I’m approaching my two-year anniversary in New York in just a couple of weeks and it’s hard to believe how fast the time has gone by. If you would have told me five years ago that I would intern and move to New York City, I might not have believed you. I’ve talked about my career journey a handful of times on the blog, including how I got my magazine internship, and I like talking about this topic because it’s close to my heart and I love helping others who want to work in the fashion or media industry. Today, I want to talk about how I went from my editorial internship at Redbook magazine into a fashion closet assistant role 14 months later.
In my intern story post, I talked about how I applied to around 50 internships, and felt extremely lucky that Redbook worked out. I felt blind going into the process and was just emailing my resume out into the abyss, hoping someone would take two minutes to give me a chance. Once I got to NYC, I realized how rare my situation was. All of my peers had a connection, an alumni or someone help them get the internship. And to be honest, that’s typically how it works out. I was determined to move back to New York after graduation, so I got to work. Here are 10 things I did that helped me land my fashion assistant position.
DURING MY INTERNSHIP
1. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK
Intern events, informational interviews, industry-related events, even the workplace – you name it, I networked. I introduced myself, handed out my business card and followed up. No connection is too small because you never know what it’ll turn into. I met my SAK photographer at a networking event and even some of my best friends.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
The goal of an internship is to learn. I asked my supervisors to sit down with me and critique my work, I asked to sit in on meetings, asked about the process of the magazine and why decisions were made that way. There’s a fine line between being curious and being annoying – so make sure questions are thought through and informative. This helped me stand out as an intern and showed that I was there to learn and that I valued the company.
3. ATTEND EVENTS
I attended as many events as I could during my internship. Whether it was an industry panel, an intern networking event or a brand pop-up shop, I was there networking and learning about the industry.
4. BEING ASSERTIVE AND PROACTIVE
During my internship I remember longingly looking at the fashion department wishing I could be on set with them, or learning about the clothes versus transcribing interviews and pitching articles for the health column. I was upfront with my supervisor about my career goals and she was able to let me shadow the fashion team on set one day for a shoot. I also made it known that I wanted to work in the fashion department and met everyone on their team.
5. INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS
To this day, I still do informational interviews. I am constantly learning, networking and trying to grow. I did a handful of interviews during my internship, and their advice really helped solidified my move to NYC and guided me through the transition from college to the fast-paced fashion industry.
6. HARD WORK
The entire time I was interning, I felt like it was a “do or die” situation. I was so hungry to work in the industry and to make sure I could move back, that I worked my little tush off. I got to work early, stayed late, volunteered to help out various editors, presented myself in a professional manner and did it all with a smile on my face. I gained their trust and respect, which later helped me land the job.
AFTER MY INTERNSHIP
7. UPDATED MY RESUME AND LINKED-IN
This one seems like a given, but I immediately updated all of my professional entities with my New York experience. It gave me the credibility when applying to new internships and jobs that I had a large publishing name under my belt.
8. KEEP WORKING
I knew that I needed more fashion experience during my last year of school so I started working more closely with Phoenix Fashion Week, styling on my own and blogging to fill in any gaps on my resume. I also had two more internships during the school year that expanded my experience.
9. KEEP IN TOUCH
This was a rule that I learned very early in my career from my high school business teacher – you have to keep in touch with your contacts. I kept in contact with the Redbook team, my other informational interview contacts and industry friends throughout the year. I let them know that I was moving back to NYC, sent them my resume and emailed back and forth every few months to stay on their radar.
10. ASK FOR THE JOB
Okay, this might not be the case for every situation, but I went after the position I wanted. My previous supervisor was my biggest confidant at the magazine and kept me updated when she heard of any open positions in the industry, and when the fashion closet position opened, gave me a heads up. I stayed in contact with one of the fashion editors in the department, and was very candid with her that I wanted a job with their team. I knew I didn’t have any fashion closet experience but was able to fight for the position and express that all of my other experience was a great asset for the team. I started at Redbook in November 2016, just a couple months after moving to New York and freelancing at other publications.
I absolutely loved working at Redbook, and the team was incredible. It was a great learning experience and launching point for my career and I believe due to hard work, persistence and being proactive, I was able to turn my internship into my dream career.
Do you have questions for me? I hope so! I’ll be hosting a Facebook Live THIS WEDNESDAY August 2nd at 9pm EST on my Facebook Page. Send me your questions beforehand and I can’t wait to chat with you then! xo
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PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY