Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Becca Babin tells how she got to shoe-heaven (WWD)

Ever since I started as internship coordinator several years ago, I've found the big fashion magazines to be the hardest place to get internships for our students. Becca Babin went out and did it herself. Here's her report.

An internship with a popular magazine is what every journalism student wants, and almost none get. It’s not because he or she lacks talent or clips. It’s usually because these students don’t know how to get noticed in the sea of resumes that flood every magazine editor for the one or two positions she has to offer.
A pristine resume, a high GPA, prior internship experience, and good extracurricular activities gives you a competitive advantage. But, unfortunately, it is true what they say: it’s all about who you know.

I find this just as frustrating as you, considering I know absolutely no one.

While I have done my fair share of networking, all my contacts were ultimately dead ends and I was left scrambling for a summer internship with a fashion magazine in New York City. After having a flawless interview for the Condé Nast Summer Internship Program and getting rejected, I knew it was time to start looking for some help.

I had heard from a friend who transferred to UMass from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, that their Internship Center had some excellent connections. So I began researching how I could exploit these connections. It turns out that anyone with above a 2.0 can register for a four-credit summer internship with FIT.

Almost every journalism internship in existence requires college credit so either way I was going to be paying for credits. And to top it off, FIT is a state school and I am a New York resident, so I got to pay in-state tuition. Even better.

Additionally, there is three-hour class once a week on building a portfolio and landing jobs in your chosen industry that comes with the credits.

So, without a second thought I registered for the class, paid my tuition and was granted full access to the FIT internship database and my very own advisor/ fairy godmother. Within one week after registering and talking to my advisor on the phone for ten minutes, I had two interviews at major fashion magazines.

I took a Friday to drive down to New York, met with my advisor to be prepped for my interviews, and then interviewed at Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Wear Daily Accessories/ Footwear News.

Guess what? I got them both and it wasn’t necessarily because I am any more suited for them then you. It’s because FIT is in my corner and it’s all about who they know. I ultimately accepted a summer internship with WWD Accessories and Footwear News, a Condé Nast publication. After interviewing on my own and getting rejected, I ended up at my dream organization anyway and I have FIT to thank for it.

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