The sky’s the limit when it comes to internships. It’s not an end all, be all kind of deal, and you can never apply for too many. Plus, the more you get your résumé out there, the higher your chances are of landing a position that’s perfect for you.
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Unfortunately, no matter how many times you put yourself in the running, getting your application into the right hands will always be a challenge. As a result, you have to get crafty with the way you make yourself stand out to hiring managers, which is where the art of the cold e-mail comes in.
During my junior year, I was determined to intern in the fashion department of a magazine. My heart wasn’t set on a particular publication, I just wanted to get my foot in the door. To get there, I reached out to countless fashion editors and most of them actually responded.
If you think I simply copied and pasted, though, that certainly wasn’t the case.
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Here’s the basic outline I followed:
First, a clear subject line indicating you’re looking for an internship, along with your name, is important as it will make you easily searchable when someone is ready to hire.
Next, summarizing your experience and what you can bring to the table for the specific brand is a must — bonus points if you’re able to do it in two paragraphs or less as people are busy and no one likes a lengthy read.
On top of that, I like to include a few of my best clips to showcase my point of view and give a feel for my writing style. And don’t forget to attach your résumé along with a cover letter if the role requires it!
Even if you follow these suggestions to the tee, you’re still not guaranteed a dream internship. But doing this legwork definitely brings you one step closer.
Though the editors I emailed weren’t all jumping to hire me, some still appreciated me reaching out and eventually, out of the hundreds of people I blindly contacted, two of them ended up being interested in my experience.
That’s right, only two. But both were major wins as they led me to an offer on Condé Nast Traveler‘s editorial team and in Seventeen magazine’s fashion department. Since I was solely interested in styling at the time, I raced to the teen outlet’s fashion closet.
In general, you increase your chances of impressing an editor the more you send personalized emails, so keep your head up and continue blasting out those messages. Feel free to follow-up, too. I assure you, someone will get back to you.