There were three things I wanted to do in 2019.
- Survive my freshman year at university,
- Gain admission into my dream fashion college (in addition to my university degree), and
- Land an internship.
Up until the end of my first semester of university, I had checked the first two. It was during the holiday break in between semesters that I felt like I had solidly adapted to university life and was ready for the third. And so, on a whim, I applied to SENSO - a leading Australian fashion label specialising in footwear. The Sydney head-office position had everything on my wish-list for my first potential internship. I was on the hunt for something multifaceted, an internship that allowed me to be a part of various aspects of a fashion organisation. After all, this opportunity could lead to my very first internship.
Needless to say, I didn’t expect to get a return email or a call-back. Imagine my shock and excitement when I received an email asking if I could do a trial day for the company. I was beyond ecstatic and I felt like I had broken through the ‘Catch 22' of needing previous internship experience to land an internship. I was truly over the moon!
Before this point, I had never heard of a trial day. I had assumed that the standard recruitment procedure went like this: apply, email response, organise interview date, interview, wait for call-back, congrats you’re an intern! Confused, I shot Lauren an email asking for tips to best prepare myself for this seemingly ambiguous trial day. I wrote down the three important takeaways from her reply:
- Research as much as you can about the company, their story and all their social media channels. Try to get to know them as much as you can from the brand image they project to the public.
- Know your connections. I was fortunate that one of the employees there and I shared a mutual acquaintance. Just browsing through LinkedIn can be helpful to get a general feel of who your future co-workers may be (and possibly put a face to the name!)
- Take down notes. Bring a pen and a notepad. For most people remembering every single detail, especially at a new workplace, is not an easy feat.
I quickly learnt that instead of the usual sit-down interview style many companies tend to favour, a trial day was a practical and hands-on version of it. They are seeing if you can integrate into the organisation and be a responsible team player in real life. I believe they tap into the philosophy of ‘actions over words’.
Of course I was nervous. But I was so lucky to have the support of fellow colleagues, family, friends and trainers — and of course the invaluable tips and tricks one could only learn from reading and watching Intern Queen!
Just a day later, I was given the great news that I was successful and was ready to start my position as an intern right away!
Here are a few of the things that I learnt from the Intern Queen that I made sure to do on my trial day — and ultimately land the internship!
- Be on time and organized. Being late is never a good first impression. Coordination of travel time is extremely important as you don’t want to be frazzled before you start your trial day. If you choose to drive, make sure to account for heavy traffic especially in the early mornings. If you choose to use public transport, make sure your itinerary is clear and also account for potential late buses and trains. Worst-case travel scenarios can unfortunately turn into reality! I also made sure that I had enough sleep the night before so that I can arrive at the office 100% ready and full of energy.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. One of the most important things I learnt from watching Intern Queen videos and reading blog posts is that you should never shy away from asking questions during natural breaks, no matter how trivial they may seem. During my trial day, I had a more experienced intern guide me through the day’s activities. I made sure to clarify any details that I weren’t certain about, and she happily answered (and demonstrated) all the questions I asked her.
- Introduce yourself to everybody you meet. This is a great way to connect with the employees and to show that you are not only interested in the company, but also in the lovely people who work at the company! If possible (and during appropriate times such as breaks), get to know who’s working with you - after all, you’ll probably be spending the next few months with them!
- Show your passion. I was lucky to get such an opportunity and wanted to showcase my passion for the fashion industry and the company as best as possible. Say yes to everything with a genuine smile and a can-do attitude. The trial day was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had and I learnt so much from just being there and helping out as much as I could.
- Send a thank-you email. Not even 24 hours had passed after I sent a thank-you email when I got a confirmation for my internship position!
Intern Queen has significantly helped and prepared me for my very first internship. I spent countless hours watching YouTube videos and reading the blog here to glean as much information as humanly possible. It’s incredible to see how practical and transferable these tips are, and I can confidently say that I felt so much more ready with such knowledge at hand.
About the Author
Deborah Davis is a freshman at the University of Sydney studying marketing and communications. Also a fashion business student at FBI Fashion College, she is a proud Aussie and a passionate classical pianist. You can catch her on Instagram here: @deboraholiviax