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If The Devil Wears Prada is your go-to movie and the pages of Vogue are your fashion bible, then you’re probably in search of how to bag a life-changing internship at one of the top fashion magazines in the world.
And if you are, you’re in luck!
We know how tricky it can be to break through into the fashion world, which is why we’ve devised this useful guide on how you can get one foot in the door at Vogue with a work placement.
Here’s how to get an internship at Vogue magazine.
1. Know the basics
Before you even type up your cover letter (we’ll get to that later), you should first identify whether you’ve got what it takes.
That begins with making sure you’re not a fashion victim like Andrea Sachs was at the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada – this is real life and, sadly, the slightest faux pas won’t get you any second chances in the cut-throat industry that is fashion.
Can you tell your Michael Costellos from your Olivier Rousteings? Do you know who Mario Testino and Annie Leibovitz are? If not, you better get studying and learn all the fashion lingo so you can effortlessly blend in at Condé Nast.
You also need to determine whether you can really commit yourself to four weeks of unpaid work. Although you can request for a shorter internship, it’s highly advised that you get as much work experience as possible at the iconic magazine.
You’ll move around departments and you’ll get to learn about all aspects of the magazine’s production from content creation to fashion styling and shooting, and design to even the corporate side of things. This will essentially help you to identify what career path you truly want to follow.
2. Focus on your CV and cover letter
Your CV is your most important marketing tool in the application process. It’s the first chance to showcase your personality, highlight your skills and share your passion for the industry and organisation. In other words, it’s your chance to stand out from the crowd and get a step closer to your dreams.
It’s important that you tailor your CV to the position that you’re applying for. Make sure you naturally incorporate all the right keywords and use other work experience opportunities you’ve had to show what you can bring to the table. (If you haven’t had any previous internships, it’s a good idea to get some ASAP, even if it’s at your local radio station or newspaper.)
Then, you need to be certain that your cover letter is inviting and captivating – don’t simply copy a template that you’ve found online, because it will only wind up in a Vogue recruiter’s bin. And, whatever you do, don’t ramble on about your life story!
3. Submit your application
Once you’ve perfected your CV and cover letter, it’s time to hit ‘Send’ and fire off your application. But before you do that, do some research and locate the name and email address of the hiring manager. For example, if you want to work in the beauty department in the UK, you should address your application to the beauty editor, Lisa Niven. You can find her details either on LinkedIn or in the print publication.
Be sure to attach your CV in PDF format and to add any related work samples or a link to a current blog that you’re working on. And don’t forget to leave a little comment on a piece of editorial that inspired you to show that you’re a true fan. For example, before you sign off, you could say something like: ‘PS: I found the recent piece on recycled fashion really inspiring. It made me pay attention to what fabrics I’m purchasing and, ultimately, made me more aware of protecting our environment.’
Condé Nast also advises that you should apply at least six months before the time that you would like to complete your placement to ensure that there is space for you. As you can imagine, their diaries get pretty full well in advance.
It’s also important to note that, from 2013, the unpaid internship programme for Vogue USA is no longer in effect. But that shouldn’t dishearten you from contacting the magazine. You could always follow the same process and ask to shadow an employee for a week.
4. Ace the interview
The interview process for an intern position at the Vogue House is no different than anywhere else. You’ll be asked a series of common interview questions, like ‘tell me about yourself’, along with what you do at university and how you spend your free time.
You’ll also be asked about what you want to gain from the internship, so it’s important to have a killer answer already prepared. And don’t forget to ask questions at the end! After all, it’s always a good idea to find out how many interns return to the publication as full-time employees.
You’ll also need to put a lot of thought into what you wear. You’ll want to show your style and your knowledge of the latest trends, while also looking professional. So, if sheer tops are in this season, they’re probably best left for your night out on the town.
If you really want to stand out, you can send a ’thank you’ note to your interviewer and reiterate your interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity and working at your dream publication. That said, remember not to come off as pushy!
5. Get an offer
If you managed to impress the interviewing panel, you should receive an offer within two weeks with information on your start date, working hours and information on your mentor.
As an intern, you’ll shadow an experienced member of the team and you’ll be expected to complete any tasks given to you. This is where you can truly shine and show your real initiative. Think about pitching assignments that you’d like to work on and prove your worth during your time at Vogue.
If you sadly didn’t get an offer this time around, don’t give up! There’s nothing stopping you from applying in a year’s time or to other departments.
In the meantime, you could always complete in the Vogue Talent Contest which will give you a chance to be featured on the glossy pages of the magazine. What’s more, if you’re a runner-up, you’ll get to visit the Vogue House and meet the editors, which can get you one step closer to bagging an internship!
Although it can be tough to get an internship with Vogue magazine, you shouldn’t be discouraged! You just need to be determined and passionate, and be able to provide why you truly deserve a temporary spot on the Condé Nast team – and don’t let your nerves get the better of you!
Have you applied for an internship at Vogue before? Were you successful? Join the conversation down below and share your stories and experiences with us!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 30 July 2014.