Wednesday, March 31, 2010

INTERN AUDIT: 10 WAYS TO LAND YOUR DREAM JOB IN FASHION

Slight warning before we begin:
The video starts automatically, so don't be startled.
I am not technologically advanced and don't know how to fix it. 
:(
Okay, enjoy! It's a good one!



Lately I have had quite a few resumes popping up in my inbox accompanied by requests for referrals and advice on what it takes to land a job in the fashion industry. Well, the very first thing that must be said is that you MUST have solid interning experience. I know it isn't what people want to hear, but it's the truth. No one is going to want to pay you to do something that an intern already knows how to do but better (especially in this economy). To help, take a look at The Business of Fashion post from last month, as well as the advice and links below. Best of luck to all job hunters!







Style.com’s Intern Guide

Obey the Dress Code

"What not to wear is often easier to outline," says Vogue senior market editor Meredith Melling-Burke. On her list of don'ts: flip-flops, Crocs, ripped jeans, denim shorts, chipped nails, exposed lingerie, and makeup experiments. (Go easy on the eyeliner, Avery!) W magazine executive editor Bridget Foley advises using other office dwellers as a general yardstick of what's appropriate. Even in creative fields, though, you should look like you mean business. "Dress according to the reality of what your day will consist of," advises Teen Vogue fashion director Gloria Baume. "Packing up for shoots and running around to showrooms means comfortable, easy clothes."


But Don't Play It Too Safe
We are talking about the fashion world here, so easy dressing doesn't necessarily mean easy on flair. "Impress me," commands jewelry designer Philip Crangi. And Michael Kors accessories director Richard Sinnott still has fond memories of one ultra-stylish aide. "She looked amazing. I'd say, 'Honey, we're going out to the warehouse to pull vintage. You might want to wear flats,' " he recalls. "She said, 'I don't wear flats.' And sure enough, she's in with her bleach-blond bob, pencil dress, and six-inch patent heels going up and down the ladder." The key here is that she never missed a rung. "Eccentric and flamboyant is amusing, as long as it is balanced with efficiency," says eccentric but efficient Barneys creative director Simon Doonan.

Stay Until the Skinny Lady Sings

Think that working in fashion and publishing means having no life outside work? Good, you're learning. "This is a lifestyle, not a job," says People's Revolution publicity maven Kelly Cutrone. "If you need to leave at 5:30 every day, it's kind of not the right career for you." Casting director Douglas Perrett gives his interns a 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift, but reserves the right to go beyond. "This industry can be 24/7," he says. "They need to be accessible." With luck, your commitment won't go unnoticed. "You always get bigger points if you say, 'Hey, I can stay and finish this,' " says Keith Carollo, co-owner of the retailer Fred Flare.


Great Expectations: Check Them at the Door
Remember, there are no such things as small tasks, only small interns. "If you do little things awesome, you'll definitely get bigger opportunities," says Flare. And no matter how beneath your talents you consider stamp-licking or shoe-taping to be, keep a poker face. "No eye rolls" is the request from Costello Tagliapietra's Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra. "That's the bane of our existence: the intern eye roll." Miserable after a day at the copier? Baume suggests taking the long view: "Even though on some days it might seem like a thankless, dismal job, when you look back, you will realize how valuable it really was." And if not, you can always use the material for your tell-all blog. Or not…


Blog With Caution
Your boss might read Gawker obsessively, but that doesn't mean she wants to see her name there. Still, in this new world of online notoriety (and, for that matter, interns) as marketing tool, employers have relaxed their stance on blogging…a bit. "We love when our interns blog about their experiences," says Teen Vogue's Baume. The magazine even provides an area on its Web site to do so, but Baume points out that some things must remain sub rosa. "I'd clear it with your employer," adds Vanity Fair's Fanfair editor, Punch Hutton. "That said, if I knew someone was blogging about their work experience, I'd be reluctant to involve him or her in an important project." Our take: If you're convinced your online musings are juicy enough to land a six-figure, kiss-the-office-goodbye-forever book contract, blog away. Otherwise, find a safer outlet for venting work frustrations, like mixed martial arts.


