Let's focus on communication... It's all well and good FYI telling you to make your brand hit list and reach out to brands — but how?! Where?! And what do you say?! Nowadays, we are lucky to have so many entry points to brands and professionals. There is email, LinkedIn, Insta... so which option is the best? Let us tell ya. We thought what better way to show you than sharing first-hand advice from the Interns and Grads that have had success reaching out! Take it aways Honeys...
Cold Reach Outs Work — by Interns + Grads
WADZI, FASHION PROMOTION STUDENT
I’ve always had great results when messaging brands through DMs. Even if they don't have any vacancies, it shows them that you care about the company and you're truly interested in what they do.
I would always use the phrase “looking for experience in a particular field” rather than specifically asking for an internship and I always make sure to say EXACTLY what I’m happy to do.
I think brands like it when you do a project on their company beforehand, it shows you actually care - I send my CV and portfolio in advance too!
WADZI'S TOP TIPS: Make sure you’ve already sent the work to them before messaging + always make sure the work is relevant to their business - bonus points if you do a mini brief on their company, it shows you truly understand their values and what they're all about. Before messaging, think about which area of work you would like to gain experience in, then bring it into the conversation and let them know where your interests lie.
NATASHA, FASHION DESIGN STUDENT
In my second year of uni, I came across an image of a light-up garment and it really intrigued me. I did a bit of digging and found out that it was from a brand based in Amsterdam called LeonLeon. I was eagerly looking for an internship at the time so took the leap, found an email address and introduced myself with a CV and portfolio. Reaching out lead me into a 4-month internship in central Amsterdam where I also got to help create and construct garments for the Moet & Chandon 150th anniversary event in Amsterdam - I also got to attend backstage for both nights of the event. 😁
In my original email I explained that I was flexible with what I would do during my internship with them. I described a few of the modules I had done that I thought were relevant and Leon seemed really impressed - he asked about timings and what length of internship I was looking for and that was it! We discussed the details over email and the first time I met him was on my first day of the job.
NATASHA'S TOP TIP: My top tip would be to just reach out even if you're not 100% confident - there's nothing to lose but a lot to gain! X
SARAH, ARCHITECTURE STUDENT
I'm currently finishing up my architecture masters and after 5 years I've realised that I'd rather work in UX and Product Design - better late than never! I had absolutely no idea where to start so I got busy researching companies and then dived deeper to find people that worked in those companies who also went to my uni. I started messaging people like, "Hey, you went to (x) uni! Did you know (x person) and (x person)? How did you find the uni?" - or basically anything to break the ice. I'd then say, "I wanted to email you because I noticed that you went into UX Design. I was wondering if you could talk me through the process of how you got into the industry?" Then, I'd try and arrange a vid call.
Using this technique I've managed to have 2 video calls with product designers from startups to bigger companies like Money Super Market. I've had a phone convo with a UX Designer at Pearson and I'm now in a group chat with other budding designers who I can reach out to if I need portfolio advice or any help at all!
SARAH'S TOP TIP: Firstly, get a free trial to LinkedIn premium or at least 1 month subscription and use inMail. My ice breaker messages ended up being SO long and the characters on a connection request aren't enough. You need to get yourself across properly and you can't do that in 300 characters!
Secondly, pester as many people as you can. Unfortunately, some people just don't want to help and will leave you on read or not accept your request. So, keep trying until people do! Try not to get deflated when people don't respond - there are some gems out there that want to help out.
Lastly, when you've established these relationships, maintain them and reach out every so often so you never lose touch. These people may come in handy at a later date for a potential job or a favour.
EVA, FASHION MARKETING STUDENT
I was trying hard to build up my Fashion Writing portfolio and was desperately emailing small websites and companies to give me some experience when @cohorted replied saying they saw potential in me. I couldn’t believe that out of all the places I emailed, the biggest one got back to me!
In my reach-out email, I explained that I was a Fashion Marketing student looking to find ways to expand my skills and knowledge in Fashion Writing. When they replied they asked me to send them some of my previous work and just like that I was signing the contract!
EVA'S TOP TIP: Don’t give up even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere, it’ll be so worth it in the end!
POLLY, FASHION STUDENT
I was browsing on LinkedIn and saw a post calling for “work experience” candidates so I reached out and emailed the appropriate person. I talked quite generally about myself, my studies and my interests and of course expressed an interest in gaining work experience with them. A lovely person from the PR & Branding team emailed back asking a few questions like, 'What do you do?', 'When can you work?', 'Why did you apply?' etc. After emailing back & forth, I was lucky enough to be invited to an informal interview!
