INTERNSHIPS IN TIME OF COVID
The pandemic has affected everyone around the world, but what is happening to all these young creatives and graduates trying to make their way into the real world. Talking to Laura Clemente (@laura_clemente), an Advertising and Public Relations graduate starting an internship during Covid times, has given us some answers about it.
What did you study and how did you get this internship during the pandemic?
I studied Advertising and Public Relations in UVIc a university in Spain and on my third year of the degree I did an erasmus on the Solent University in Southampton where I had the chance to do some fashion promotion subjects.
I got an internship at Elena Hernández Comunicación because I really wanted to go to a fashion agency and I tried sending my CV to multiple ones located in Barcelona which was near where I lived but it was really difficult to find one due to the covid-19 situation so I decided to try and send it to some agencies in Madrid. I actually almost didn’t send it to the agency I’m in right now because I thought there wouldn’t be a chance that such an important agency would take me as an intern but then my mum told to try it out cause I didn’t miss a thing just to try so I did and I got in!!
Do you think that without the help of your university you would’ve found an internship in this situation?
I definitely think that I wouldn’t. Agencies due to the current situation are looking for cheap alternatives to have their interns and that they don’t cost them money because most of them are going through a very difficult financial time and are trying to recover and also because of the limited number of people they can have on the office. I think that now finding an internship is one of the hardest things to find.
How has it affected your experience and the expectations you might of had before starting?
The experience at the agency is very different, not only because of the daily use of the masks but also because of the activities we carry out. For example, press days are normally mass events to present the new collections of our brands, but now as there is a restricted number of people who can meet in the same place, we have to do personalized press days person by person and for this reason they have a much longer duration. There is also the fact that we cannot hold events or attend fashion weeks among many other activities that have changed the day to day of the agency.
Do you think COVID has changed the industry for the people graduating now?
In my opinion, definitely one of the groups that I think has affected the most is the people who are graduating now because there are many fewer workplaces and it is more difficult to find internships to start introducing yourself to the world of work.
Obviously, doing everything online the chances of networking have changed, what do you think someone starting now can do to try and create a net of contacts?
Having contacts especially in the world of fashion is very important, and as you say now that human contact due to the use of masks and the increase in online work has affected relationships, I believe that one of the best way to create contacts is investigating in social networks and online who are the people that move the sector and that you would be interested in having as contacts and then looking for other people related to them who are easier to contact and get their emails (in social networks or in the same magazine they can find many mails). Once obtained I would send my work to them in a creative way to attract their attention and I would follow them everywhere to show my interest. In other words, new communication channels must be sought to help generate this database, so you must be able to stand out and be present.
What has this internship taught you?
The internships have taught me lots of things but mostly what the work in this industry is really like and all the people that take part on every process of the fashion industry. Especially, the fashion and communication world is unpredictable, a bit of a chaos sometimes and it requires a lot of time and dedication but it is worth it because it is an exciting and very passionate world where you meet many incredibly talented people.
You are lucky that your internship is in person, do you think it would have been the sane if you had to do it remotely? Would you have learned the same?
If my practices had been online, it would have been a totally different experience and I would not have had the pleasure of experiencing fashion in the first person and when you really live it, it is physically watching people work, touching the materials, meeting people from the industry and learning new things. I think that this job online looses all its charm and what makes it so interesting for me.
What advice would you give to someone that is looking for an internship right now or is about to start one?
My advice would be to create a good portfolio and a good resume and send a lot of emails to all the agencies that interest you and in which you would like to work in the future. Also in the mail I would emphasize what catches your attention and what you like the most about each personalized agency so that they see that you have been interested in them and not that you have only made a mailing and you are sending it to everyone. I would also recommend as I said before: you must be present, they have to remember you and see that you really have an interest in them. How? Well, also sending them messages on social networks and on the sites where the agency appears to be present everywhere they are.