Tag Archives: Internships

Internships: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Everybody seems to have an opinion on internships. Are they necessary for “real world” learning? Is it just free labor? Do you actually learn anything worth while?

My opinion has certainly changed since starting at FIT. On the one hand, internships are necessary for the “real world” experience of working with a team, in an office and reporting to people above you. Almost any successful professional will tell you that working under someone is necessary, and you should do it even if it is unpaid. This is where it gets a little complicated.

On the one hand, internships offer (hopefully) invaluable experience, networking opportunities, helpful references, business insight and something to put on your resume. There is no doubt that employers want experience. It can also guide you in deciding what you actually want to do when you graduate. Even if you are absolutely positive you are going to be in advertising, do you want to work for a big company or a small company? An exciting but risky start-up, or a stable respected company where you will have much less responsibility or creative freedom? Are you sure the job you think you want is actually fulfilling?

However, many people now believe that internships are detrimental to students. They certainly take up a lot of time with most companies wanting at least two full days a week. It is also hard to quantify how much someone is learning at an internship. Are you just getting coffee, making copies and running things back and forth, or is your supervisor taking the time to make sure you understand what you are doing and, most importantly, why it is important? Most internships are unpaid, which brings up the argument that internships really only benefit middle to upper class kids who can afford to work for free. If a student is paying their own way through college it is unlikely they will have time for school, their job and an unpaid internship.

Of course, most places try to get around this now with “credit bearing” internships. These are also usually unpaid, but the student can get credit for a class. This allows the school to check up on the work place to ensure it is safe, and that the student is getting enough of an education to make the time spent there worth it. However, these credit-bearing internships are not offered by every company and usually require the student to add  another class to their schedule. This limits the flexibility of their schedule for other classes and obviously takes away more time.

If I may interject with my own opinion here, I do think internships are necessary. The ones I did have certainly helped me see what jobs I thought I was interested in more clearly. I have been exposed to big companies, little companies and growing companies. I have learned a lot and made many helpful connections. However, I have never been paid for my work. I have never even been compensated for lunch or travel. Looking back now, it is very frustrating as well as quite disheartening considering I am looking for a job and having done all this work is not  a guarantee I will get hired. I met a woman recently and asked her if she would ever need a research assistant. She replied that she would love an assistant, but could not afford to pay fair compensation at the moment, and did not feel it was right to accept that labor for free. Even though it was an opportunity I could not have, I was so happy when she said that! I mean it was so refreshing just to hear someone say, “I can’t hire you, but I respect you, your work, and your time too much to let you work for nothing.”

What are your opinions? Have you had any good or bad experiences with internships?

–Emily–

A Thank You Goes A Long Way

I am a firm believer in the power of gratitude and a simple “Thank You.” Not only does it prove to bring good things into my personal life, but my professional life as well!

I’ve had family members who worked in administrative jobs tell me, they would hire one person over another due to a simple Thank You Note after interviewing. It may seem absurd, but the act of taking the time to personally thank the interviewers can change your career!

I’ve kept this advice close to heart while being in New York and have applied it wherever I can. When I finished at my first internship, I sent a personal, hand-written Thank You note to my boss for the wonderful experience I’d had.

I just recently finished a different internship and did the same thing. When I was interviewing for new internships the following week, I picked up some more thank you cards in preparation. Once I got home from those interviews, I wrote out the notes and sent them on their way.

The notes mean more than one may think. It shows a level of maturity, and respect that so many people unknowingly lack these days. It sets you apart from many others as a polite and gracious person, who could end up being the perfect fit into a company.

Don’t know where to find a companies address? Often times it will be located on their website. Or, if you’ve been communicating specifically with one person via email, they may have their office mailing address attached within their email signature. Last resort, speak to the doorman of the building! They may know where you can find more information on mailing addresses!

Thank you goes a long way!

Welcome to the Jungle: AMC Career Expo 2014

FIT has always had a wonderful reputation of providing its students with one-of-a-kind learning experiences outside of 27th street. Every week on campus, there is another opportunity offered to students. Everyone at FIT, from professors to students, are so connected within their respected industries. Through those connections, internships and even entry level jobs are often easier to find than you may think! However, it does take a nice resume and a good head on your shoulders to nail it down ;)

To make it even better, FIT’s Special Events class puts on an annual Advertising & Marketing Career Expo, which is a fancier way of saying Job Fair. About 60 New York based companies gathered in the John E. Reeves Great Hall Wednesday evening from 6-8 pm in hopes to gain some new interns and even employees! Ranging from corporate fashion designers like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan to smaller boutique agencies like 24/7 Laundry Service, there is bound to be a company that interests you.

This years AMC Career Expo flyer!

This years AMC Career Expo flyer!

