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So, you’ve landed an internship in the fashion industry? Congratulations! Chances are you will have beaten dozens, if not hundreds of other aspiring fashionistas to the position, so you should definitely be encouraged.

However, this is just the start of the fight to muscle your way into a highly-competitive industry. It’s now imperative that you make the most of your placement, increasing your chances of turning it into a paid position.

Here are some effective ways of getting the most out of your placement

  • Don’t be afraid to ask

While you will be expected to have a passion for fashion and a certain amount of specialist knowledge, nobody will be expecting you to know everything you need to know from the beginning.

As such, if you’re unsure about anything or if you have any questions, always ask. After all, it’s better to feel a little silly for a few seconds than keep silent and make a big mistake because you didn’t speak up. Furthermore, asking questions is about so much more than minimising the number of mistakes you will make. A well-thought-out question can demonstrate a willingness to learn; help you strike up working relationships with permanent members of staff and ensure that you stick in their minds long after your placement has come to an end.

  • Maintain a positive attitude

Chances are, you’ll be only too aware that interns often end up taking on the ‘grunt work’ of the fashion industry. Whether it’s taking care of the admin, packing samples to return to designers or even making the coffees, you may find yourself saddled with some distinctly unglamorous tasks. More importantly, you may end up doing jobs that have no relation to your career goals.

If this is the case, then it pays to be both realistic and positive.

Firstly, remember that you’re an intern and so your employer was never likely to ask you to design a new piece or to oversee a major new order.

The purpose of your placement is to gain experience in the industry, to watch the professionals at work and to learn from them.

Secondly – and just as importantly – you should remain upbeat and positive no matter how disillusioned you might feel.

Full time staff at fashion companies know how tough interning can be and so if you can cope with the long hours and never-ending tasks and still have a smile on your face, this definitely won’t go unnoticed and should show you to be genuinely passionate, enthusiastic and a joy to be around.

  • Go above and beyond

A common complaint of interns is that they hardly have anything to do, and certainly little of any real value. While this may be the case, it’s often due to the fact that stressed-out permanent staff simply don’t have the time to come up with interesting jobs for their interns to get stuck into.

One way to get the most of an internship, then, is to not simply wait to be given an assignment, but to pitch one yourself.

Anticipate the needs of your employers and then come up with an imaginative way in which you can help them. Going above and beyond what’s expected of you can help you stand out from the legions of interns most major fashion industry companies welcome through their doors and coming up with a unique solution to a real problem is often the best way of turning an internship into a real job.

  • Make future plans

Once you’ve got your foot in the door of the fashion industry, you’ll want to keep pushing ahead. So, don’t simply concentrate on your current internship, but look to the future and for new opportunities.

Make use of the contacts a placement will give you to line-up a new internship so that any gaps on your CV are kept to a minimum, attend networking events to meet contacts who could prove useful further down the line and always make it clear that you are keen to find paid work.

  • Stay in touch

Very few interns get asked to stay on as paid members of staff, especially in the fashion industry. So don’t let this get you down.

However, this doesn’t mean you should cut all ties with a company once your placement is over. Far from it, in fact if you feel you were a great fit for a company and if you got on well with the team there, make every effort to stay in touch. Send them a ‘thank you’ note the week after you leave, stay in touch with them on social media channels and be sure to keep them updated on your career progression. Not only is this good manners, it’s also a great way of ensuring that, should any paid positions come up, you’ll be at the forefront of their minds and when you are applying for jobs you’ll get a good reference.

Pointers to remember long after you have left our site

1. If you manage to get a good internship, you should be encouraged. After all, hundreds of other people probably went for the same position.

2. However, don’t expect your internship to lead to paid employment, its better to be surprised and overjoyed than disappointed.

3. Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask questions in your first few days; it’s better to be inquisitive than to make a mistake further down the line.

4. Being inquisitive may also help you get known among the permanent team of staff and show you to be keen to learn and passionate.

5. You should also remain upbeat at all times, even if you feel your talents are being wasted on menial tasks.

6. One way to get the most of an internship, then, is to not simply wait to be given an assignment, but to pitch one yourself and find out who to pitch it too.

7. Be sure to stay in touch with the place and people you do your internship with so as to be in their minds if a paid position comes up.

8. If you can make friends at your internship great, even if you don’t ask people as and when, are you on Facebook, can I add you as a friend? Or maybe Linkined? This will help develop your circle of fashion industry contacts.

Further Reading

Have you read our article on Getting a Fashion Intership Getting a Fashion Intership?

We have other Fashion Job Guides on our site as well as listing every Job Centre in the UK, so be sure to check out our full range of resources including a great job search.

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