Wouldn’t you love to land the internship of your dreams at a famous fashion publication? This week we sat down with the charming Jessica Velez to learn how she got her start. Don’t worry all her experiences were much more enjoyable than the Devil Wears Prada. Jessica just finished up a 10 month editorial internship with Refinery 29. While that’s impressive she has a number of other internships under her belt from well known publications like Footwear News, San Francisco’s 7x7 Magazine, and will begin at Marie Claire in a few short days. Jessica is still only 21 and I wanted to figure out what her secret to early success was. After all, these internships are coveted by many. While sipping on cold drinks in SF’s historic Haight neighborhood Jessica shared some beautiful words of wisdom that I’ve digested down into 5 steps from locating an opportunity to landing your dream internship.
1. It’s not in an ad
When looking for an internship you can’t always rely on job postings or ads. Jessica landed her first internship through a professor at her university. She approached the professor without knowing if any internship was even available at her publication. Within a month she had her first internship. You already know what your favorite sites and magazines are so it doesn’t hurt to reach out and see if they need help. This will at least initiate relationships with people who can help in the future.
2. Be passionate
People in this industry are excellent at reading each other. If you’re not passionate about your work or the publication you’re applying to it will be easy to spot. You can even show passion through your communication skills in email and over the phone. If you’re feeling off or tired try to refocus on what motivates you and let that passion shine through.
3. Preparation is key
Knowing the publication and terminology is crucial to making a lasting impression during an interview. Jessica encourages those seriously interested in this field to pursue a degree in journalism or communications to gain a strong foundation of the industry. Jessica that in one interview for an internship she cited recently published articles and the editor asked if she had read any of their older work. She explained how it’s important to show you truly know a media outlet both on and offline.
4. Ask questions
During her interview with Footwear News Jessica asked an insightful question about a topic on their editorial calendar and this left a strong impression on the interviewer. This showed that she was genuinely interested in what they were doing and wanted to be a contributing team member. The editor later told her that’s a question she wishes every potential intern would ask.
5. Take risks
Her final advice to those interested in fashion journalism is to be brave and never say no to an opportunity. She found that opportunities often sounded beyond her experience or skill but she would never let herself pass one up. The work that challenges you most will make you the best. She finds that many people show confidence without giving a reason but Jessica prefers to let her work speak for itself. You can do the same by taking on difficult challenges.
Thank you to Jessica for sharing so many helpful ideas. We wish you the best of luck at Marie Claire! Please tweet questions and comments to @theStyleSays or email email@example.com.