Students are able to walk around to different company tables and introduce themselves and start a conversation with these representatives. This was my first year to take advantage of this amazing opportunity that is offered to all AMC students.  Dressed to impress, I entered the Great Hall with a stomach full of butterflies. I didn’t know what to expect, or what companies I was hoping to talk to. It can be overwhelming walking into the hustle and bustle of a job fair and immediately begin networking yourself. But I must admit, this was such good practice for me. I am a good conversationalist…once a conversation has begun. Sometimes I get nervous to be the one initiating the conversation, especially with professionals. However, this experience definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone in the best ways possible. I walked up to the table, introduced myself – and it only got easier and better from there!

I brought a few copies of my resume, ready to pass them out! All in all, I gave all of my resumes to different companies and had some great conversations with potential employers. They were all very curious about my past interning experiences, which I was happy to tell them about. In return, I asked a lot of questions about their companies and positions within their companies. Asking questions is important. It doesn’t make you look “dumb,” actually the exact opposite. It shows that you’re interested and want to learn more!

I walked away with 5 business cards, and potential internships for Spring 2015! The first thing I did when I got home was to type a follow-up email to the company contacts I was interested in pursuing. Within the email, I thanked them for their time and how I enjoyed chatting with them. I reiterated how I was interested in a possible internship and attached another copy of resume, just to be safe! The next morning, I had 2 emails from the top 2 companies I wanted to intern for! In both, they mentioned how it was so nice to receive a follow up email promptly. ALWAYS, send a follow up. The best follow up is a Thank You note, however email was the appropriate option for this situation.

I am so happy and grateful that I went to the Career Expo. It’s a great networking event for students who may not have much experience in the industry already, or who are looking to gain more experience. This is something that is so special and unique to FIT. If you didn’t take advantage of this event this year, be sure to keep your eyes out for next years flyer! You don’t want to miss this!!

xx,

Brendan

The FIT Job Fair

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Each semester the Career and Internship Center hosts a job fair that has over fifty different companies and even more potential employers. Despite being a senior, I attended this fair for the first time yesterday.

Although it is called a “job” fair, many companies are also looking for interns. Ralph Lauren and J.Crew are two companies that have programs set up for summers of rising seniors. Unfortunately, I am not eligible for these as I am going to be graduating, but it was extremely helpful to have this “practice run” and see not only which companies attend, but how their representatives interact with the students.

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Macy’s is always a popular table

The fair is very fast paced as there are usually lines, some quite long, to meet with one or two representatives for each company. For the most part it is a two to five minute conversation discussing your ideal department to be placed in, as well as the steps for applying. Having many copies of your resume is absolutely necessary as everyone you meet will take one and make notes on it to remember you. Having some examples of your work is a good idea. Although none of the employers asked to see mine, even when offered, those applying for design positions often were asked.

A nice touch is to bring your business cards with your email and a link to your online portfolio or website, although it is certainly not necessary.

–Emily–

Welcome or Welcome Back

Hi Everyone,

So yes, I admit it.. I have been absent for a while (but for good reason). I’m proud to tell you that I finally launched my project. InfoModa RD is the first digital Dominican Fashion Encyclopedia based on informational interviews of professionals in the fashion industry within the Dominican Republic. The website is meant to provide deeper knowledge of this industry (for me of course and everyone else) and support and promote Dominican talent. For now the website is just in Spanish but sooner rather than later we will have the English version. Feel free to check it out and follow us on instagram, twitter, Facebook and/or YouTube (yup I just promoted myself through this blog, I mean after all my knowledge comes from FIT). As I usually say “Lo bueno se comparte” which means you share the good stuff, so go ahead help me, help you learn more about one of the most attractive and fashionable countries in the Caribbean.

infomoda boceto final1On the other hand, I’m happy to report that starting this Friday I’m the new ATS & ATF Sourcing Intern – Accessories (footwear, bags, & belts) at Ann Taylor(spoiler alert) I got it! Remember that list I gave you for phone interviews? Well this is the final result so if I were you I would follow every word on it (haha). And kid you not, today LinkedIn put this on my right hand column and I thought to myself CHECK (damn right I see myself there). Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 10.47.33 PMSo it’s safe to say I’m back on campus on track with my crazy life and by this I mean incredibly productive. This semester I am:

  1. Taking 6 classes
  2. Work at Admissions Office as student tour guide and Blogger
  3. Today became a language tutor at the amazing and (FREE for students) tutoring center (yep, I get paid).
  4. Intern two days a week
  5. Fashion Informant for InfoModa RD
  6. and a million other things like visiting Tod’s HQ, getting free massages, participating in Fashion week, interviewing next week to work at a Hanky Panky sample sale, and skype interviewing for Save the Children DR.

So good to be back and can’t wait to not have enough time to breathe (of course I’m an overachiever) because literally everything I do, I do it with passion.

unnamedCarpe Diem (because this is my last FIT semester),

Sadie

PS: By the way, just discovered you can download your resume from LinkedIn check it out here.

