Tips for Landing Your First Internship

Assorted apparel and accessories for dress sewing in tailor atelier

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a college student or recent graduate looking to land an internship in the fashion industry. Interning is great way to explore your options for a future career and see what you like and don’t like. It’s also a time to focus on leaning and networking. The internship hunt, however, can be pretty brutal– especially in a field like fashion! With so many young professionals flocking to industry hubs, like New York City and Los Angeles, it can sometimes feel like it’s you versus the world!

Trust me, I know just how stressful the internship search can be. However, being a senior in college now, and having submitted close to a hundred applications throughout the past four years, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Following these five steps I’ve been able to land three amazing internships throughout my college career, and I’m so excited to share them with you!

1. Plan Ahead

Most internships offered to college students coordinate with the typical school year schedule. That being said, if you are hoping to intern during a particular semester, be sure to plan ahead so you don’t miss any deadlines. For the most part, internship opportunities will be posted a semester in advance, however, you’ll want to start thinking about your options even before that, so you can be prepared once the listings are available. Be sure to give yourself enough time in advance to prepare a resume or portfolio, so you don’t have to stress about it once applications are open!

In my opinion, it’s never too early to start exploring your options in regards to internships. I remember as a freshman in college, I was eager to start interning right away, however, I felt discouraged by the fact that I didn’t have any experience and would be up against so many qualified students. I decided to apply anyways, and while I didn’t end up landing one that year, I think the experience better prepared me for applying as a sophomore. It gave me a better idea of when and where I should apply!

2. Be Open Minded

One of the things that prevented me from getting an internship as a freshman was that my search was too narrow. I applied only to major companies that I could have seen myself working at after college as my ‘dream job’. Of course, its always important to aim high, but the problem was, my dream internships happened to all be highly competitive.

While you may not land the exact internship you were hoping for on your first try, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! There is so much to learn in any job– you may even surprise yourself and discover a new interest! Apply to a variety of different internships in your desired field and be open to different opportunities. Having a variety of different experiences is a great way to build your resume!

3. Steer Clear of Generic Job Search Sites

In my personal experience, using generic job search sites to find internships can often lead to dead ends. Many of these sites are not updated regularly, therefore it can be difficult to hear back in a timely manner. Additionally, some sites allow you to apply for positions with the click of a button, which can be very impersonal. Your resume, cover letter, and portfolio can be an integral part of the application process, as it allows companies to get to know you in an effort to stand out amongst other applicants.

4. Create Personal Connections

When I was on the hunt for my first internship in college, I submitted over 30 online applications and got no responses. I decided that it was time to take a different approach. I started reaching out to some of my favorite clothing brands via Instagram DM and to my surprise, I landed my first internship right away!

Some companies have their e-mail addresses listed in their IG bios, which is a great way to reach out! After sending an email, it’s important to engage with the company’s social media pages– this will help them match a name to a face. If they aren’t hiring at that time, stay connected through social media to have a greater advantage when applying at a later!

5. Ask About Remote Opportunities

Obviously there are abundant opportunities to intern in fashion hubs like New York City or Los Angeles, however, it’s not always a feasible option to pack up and head to the city for a semester. If you’re going to school far from the hearts of the fashion industry, you may be worried about not being able to find an internship opportunity nearby. No need to fret, there are actually a lot more opportunities to intern remotely than you may think! In the age of technology, there is so much that can still be learned and accomplished, even from the comfort of your own home! Even if an internship listing doesn’t say it’s a remote opportunity, you can still reach out to discuss your options. Many workplaces are willing to work with interns to help them get the most out of their experience!



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