BA Fashion Journalism graduate, Emilie Hill, recently launched a new platform providing guidance and advice to students about interning. Drawing from her experience working as Editorial Magazine Apprentice at The Telegraph, her platform, That Intern, offers support to help students develop their professional skills and confidence. Emilie has previously worked for The Times, ITV Entertainment, and many other renowned companies. We caught up with her to find out more about how she is helping others in the world of interning, and to gain some top tips on finding work experience at this difficult time.
What were your motives for starting That Intern, and how has it evolved since its conception?
I always wanted to create a helpful platform to help others starting out, back when I was interning myself, but thought no one would take it seriously. I could see that so many of my peers were struggling to gain the internships or relevant experiences they wanted, as did I, but when I started interning properly, I wanted to share not only how to apply successfully, but how to apply yourself in the duration of a placement - applying is not the only aspect to interning.
So That Intern is a free weekly newsletter covering everything the interning world involves, from applying, to how to solve tricky work related situations, to even what to do when you don’t hear back from an application to what to put in your bag on your first day. It’s all there.
I am so happy to hear it’s helping many - that’s all I want! I often get queries through the Instagram account with followers asking questions and I am always happy to respond, and even offer to email for any lengthy answers! Interning shouldn’t be done alone; it can be tough, so I think sharing is beneficial.
Tell us about your experience so far at The Telegraph, and as an Editorial Magazine Apprentice.
My first experience with The Telegraph was as an intern when I first started studying at LCF. I managed to find some contacts from the fashion team using Fashion Monitor, and really, the rest is history. I returned to the team again when I could during the holidays and was kindly asked to return as a freelancer in the summer of last year, just after graduating. Soon enough, it was Christmas and the team told me about a job opening as an Editorial Magazine Apprentice, and I had to take it!
Of course, I was still entered in the interviewing process, alongside other candidates and I was offered the job - the best Christmas present I’d say! So in fact I have only been in this job for a few months starting in January this year, and now mixed with lockdown, has already been such a learning experience. Knowing to split your time is so important and especially because I also have to pass journalism exams to gain a qualification at the end of this two year contract, time management is essential.
What are your comments on the current Internship market?
Interning is a saturated market and fierce when it comes to fashion. Not only are you competing with others on your course for example, but everyone else is after the same place from other universities in the country, and at times from abroad too. Therefore, I think it is so important to ensure your portfolio and CV are not only strong, but the best you can offer.
I always say, make an action plan. Create a list of the companies you would love to work for, write down why and go for it. Create a bespoke cover letter for each and do some research to find the appropriate contacts. That’s what I did and I do think it paid off when I look back to reflect on how much I achieved whilst studying. I’m not trying to boast, I am trying to help. And you can do the same.
From my experience in a bigger firm, I would say there is somewhat of a higher probability of job security, as they can take on such a crisis as the pandemic we are experiencing today. I’ve been fortunate as I appreciate this is not always the case.
Do you have any top tips to share?
So many interns have asked me what to do whilst in lockdown and I would say this ‘action plan’ is a great start. Have a social media clear-out and get ready for any interviews that come your way when companies start hiring again. It’ll be worth it.
Your social media needs to be appropriate (number of followers does not matter) and you need to know what you want and not be afraid to go for it.
The shorter internships could be just as beneficial so don't be flippant; every contact is valuable as you never know who they know, and so on. The aim is to get on as many people’s radars as possible, because the industry is small! So making a good impression, no matter how small it seems, can result in eventually being head-hunted for a bigger role in the future.
I would say for those just starting out at an internship level, approaching smaller companies is somewhat more successful. I do feel the likelihood is: the smaller the company, the more responsibility they give to any one member of the team. This ultimately allows someone new to the working world to grow, but again it all depends on the company, and any experience is experience.
What are your plans for after the apprenticeship?
I am hoping to stay on at The Telegraph if the opportunity arises. I have loved the company for such a long time - it was my top company on my own action plan!
Graduating seems a lifetime ago. Since moving to a wider team of the magazines department within the company and since graduating, it has definitely made me realise my interest in interiors. I have always loved it just as much as fashion, and because the team there are so welcoming and encouraging, I have had the opportunities to branch out and delve into it.
Although a specialism is good to have in journalism, to make you stand out a little more, I would say don’t be afraid to try out new areas, especially when first starting out. You can never stop learning!