JADE, DIGITAL MEDIA GRAD
When I was 15/16 I spent a few months in San Francisco because of my parents' work. I wanted to keep busy so I thought I’d get an internship. I looked up the top 100 agencies in SF and emailed all of their Directors. In my emails, I offered to do anything for them, even empty the bins - I was that desperate for some experience. I got some replies offering internships but I got loads of emails back from people who didn’t have availability but wanted to meet for coffee simply because they thought it was such a bold move. I’m still in contact with some of them years later and visit them whenever I’m in SF. A little email can go a long way!
JADE'S TOP TIP: Think outside the box and use your initiative. Try to think of unusual ways to get peoples attention, it could be simply writing a fun email or sending them your CV in a glitter-covered envelope.
RHIANNON, FASHION COMMS GRAD
How I got 2-years experience at Hissy Fit Clothing... I came across the brand through another girl on my course who had interned for them before. The brand was based in Birmingham which was where I went to uni and I loved their vibe. I followed them on Insta and sent a DM saying that I loved the Hissy Fit brand and was looking for experience alongside my Fashion Business degree.
I didn’t get a reply for a few days but I assumed she received a lot of DMs so I reached out again. This time I said I could start whenever she needed and I had experience with Photoshop and InDesign and she replied saying she would love to have me in and help out!
We organised a day for me to visit her and see how she runs the business and then I interned there a few days a week or when she needed me for two years. Even now, I know I could message her asking to intern and she would say yes!
RHIANNON'S TOP TIP: Use any connections you have and make sure to reach out to brands too!
SHONA, FASHION COMMS STUDENT
Pre-COVID, I was looking for work experience and couldn’t see anywhere advertising available positions, so I looked up Fashion companies in the cities near me and simply reached out to 10 of them. I wrote a personalised message stating why I liked the brand and what I could bring to the team if they were to hire me, and of course attached my CV. One company emailed me back within 30 minutes, brought me in for an interview and I gained a 2-month internship, just like that!
SHONA'S TOP TIP: Don’t be put off by a fear of rejection, being ignored or reaching out. If you’re the right for a company you can end up with a position no one else would have received!
NIAMH, FASHION STUDENT
I sent a speculative email when I was a Art grad to work as one of the floor team at an art fair. I was quite candid and explained that I was happy to get stuck in and do any job around the fair as I was keen to get experience and be in an art-world environment.
Unfortunately, they did not have any places left however the Coordinator said that one of her colleagues needed an intern. I interviewed and got the internship! It was a better opportunity than I had anticipated when I emailed about the art fair - it was paid for 4 months and I learnt so much. I believe it's set me up for the roles I've had since!
NIAMH'S TOP TIP: Be sincere when reaching out to companies - explain why you want the experience and why it would benefit you.
RACHEL, DESIGN GRAD
During lockdown I was working in a supermarket 5 am (😫😫😫) till 10 am most days which meant i had pretty much the entire day free. So, I sent a few cold emails to a local charity and to my Uni asking if there was any way I could volunteer from home. I was thrilled that they both said yes and when I start Uni again in September, my volunteer role became a part-time PAID internship (and they paid me for all the hours I did in summer too!)
RACHEL'S TOP TIP: Don’t be scared to put yourself out there - the worst thing that can happen is that they will ignore you or say no!
LAUREN, FASHION GRAD
In my placement year, I got some work experience in Design but realised I was far more interested in Trend Forecasting. There were no positions being advertised so I did some stalking on LinkedIn and found a few emails of people in that industry.
I sent them my CV, portfolio and cover letter and asked if they offered any Trend Forecasting internships for students. I had to follow up a few times but I ended up getting 2 placements! I learnt that I have to take these things into my own hands, you never know where one email can lead to!!
LAUREN'S TOP TIPS: Add people on LinkedIn from companies you want to work at, especially the recruiters! And keep putting yourself out there, worst case is you’ll get a no. Don’t wait for opportunities, go get them yourself😊😊
MARY, FASHION STUDENT
Last year, I was working in retail on a management course but I really wanted to be working in something more creative (I have a degree in Fashion Photography). So, I quit my job and started sending out cold emails to Photographers I wanted to work with.
I kept the email really simple. I did some research into his work and mentioned some shoots that I liked and why. I said I was keen to assist him and attached my CV. I didn’t hear from him for a month or so, then I got a random email from him one day asking to do a bit of retouching for social media for him and soon after I was pretty much full time with him!
I help with production, social media, website management, office management - I’m involved in so many parts of the business and it’s great!
MARY'S TOP TIP: Make your own job opportunities! Don’t rely on job listings, find who you want to work for and reach out directly.
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