2.Volunteer: gaining experience doesn’t need to be a formal, time bound process. Volunteering, particularly around busy periods in the fashion calendar is a great way to get a variety of companies and different job roles on your CV. Consider volunteering during fashion week or during an editorial photo shoot. How about helping out at a sample sale or even volunteering during a new company launch? This is a great way to get to know a company, demonstrate your skills and work as part of a team. Who knows, maybe things will progress to an offer of a few days working in the office or a work from home internship.
3.Freelancing: much like volunteering, this is a flexible option and offers you the opportunity to do lots of different and varied work. Freelancing is obviously good if you want to be a writer or get into journalism. Pitch your article idea to editors, online editorial assistants and offer to write an piece for them. This will allow you to get experience in the field without having to travel.
The pressure of gaining experience is a big one, however it’s worth adding these options to your planning in your bid to succeed. Give it a try!
By contributing guest editor Hannah Rafter, founder and Editor In Chief of The Intern 247, a website dedicated to giving real insights into the world of fashion internships. @theintern247 theintern247.com