02/06/2016
Started from the bottom.

Words by

Eliza Sholly

We know firsthand it’s pretty hard to get your foot in the door of the fashion industry, so we're helping you out. We've launched FJ Careers, a new destination where you can browse job and internship opportunities in the Australian fashion industry and help grow your career.

Before I scored my dream internship at Fashion Journal, I was a frequenter of many offices as a budding and enthusiastic unpaid volunteer. In today’s day and age, a university degree doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Internships seem to be the only way to make your resume stand out from the pack.

Take it from me. Heading into an office for three months of unpaid work didn’t sound like my idea of a great time initially, either. But I came out of the experience much wiser about what I wanted my future to look like.

So from one hopeful graduate to another, here are some tips on how to land that dream internship.

Know where to look

There are several different platforms that advertise for internships. For creatives, FJ Careers is a great platform that lists vacant roles around Australia in the fashion industry. Universities can also have forums that list potential opportunities.

However, if you like a company and want to work for them, you can simply send them an email advising your availability and willingness to learn. You are working for free, so more often than not they'll be keen to hear what you can offer.

Apply apply apply

If you are genuinely keen for some internship experience, the trick I have learnt is to basically apply for as many as you can. Individualise your cover letter to the business, ensuring you include relevant information as to what the company does and how your skills will best be utilised there.

Also, be sure to note where you have sent your applications. This will help avoid any awkwardness if you get a call from someone regarding one of the 32 positions you applied for. 

Know your rights

This tip is dedicated to my mum who printed out the Fair Work Australia guidelines on day one of my first internship. As long as you are the one getting the main benefit from the arrangement, then all is well.

Errands and coffee runs every now and again are pretty normal, as long as they are woven with some actual work that contributes to your learning.

Make connections

I mean literal and metaphorical here, people. Connect with employees on Linkedin, ask them questions about their career path. The people working at the company were not just handed these jobs, they worked for them. Take some time to ask questions about the industry and how to succeed in it. You have the person working your dream job at your disposal, so hound them until they ask you to stop.  

Enjoy it

If you’re waking up once a week and hating the thought of going to an unpaid internship, maybe the job just isn’t for you? This should be a fun experience in which you get a taste of what your future might look like, NOT intensive slave labour for the resume. While there may be ups and downs in working for free, it certainly shouldn’t be all bad.

Illustration by Twylamae.

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