Trudging your weary way toward finding the right job or internship in New York can be a handful. For me, knowing and preparing for the various job-search steps kept me organized, saved me a ton of time, and eventually helped me secure my retail internship at Topshop.
1. Reflect Ask yourself: What kind of brand would you want to work for? How many hours can you put in and how much time does that leave for classes? Asking these questions and knowing when you’re available to intern is a crucial starting-step in deciding where you’ll apply. (It also saves the lost hours of creating all those documents and sending all those emails for a position you can’t take!)
2. Learn about the brands Create a list of brands you’d want to work for by studying what the company stands for and examining its history. I believe you can better promote a product or service if you yourself would relate or make use of it. Learning about the environment of the establishment you’re going to work for is important. Also, make a list of locations that would be easy for you to get to when you’d need to be there.
3. Action time Pretty much every company or brand has a section on their website—you might have to scroll down to the end of the page—which says “careers.” Under this section, you’ll find all the information and links for applying for positions, with full steps and instructions. There are often a variety of options available for both corporate and retail fields.
4. Click submit Most brands have an array of questions and an application you’re required to complete online. It can be a long process, but it’s totally worth it as the company uses your answers to decide if you meet the parameters for the position. After evaluating and answering all the questions and attaching your resume, your next step should be hitting that “save and submit” button.
5. The scary (sneaky?) wait Once you submit an application, you now have to be patient. This is when the company is evaluating candidates and looking to shortlist their in-person interviews. During your waiting time … keep applying elsewhere. You never know when you’re going to get a response, so keep backup options on hand.
6. Boom! The wait is over Finally, you’re selected! You’ve been asked to come down for an interview and now you have to prepare for it. It may sound nerve-racking to think about what questions you want to ask and to prepare for questions your interviewer may ask you. But luckily, you’ve already done research about the brand and become familiar with their website!
7. Have a plan for “interview day” Today is the day, and you can prepare to execute it perfectly:
- Plan your outfit the night before. Dress professionally, but don't forget to demonstrate your style and stand out. (Tip: I carry my interview-shirt in my bag and change clothes at a Starbucks nearby—this way, I don't have to worry about the weather or any mishaps affecting my outfit!
- If it’s a morning interview, wake up at least two hours before you’ll depart from home. You don’t want to look drowsy on your big day.
- Eat right and stay hydrated leading up to your interview.
8. Follow up Following up over email with the person/people you met on your interview is very important. The company wants to hire you, but they’re also keen to know you really want the job. So, this is your time to thank them and let them know why you fit the role. Remind them of your skills and end the email on a positive note.
9. Be an OWL, but not a fretful one You have done everything—researched, applied, interviewed, followed up. Now you need to be patient and watch for that phone call, email, or letter. What I mean by this is to be alert, not obsessed. Don't click refresh over and over, don’t stare at your phone waiting for it to ring. Just keep up with the notifications.
10. Whether you “did” or “didn’t” … If you made the cut and got the job, congratulations! You bet a million students would kill for that job. (No, really—this is New York City.) But there isn’t a single reason to frown if you did not get through this time. You’re living in New York City, which is filled with opportunity. There are new openings every single day. Keep at it! And remember, passion beats the GPA.
About the Author Raksha Murkute is a junior at LIM College, currently pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration in Fashion Merchandising. An international student from India, she is also a student worker in the Office of Marketing & Communications.