 

The CIC: Career and Internship Center

  • Girl: “Sooo, how many internships have you done?”
  • Me: “Um, only one. Why?”
  • Girl: “What JUST one? I’ve done six already!”

This was only sophomore year and this girl (which is almost every girl at FIT) has worked for six different companies already and counting. I suddenly freeze and my brain in matter of seconds is clouded with self-doubt, I mean what had I been doing for the past two years (studying, volunteering, working, enjoying life, traveling). Quickly, I (very much) lost interest when she started bragging about all the designers she (supposedly) met.

In your freshman year (and so forth) you will encounter this situation over and over again. The good news is that when it comes to internships it’s not about the quantity but of the quality (what you learned, how long where you there, did they slave you). To ensure that all of our students at FIT have amazing internships and career outcomes we have the Career and Internship Center. This valuable resource is located on campus in B-202 (or should I say in the Business and Liberal Arts Center) and available to the Students, Alumni and Industry.

Almost every major at FIT requires a credit-bearing internship during their AAS  which you can choose to do in your 3rd or 4th semester. You can also do more than one internship and some of them might even be payed (just remember NO free labor, no matter how bad you want to work for that company or how big that designer label is). Prior to any internship there are orientation sessions which you have to attend and you will be guided through all the steps. In a nutshell:

  1. You get assigned a counselor which works with you through self-assessment and resume development.
  2. You get access to our Online Job Bank (which has been pre-screened to ensure fair labor and +), where jobs from the fashion industry get posted directly to us before going public.
  3. You choose your top 5, do your research (hand-in-hand) with you counselor and write cover letters, thank you notes and much more.
  4. You get a call-back and have a mock interview at the CIC (you go over work etiquette and what the industry requires) and finally go out into the real world (definitely beyond 27th and 7th) and get interviewed.
  5. You get a yay or a nay, and then select who you want to work with (keeping in mind that this is a binding contract you will be making)
  6. Next semester, you have an IC class 6 times where you report in with your professor and evaluate your internship, and get tools to further develop yourself in the workplace.

The CIC, also offers our students the opportunities to assist to On-campus recruitment events (the A-building lobby is usually lined up with tables where you can see Guess, Victoria’s Secret, Ralph Lauren and +), Job and internship fairs, and Company information sessions (Macys, Kohl’s, Tommy Hilfiger and+) . Even after you graduate, alumni get Lifetime job search support and individual assistance from our career counselors.

So just remember what matters; that you get an internship where you are happy. A company that you like and admire and that values you as a human being, and prioritizes your knowledge (you are not there for fetching coffee). That girl might have done six, but I did the ONE I had always dreamed of doing. I got to work at Oscar De La Renta HQ directly with Senior Vice President Merchandising & Sales and the Senior Merchandising Manager for Childrenswear. I got to see firsthand how you start a collection, market and sell it. I could continue bragging like that girl did, but what’s the point? (you get me, it was AWESOME, every Dominican Girl in fashion’s dream). The connections I created are priceless and all I know is that if it wasn’t for FIT I would’ve never thought I could get there.

Carpe Diem,

Sadie

PS: How I wish I could find that girl and shove this pic in her face I’d take this 6 to 1, ANYDAY (booyah!)

Me and Oscar de La renta

“Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.”

 

 

Three Things I Miss About New York

It’s a dreary day here in upstate New York, rain and fog. I’m sitting on my couch working on my online class and day dreaming of the city that I will be back in oh so soon. Winter break is a lovely thing, always much needed, and always very fun. However, sometimes I feel like it goes on for too long. I get stuck in a rut, and I need to be back in the city and back in my routine. Here are three things I miss most about being in New York City and at FIT!

1. Just going for a walk

I really miss being able to just leave my dorm without a plan and go on an adventure. New York is great in that way because you don’t need a destination. Something will catch your eye, a coffee shop, a clothing store, a street performer, a park bench. The possibilites are endless! My only real option in upstate New York is going to Target and spending too much money on things I don’t necessarily need! I’m SO looking forward to walks throughout the city this spring semester!

2. My internship

I am so lucky to first off have an internship and secondly, get along so well with the designer I intern for. Everyday I go into the studio I know I’m learning something. Even if I’m running looks to a magazine office or just pulling pictures online for inspiration, I’m pushing myself and absorbing what its like to be in the industry. I’m very much looking forward to going back to my internship this semester and seeing what is has in store for me!

3. My view

This may be corny and cliche, but I miss the view from my window at Kaufman. I live on the 13th floor, which means I have a pretty nice view. The Freedom Tower stands tall directly in front of me, I can see some of the river, and thousands of buildings in between. And the sunsets – well they’re just breath taking. Sometimes when I’m stressed I just take a minute a look out my window. I’m in New York City and this is my view! I shouldn’t be complaining about much!

 

xx, Brendan