Contrary to popular belief, getting an internship in a fashion company is no more difficult than in other sectors. FashionUnited gives you ten tactics and tips gleaned from fashion professionals.
1. Meet as many people as possible in a non-recruiting context
"It's a piece of advice given to me before I even started my podcasts," Adrien Garcia told FashionUnited. The co-founder of Réuni and creator of the EDM podcast suggests taking advantage of being a student and not actively looking for a job to meet as many people as possible and offer cafes. He explains: “It's important to make contact when you have nothing to ask because at least you've seen them for the first time in a non-transactional context. People are always flattered that we come to see them for advice. It also offers the possibility of giving them a good first impression and frankly, we do not realise how powerful it is to find a job behind".
2. Create content
Today, everyone can make their talents known to the whole world through the creation of an Instagram or Youtube account, or even by launching a newsletter or a podcast. It would therefore be a shame to do without. Whether you are targeting the creative, cultural, commercial or fashion marketing field, demonstrating your interest and growing expertise on a theme related to the targeted sector will always be a plus. If the content is qualitative, it will allow its author to stand out, even to acquire a certain visibility before an interview.
3. Go to the field
Fashion is above all a business and therefore a matter of sales. This is why Anne-Sophie Buffe, independent digital manager, specialising in the fashion and luxury sector, advises going out into the field and trying out sales in stores. "For a first internship in this sector, it is very educational to spend a few weeks, or even a few months in the store, in contact with the three poles that make up the strength of a house: its product, its customers and its sales teams'', she explains by email to FashionUnited. “We learn a lot about customer behaviour and expectations and the way teams work. This experience will be a real plus for your next meetings, particularly focused on marketing, product or sales development.
4. Take care of your portfolio
A piece of advice addressed to those who target the fields of creation: take care of your portfolio. For Allison Lianza, Jersey stylist at Saint Laurent, “you can be creative, but you shouldn't forget to include technical drawings. When we leave school, we sometimes think that it is not of great importance, but in professional life we will always be confronted with their conception. The recruiter therefore needs to know the level of the future trainee".
"The portfolio must be presented in a super professional and super clean way,'' recalls Adrien Garcia. According to him, it is better to avoid presenting it on an I-pad: “I have the impression that it upsets people a lot because it is a profession of creation, of contact with the material."
5. Get closer to the internship manager of your school
If you are a student then there is a good chance that your establishment will have an internship supervisor. Do not hesitate to consult it and make yourself known while clearly formulating what you are looking for: types of positions and companies targeted.
6. Get to know the company incognito
A good idea to stand out from other candidates: make the effort to visit the store in order to better know and understand the spirit of the target brand. “Even for a role at a headquarters,” insists Anne-Sophie Buffe. She suggests: “pretend to be a customer and visit the store, try to understand how the house has reinterpreted its codes this season, how the collections are arranged, how the window is presented, how the in-store teams welcome you, etc.. It's a very good way to take the pulse of a brand, much more effective than consulting the website!"
7. Be effective in your research
Of course, spontaneous applications are always welcome. But keeping an active watch to spot internship offers before everyone else is likely to be more effective. To do this, consult specialised websites such as the FashionUnited job tab, but also the dedicated platforms of luxury groups.
Anne-Sophie Buffe's tactic to get an interview: “On Linkedin, find the manager of the position for which you are applying and contact him directly. This can help you get through the HR stage more quickly."
8. Be nice and comfortable in your sneakers
It may seem superfluous to say, but being nice is essential. Forget the days when it was fashionable to cultivate a haughty air to work in fashion. The word “benevolence” is on everyone's lips today and must be put into practice: be kind and smile during the interview. Above all, be yourself. "If the person plays a game, and is not themselves, it is immediately visible", warns Adrien Garcia. “You shouldn't tell them stories."
9. Prove your motivation
“I regularly tell my students that to stand out, you have to seem really interested in the company and the sector for which you are looking for an internship,” says Julie Greux, independent artistic director by email. "It may be obvious to us professionals, but I've had interns in interviews who, when I ask them what the company they are there for means to them, don't say anything."
The art director adds: "Sometimes people ask me how to work in a design office. If you're really interested, it's simple: start in school and do research every season to create moodboards on themes you like, colour schemes, research books, etc. Read everything you can find on trends, there are lots of great sites now. When you send your resume and cover letter, you can attach your projects and it will really make a difference. It will show that you are really interested, passionate and used to the uses."
10. Learn from mistakes
Have you just had one, two, or three refusals? Great, you have room for improvement. This is an opportunity to ask recruiters what was wrong with your application or what you could improve on during your interview. Also ask for the advice of someone you trust and who knows the business. Then review your cover letter and/or CV based on the comments if they seem relevant to you, and persevere.
This article was previously published on FashionUnited.FR, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.