Monday, July 11, 2011

4 Ways to Be a Superstar Intern: Easier Said Than Done

Hey fabulous fashionistas! I have a crucial piece of information for you: the fashion magazine industry is difficult to break into, and a rough world for an intern.

Wait, you knew that already? Ha.

So maybe it’s no surprise. In a way, I knew that the fashion world is difficult to break into. Flashback to me about four months ago during the spring semester – after sending out dozens of resumes with no response, I was majorly discouraged and convinced that I would never even get a taste of the tempting industry. (Of course, after I accepted the position with the Fashion Mag, a few other publications contacted me.)

Anyway, while I was applying for internships, I also did a lot of reading about ways to impress your editors and being the best intern you can be. However, these past few weeks at my internship have taught me that while some of these things are common sense, they’re sometimes easier said than done. Here are four examples:

1) Being on Time
Duh. Punctuality is always important. I’m a commuter – I wake up at an unreasonably early time every morning to hop on a bus that takes me from quiet Suburbia, NJ to the city. Still, I’m on time. However, a few interns at my office have been sneaking 15 minutes late every day. Sure, there are about 20 of us, but remember this: the editors notice. Waking up early every day during your summer vacation may be a drag, but you signed up for this. Don't be late.

2) Not Using Your Cellphone
For my first two weeks at the Fashion Mag, I kept my phone hidden in my purse and didn’t go anywhere near it. Slowly, I started checking it during the day, and lately have been keeping it in my pocket or near me. It wasn’t until one of my editors asked another intern to “Do something productive” when she was caught texting that I learned to quickly put my phone away after that. Yes, the hours are long (12 hours days at the Fashion Mag, sometimes even longer!) but you’re here to learn. There is ALWAYS something else you can do in the fashion closet, like straightening up shoes or organizing paperwork.

3) Not Surfing the Web
This goes hand-in-hand with not using your phone. In the fashion closet, we have three computers that the interns use for uploading pictures, cataloging inventory, and research. 20 interns divided by 3 computers = about 6 interns to a computer. Last week, I was waiting to get to the computer to do some inventory, and the girl who was using the computer was taking awfully long (Four minutes is a long time in the fashion closet, time is of the essence!). I asked her how much longer she would be on. Her response? “Oh sorry, I don’t even need the computer! I was just looking at some study abroad programs.” Even if it’s tempting to surf the web for a few minutes, do it on your own time. And just a friendly reminder: absolutely no Facebook at work!

4) Taking Short Lunch Breaks
Personally, this is the one I struggle the most with. When I don’t eat, bad things happen. I get cranky. I get tired. My first two days, I didn’t eat lunch. I repeat: I went 12 hours without a break for food, surviving only off of granola bars and baby carrots that I packed with me. I quickly learned that it’s acceptable to tell your editors, “Hey, I’m stepping out for lunch.” Since there are a lot of interns at the Fashion Mag, I usually take about 45 minutes to an hour for a lunch break. However, one of my editors recently asked us to cut back to half-hour lunch breaks. I’m not sure if all mags are like this, but your best bet is to follow what’s asked of you.

In writing, these things seem simple. But I’ve learned that it takes a lot of willpower to do these things day in and day out – and I only intern three days a week. Then again, I put in more hours in three days than some people do in a paid week.

Here’s to hoping it will all pay off in the end! Tell me, fashion interns, is your internship as intense? This is my first internship – does it get any easier, or is this a preview of life in the fashion world?

Fashion Intern

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently in a summer internship at a fashion marketing firm in LA. I'll admit, I do sometimes check my phone, go on Facebook, and surf the web, but I do it discreetly and when there's nothing to do. I always get my tasks done the fastest and with the best quality, so I think it's fine to have some fun on the side. If I didn't, I think I'd go nuts!