WA to LA: My Summer Internship Experience

My experience interning for Nordstrom the Grove in Los Angeles, California was nothing short of amazing. After my ten weeks at one of the largest volume driving stores in the company, I took away so many useful management skills and made lasting connections with customers, coworkers, and higher-level management in the company that I hope will be beneficial to my job search come graduation in June.

I’ve worked for Nordstrom since 2015 as a sales associate in Seattle, so when the opportunity surfaced to moved to my favorite city for the summer for an elevated position, I quickly jumped on it. After a couple of interviews and thanks to my experience and connections to the company, I landed my dream internship! The Grove is a notorious for celebrity sightings, red carpet events, and some of the coolest concepts that the industry has to offer. Every day felt like I was walking into the Disneyland of all Nordstrom stores, with the fountain synchronized to music and the trolley sounding around the plaza. Who could ask for a better place to intern?

This internship challenged me in ways that any job or internship has challenged me before. The atmosphere was competitive, as interns are expected to reach daily sales goals. I was able to grow in my customer relationship management skills and meet some of the most motivating people while doing it. I learned merchandising skills, something that was much more tricky than I thought when I went into the internship. I had creative freedom when I merchandised clothing to create the best visual experience for customers. Los Angeles is a city full of opportunities, so even when I was working at the Grove, I was always striving to meet people that will help me make it to my next opportunity. 

 

Here’s my advice to those of you with an internship in your plans this summer:

Start Your Hunt Early

Some corporate internships start taking summer internship applications as early as November, so try and be one of the first résumés their internship coordinator sees. If your qualifications stand out and you get your application in early, there’s a great chance you’ll land an interview!

 

Take Your College Years to Experience Different Fields

In her book “All Work, No Pay”, Lauren Berger recommends that graduates should have at least three internships under their belt to have the best shot at landing their dream job after college. With those three internships, make sure to test the water in different areas that may interest you! My first internship was in social media, which taught me a lot about the field. More importantly, it taught me that I couldn’t see myself doing that sort of work as a career after college.

 

Don’t Forget What Your Internship REALLY Means

An internship isn’t just something you put on your résumé. The professional connections you make and the skills that you take away from your time with a company are the utmost important takeaways of an internship. If you just take an internship, or any job for that matter, just to say you did it, you may want to rethink it and find something that will actually benefit your career in the future!

 

With that being said, get started on your summer internship search, Wildcats! Your future self will thank you later!