Seeing your family and friends over winter break in college is both the best and the most stressful time. You get asked day after day what your plans for summer will be. It’s draining, to say the least. After winter break of my sophomore year, I realized I needed to start making a plan for the summer. I could never answer the question, “So, what are your plans?” because I had absolutely no idea.
January rolls around and I am in full find-a-summer-internship mode.
I ask for advice from everyone I know. Interning in the fashion industry would be a dream, but have absolutely no fashion experience on my resume. I am obsessed with fashion and have been all of my life. But I am in no fashion clubs and have never worked in retail. What I do have is a Fashion and Retail Studies Minor and a boyfriend with killer videography skills. My boyfriend, who already has an internship and a co-op under his belt, brainstorms with me day after day on how to make me, someone with little fashion experience, stand out in a pile of qualified resumes.
We decide to do something that nobody, especially in my field, has done:
A virtual cover letter.
What is a virtual cover letter you might ask? Basically what I did was create a video talking about my passion for fashion, my skills and why I am qualified for the position. I thought that doing this would at least help the recruiter put a face to my name and show them that I was very serious about the internship. I applied to 15 positions and made video cover letters for every single one. My boyfriend and I spent countless hours not only recording the videos, but preparing for them, editing them and finding the right background music.
After about a month, I finally had something that would make my resume stand out.
One of the companies I made a virtual cover letter for was Kleinfeld Bridal, home of the TLC hit TV show Say Yes to the Dress. I never thought I would hear back. I sent my cover letter, resume and a beautifully crafted email (if I do say so myself) to the internship coordinator and director of sales.
Only 3 days went by before I was jumping for joy and screaming at the top of my lungs in my friend’s living room.
Kleinfeld had emailed me back.
Not only was it an email, but an invitation to fly to New York for an interview.
In the email, the director of sales told me she loved my virtual cover letter, which I believe to this day is one of the main reasons I got the job.
Fast forward two and a half weeks and I was on a plane to NYC. I rehearsed interview question after interview question just hoping I wouldn’t lose my cool. I spent two hours prior to the interview preparing in a coffee shop nearby and arrived 10 minutes early. Walking into Kleinfeld felt like a fairy tale. I have watched Say Yes to The Dress for basically my whole life and always imagined going to Kleinfeld for my wedding dress. I never imagined walking in Kleinfeld for any other reason.
The interview lasted for around 45 minutes. I was no nervous beforehand but sitting with the internship coordinator and talking with her felt so natural.
She was so sweet to me and had such a soothing disposition. The coordinator explained what I would be doing as a consultant intern and why past interns loved the job so much. She said that Kleinfeld was a home away from home for her. Furthermore, she explained the days would be long and the job definitely is not a walk in the park, but the relationships you form with your co-workers and the brides make it all worth it. My nerves quickly subsided.
A week after my interview I got the email that I was invited to intern at Kleinfeld over the summer. If you should take any advice from my experience, it should be this: Do not let your lack of experience get in the way of your dream job. If you are truly passionate about something, which for me is fashion, show that to recruiters however you can. For me, it was making a virtual cover letter, but for you it might be something different. If you are determined enough, you will find a way, I promise.