Monday, February 6, 2012

Internships Are Important to Success after College

The number one question college seniors are asked when graduating is “What career do you want to obtain with your degree?” As many students are asked that question after graduating, I asked myself that at the end of my sophomore year.

Majoring in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Business, I realized the fashion world is so broad with many career options to choose from such as Visual Merchandiser, Retail Manager and Assortment Buyer. I knew I did not want to sit behind a desk and crunch numbers all day or work a constant nine to five. I wanted to be in the middle of everything fashion related and communicating with clients daily. Being in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, I was appointed Social Chair. The position included planning social events, communicating to other sororities and fraternities, pricing venues, public speaking, and setting event budgets. Doing these tasks, I realized that Social Chair and Fashion Public Relations went hand-in-hand. Fashion is constantly evolving and demanding just as AKA.

I wanted to understand how to prepare for post-graduation career success in Fashion PR. Reading blogs and talking to many professionals, I found that an internship would be a great start in gaining experience. Internships allow students to obtain experience, understand the roles of the position, and possibly secure a position in the company after interning. Since Lafayette Fashion PR agencies are scarce, I applied to PR/Advertising companies that varied in clients other than fashion. Through Career Services, I interviewed at Calzone and Associates and started immediately.

A typical day in the office is not a typical day. While Calzone and Associates manages over thirty clients, no client is the same. My main responsibilities as an intern include updating spreadsheets, attending meetings, update social medias, writing newsletters and additional tasks that come up during the day.

Interning also comes with challenges that force you to learn about yourself and the industry. The challenges I have come across are being a better writer and understanding that confidence is the key. Writing is such a strong suit in PR. You have to speak well for people to take you seriously, especially if you are the person that is speaking for them. Also, it’s not what you say but more how you say it. Confidence also plays an important role in PR. If a client comes in and sees how motivated, strong and confident you are, they are assured and trust that you will do the best work possible.

I recommend that all college students do at least three internships during their college career. All companies ask for resumes and the more experience you have at a young age, the greater chance you have at gaining your career faster. This shows the employer that you are ready to work. Gaining first-hand insight in an industry is the best way to find if it is for you.

- Ashley Livingston

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