Getting an internship in the fashion department of a prestigious magazine can be exciting. It can also be very, very overwhelming. After ending my first internship at Fashion Mag number 1, I realized there was so much I didn’t know when I started out. So, for all you people who are just about to begin your internship, have already started and are still fuzzy on what to do, or are looking to wedge your way in, here are 3 things I had wish I had known:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Seriously. I wish I had found this one out sooner.
You might be at a big-bad scary fashion magazine and not want to ask a question because you’ll look incompetent, but don’t take that risk. Just don’t. Trust me, you will look a whole lot more incompetent if you don’t ask a question, do something wrong, and then your boss finds out. Remember that this internship is a learning experience and learning requires asking questions. It will save you time and energy in the long run.
2. Don’t be known as “the shy one.”
Take it from me; I used to be painfully shy. But, if you want to work in this world you need to step it up. Don’t be a Chatty Cathy but don’t be known as “the girl who doesn’t talk.” I worked with a girl who took four out of the five months of the internship to finally come out of her shell and talk openly. This is a surefire way to make an unfavorable impression on your peers and coworkers. Office environments can be extremely intimidating but you are allowed to speak. Make conversation. Reach out and be outgoing. The girl I worked with didn’t speak up, didn’t volunteer to do errands and jobs for editors, and always looked like she was scared. Guess what? She hasn’t been asked to go on one photo shoot or do anything remotely interesting. If your bosses see you cowering in the corner and being a loner, they realize you aren’t a team player and you seem uninterested in what you’re doing. If you aren’t the one they can go to do to the boring, intern-y stuff, you won’t be the one they go to when there’s something cool happening.
3. Always say “yes.”
If an editor asks you to copy something for them—even though the copy machine is closer to their desk and they could have made the copies in the time it took them to walk into the closet to ask you—say yes. If you’re asked to go get 12 people coffee from the Starbucks around the corner—say yes and pray you don’t spill. If you are asked to go all the way down to the cafeteria to get someone a cup of $0.25 peanut butter—you say yes. Better yet, offer to do it. I have done all of these trivial tasks and many, many more in the span of five months. Though they sound like b**** work, and believe me, most of the time it is, I always, always, always, said, “YES.” Being eager and volunteering to do something for an editor when they ask makes you look good. Doing the tasks well and quickly shows that you’re enthusiastic and ready for more responsibility. It leads to good things; trust me. Plus, if an editor can depend on you for the small things, they’ll eventually look to you for the bigger, more fun things, too.
There you have it, Edsters. What do you wish you had known before starting your internship? See ya next Monday.