What I Wasn’t Expecting When Applying to Internships

Ever since high school, I knew that I wanted to become a dermatologist. I gathered hundreds of volunteer hours working at the hospital, shadowed so many doctors and even conducted and presented research. I went into college as a biology major, chemistry minor, pre-med track. However, as junior year approached, I wanted to pursue my passions of fashion and business. I switched my major over to economics and immediately started applying to as many companies as I could. New York has always been my end goal and the fashion and business opportunities are endless. I wanted to be able to find an internship in New York in hopes that it could lead to a permanent job after I graduated.

 During the months leading up to the summer before senior year, I applied to over 50 internship positions in New York, D.C. and Richmond. I have a Dropbox folder containing six different iterations of my resume and an endless scroll of cover letters. From the 50+ positions that I applied to, I heard back from two internships in New York and two internships in Richmond. Although I wasn’t expecting much, since I literally had no experience in business, I knew I was completely qualified for the positions I was applying to. I was elated to have received any internship opportunities in New York, however, neither of them paid and the living costs of living in the city were far too high. I was also surprisingly hesitant about relocating.

Eventually, I decided to work for Need Supply Co. a clothing store most known for their online presence and, luckily, the only store front was located in Richmond. I worked as a copywriter for the company and was responsible for taking measurements from garments that were photographed and making sure the description for each item was thorough. I was so excited to see brands like Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten, and Rachel Comey displayed in the store. With a smaller city like Richmond, it’s hard finding those particular designer brands in Richmond. I gained so much insight on how production worked and was even able to work in different positions of the company.

 Honestly, I was lucky to have received an internship position from Need Supply Co. and I learned a lot about the application process along the way:

 

1. Make your resume personal.

When I submitted my resume the first few times, the format was boring and didn’t allow my personality to shine through. I eventually made myself familiar with Photoshop and designed my own logo and color scheme for my resume.

2. Be realistic.

Working in a big city has its benefits, however, you want to be able to create close relationships with our peers and mentors. I became so close with my mentor at Need Supply Co. and I knew that might have been difficult to do if I did end up in New York. Let the internship create a really strong platform for you.

 

3. Apply EVERYWHERE.

Sure, it may be repetitive, but you never know until you try, right? I applied to numerous positions that I had interest in, whether it was with user interface companies like Yelp and WeWork, or with big fashion houses such as Diane Von Furstenberg. If you see something that sparks your interest, apply!

 

4. LinkedIn is your BFF.

I hardcore stalked employees from all of the companies that I was applying for on LinkedIn. The platform allows you to see whether there are mutual friends or alumni from your university that works for the company. I reached out and had phone calls with employees that offered helpful advice with applying for the company. Additionally, LinkedIn proved an ‘Easy Apply’ feature with job openings in companies doesn’t require making a separate account.

Transitioning from being a college student to a full-time working adult is difficult. There’s going to be a lot of ‘no’s’, but don’t let them discourage you. Be resourceful and know what you want! Good Luck!