A Guide for Fashion PR Interns: What You Need to Know
Updated: Apr 5, 2018
Photo: Raw Pixel from Unsplash
Alright, Interns. Believe it or not, spring is almost gone, summer is approaching, and so are #internship deadlines. In non-fashion terms, this means a new season, new classes (possibly), a new life, and maybe a new internship too. In fashion terms, this means new clothes.
If you are planning on doing an internship, you have to accept the fact that a great pair of heels or your #oneofakind tie, and who you know will get you noticed much faster than the perfectly composed résumé you spent forever working on. Sorry, but it's true.
On the job, you're not going to be living that perceived glam life with wild parties during #fashionweek; instead, you're going to be behind the scenes watching other people live that life. Things will get out of control, and keep in mind that this is just a start. But you can make your experience worthwhile, and here are a few tips to help you do it right (but it pretty much depends on you and how you choose to get the most out of your experiences).
Take Part in the Industry
Meet people, learn the field, and become a part of it. Getting to know people in the industry, whether online or offline, will increase your chances of landing a #fashionPR internship (well, obviously).
Follow people on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. Don't follow just anyone, though. Make sure you follow the right people relevant to what you're looking for, including bloggers and influencers. Crosby Noricks (@crosbynoricks) is a brand strategist, social storyteller, and a writer for fashion brands. She is also a mentor for #PRGirl, co-teaches #fashionprcon, and is the founder of PR Couture, the first industry platform and blog for fashion and lifestyle communication professionals. Follow her.
The key here is to socialize. If you're an introvert and not a big fan of meeting new people and working with them, then you shouldn't be here.
Do Your Homework
You've probably heard the statement "take advantage of every opportunity" before. I see why that matters, but don't literally take advantage of every opportunity. What if it's not related to what you're doing?
Part of making your experience worthwhile is choosing the right internship. You should look for companies that you want to work for, not just internships that are related to your field.
It's normal for an interviewee to ask an interviewer questions, in fact, it's encouraged. If you are debating between two (or more) different internship opportunities, you'll be able to make an informed decision by asking questions. You can ask about the lifestyle of the organization, the culture, projects, tasks, etc.
Create A Portfolio
Okay, but what am I supposed to include in my portfolio if I don't have any job experience? Don't worry. This is your chance to display your abilities by creating your own content. Create a press kit for a creative friend or a local brand. Offer your services to any upcoming fashion shows in your area and write a news release. If there aren't any, show off your creative aspect and create your own fictitious media kit for your favorite designer. You have many options.
Building a portfolio is essential. It increases visibility and adds value to your job/internship application. I like to think of a portfolio as a personalized version of your résumé. Do you have graphic design or writing skills on your résumé? Well, a portfolio is your chance to prove it.
Here are tips on how to build an online portfolio:
Start Your Own Blog
Actually, start your own #PRblog. Employers want to see your interest in the fashion PR industry. Why do you like it? What's so special about fashion or public relations? Why do they inspire you? Why do you want to become a fashion PR professional? Creating a PR blog is one way to answer all those questions.
Connect Beyond Twitter and Last Name Basis
Networking is crucial for everyone in the industry, but not the kind where someone follows you back on Twitter. That's not networking, that's barely even working.
Okay, I'm not saying that gaining followers is all useless. Social media is a great tool to create professional relationships along with friendships. Follow key industry people, including bloggers, journalists, influencers, and celebrities on all social media platforms, but don't stop at that point and take a step further. When you see a post that speaks to you, say something! (But not in the same way you comment on your friends' posts). This will help you gain some attention. Also, don't be afraid to send a private question or compliment, it really shows you care. Voilà! There's the start of your relationship.
Sure, communicating online is more comfortable than face-to-face connections, but do not underestimate the power of offline communication. It's time you put a face to your name. Think of it this way: are you more likely to respond to a message from someone you have met personally, rather than someone with a name you don't recognize? No. The same applies to journalists, influencers, and bloggers, they are more likely to respond to someone familiar to them.
Go to boutique openings, fashion shows, conferences, and all networking events that matter to you. These are your most powerful tools to build real connections.
Also, Twitter chats.
"Twitter is the cocktail party of the Internet — a place where listening well has tremendous benefits."
A #twitterchat is literally a Twitter party; people get together, chat, and share ideas. The only difference is that you're doing it behind a screen. Twitter chats help you connect with new leads, build your social reach, create a community, track your success, and learn more about your industry. I said it before and I'm going to say it again, who you know and who you connect with will get you noticed much faster than your résumé does.
In case you didn't grasp it yet, a great way to make your internship experience worthwhile is to get yourself noticed. I'm not saying be a know-it-all (that's not cool), but being enthusiastic and eager go a long way.