Internships are a hot topic lately: It’s summer, which means hordes of college students (like you perhaps) and recent graduates are embarking on new internships–but also, the legality of unpaid internships has come to a head with a recent lawsuit. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, a federal judge in New York ruled that unpaid interns in two production crews, including one from Black Swan, were entitled to payment, and that by not paying them, Fox Searchlight had been violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. While the case did not specifically involve the fashion industry, its implications do. Could unpaid internships become illegal across all industries? It’s possible.
Internships are considered an important and necessary stepping stone to entering the job market–especially in the fashion industry. The hope is, generally, that an internship will eventually turn into a job. (At least that’s what you’re telling your parents, isn’t it?)
Or maybe they’re a useless waste of time and money.
The Atlantic recently found that, based on multiple studies, people who take on unpaid internships while in college, are not generally more likely to graduate with a job than people who don’t intern at all. People with paid internships, however, were quite a bit more likely to graduate with a job.
Of course, the fashion industry is an exception to most rules. For one, paid internships are almost non-existent in fashion. And second, we would be really surprised if many people landed jobs in fashion without interning first. (Unless the nepotism is worse than we thought.)
Anyway, I don’t think I know anyone in my age group who currently works in fashion and did not intern first. And a lot of those people, myself included, landed jobs at the very places they interned. This obviously doesn’t happen to everyone. It’s a mix of timing, having the right skills, and, well, being a good intern. So we thought we’d pick the brains of some of the people we know who did it to assemble some tips to turning your internship into a job. Read on.