Master the Art of the Telephone
Right up there on the list of fun intern tasks: answering the phone. And it's harder than it looks, by all accounts. Among the pet peeves we heard from employers: incomplete phone messages, an unfamiliarity with clients' names, and even offering a "Good afternoon" to callers at 10 a.m. Vanity Fair's Hutton advises, "Always answer the phone with a sunny disposition. This doesn't mean singsongy or overly familiar. And always ask for a phone number if your boss isn't there." At PR powerhouse Karla Otto, where a phone is unfailingly answered by a live human being, senior staffer Libby Haan advocates uniformity and manners. "Everyone answers the phone the same way: 'Karla Otto, New York .' Polite and respectful, that's it." Years from now, that "Who? Can you spell Gabbana?" gaffe might make for a funny anecdote, but right now it'll mean a long summer—or a very short one.


Learn by Osmosis
You're not Barbara Walters, and a busy boss has better things to do (lunch at Michael's, checking out that new spa for a two-line front-of-book mention, etc.) than answer all your questions about how she broke into the industry. Still, a savvy intern can pick up tons of intel without a single inquiry—every office has bits of information flying around all day long. "Keep your eyes and ears open," says Vogue's Melling Burke. "Make a point to remember everyone's name. Research the latest collections on Style.com." According to Cutrone, after four weeks of stuffing envelopes, a good intern should be able to tell you where every editor works and the magazine's address. "That's amazing because they've actually been paying attention to detail," she says.

Keep IT in Your Pants, or Your Purse

Get your mind out of the gutter. That's IT as in your information technology. As much as the vibrating siren song of your BlackBerry's IM or thoughts of who might have just poked you on Facebook might call, ignore them like Odysseus should have done if he wanted to get home on time. "Personal phone calls should be the exception, not the rule," says W's Foley. "Cell phones, texting, and IM'ing should take place outside of the office," agrees Vanity Fair's Hutton. "Be wary of giving the impression that there are a million other things you'd rather be doing." IPods, on the other hand, can be welcome under the right circumstances. "We always want to know what the kids are listening to," says Perrett. "Listening to iPods is encouraged, as long as it's on our iPod dock." And for a few open-minded employers, your youthful tech savvy can be a plus all around. Says Barneys' Doonan, "[Interns] should show me all the latest tricks and technology. I consider it their duty to prevent me from becoming an old fart."


Be Seen and Not Heard
Your opinion matters. Just kidding—it doesn't. It may be tempting to chime in with your incisive take on what's happening in front of you, but resist the urge. "It sounds really catty, but my pet peeve is you giving your opinion without being asked," says Kors' Sinnott. "Sometimes interns get a little too involved in their heads," say Costello and Tagliapietra. "They try to work themselves into meetings or listen to phone conversations and voice their opinion. Then you have that oddball who just thinks they're the designer, but there's usually someone to put them in their place, whether it's a stylist or a hairdresser." To avoid being zinged by an up-and-coming Oribe (trust us, the scars can last for years), just remember that silence truly is golden.


So What's In It for You?
An internship is essentially a two-month-long job interview, and a successful intern can reap rewards. "Sometimes an intern impresses you so much that all you want to do is find them a job within the department," says Teen Vogue's Baume. Beyond an immediate job, however, the value of making a good referral is, as they say, priceless. The worlds of fashion publishing, design, and PR are as tight-knit as the stitches on the gash above a hockey player's eye. When hiring, everyone asks for suggestions. "We are very fond of referring our outstanding interns to companies once they are out of school," says Vogue's Melling Burke. "We're very supportive of people who have helped us," say Costello and Tagliapietra. "It's about making connections as much as it is about learning." But don't downplay the educational aspect. "You can't go study any of this stuff," says Cutrone. "The only way to learn is to be in the work environment."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...