|  July 6, 2015

The scoop: brand ambassador programs and remote internships

This post is part of a two-part series written by my wonderful former intern Kat. I remember coming across Kat’s resume when I was screening resumes for our team’s intern a few years ago. While she was only a sophomore, she already had two fashion-related experiences on her resume: a winter externship at a fashion e-commerce company and “style guru” role at CollegeFashionista. I loved that her resume showed a demonstrated interest in the industry and immediately popped her resume in the yes pile.

Although these two experiences weren’t traditional summer internships they still made a really positive impression.  If you’re looking for ways to gain relevant experience for your resume (and summer internships are off the table or not in season) brand ambassador programs and remote internships are amazing options.

Today Kat’s post is about her experience with these types of roles and the benefits. Later in the week I will post part two about how to actually land one of these roles. Enjoy!

The word “internship” is usually prefaced with “summer” and reminds us of weeks spent in big cities that serve as learning experiences of what it’s like to work in the real world.

However, in the past few years as technology has been essentially taking over, the face of internships has been changing. Many companies have rolled out remote internships and brand ambassador programs for college students to participate in.

I was fortunate enough to participate in CollegeFashionista’s program as a “Style Guru” during my sophomore year and it was an incredible experience. As an individual who has always been incredibly passionate about the fashion industry, interning for CollegeFashionista was a fun and innovative way for me to gain experience in the field and set me up for success when applying to internships that summer.

Whether it’s through a company like CollegeFashionista or another program, below are a few ways that participating in a non-traditional internship will benefit you!

1. Relevant experience (with flexibility)

Deciding to take on an internship during the school year when you have classes, exams and extracurriculars to juggle may seem daunting. However, these types of internships aren’t structured the same as summer internships and allow you to work around your schedule as long as you meet the deadlines.

CollegeFashionista was the right fit for me because it had the same structure and deadlines as a traditional corporate intern program, while allowing for flexibility and autonomy over my weekly posts.

2. Valuable connections

Every internship experience opens up new professional doors. Even when you are not working in the same office as your manager or alongside other interns, a remote internship will increase the number of professional ties you have.

Companies value their ambassador programs and remote interns and if you do a good job for them, the people you’ve worked for will go to bat for you in the future.

These new colleagues can also be a great source of professional advice so don’t be afraid to ask for it. This not only shows them how dedicated you are but also that you’re eager to learn and grow.

3. Marketable skills

Before interning at CollegeFashionista I did not have much experience with Photoshop, fashion journalism or photography. Having to quickly become skilled at each of those was a challenge, but one that was fun to rise to.

Each one of my posts for CollegeFashionista was better than the next, and I eventually became comfortable with trying out new Photo editing applications and spent time reading articles in Vogue, the New York Times fashion section, and other magazines to research trends and industry news.

Like every intern experience, what you put into it is what you’ll get out of it. Becoming proficient at Photoshop allowed me to utilize it in all of my future internships, and even some class projects!

4. Industry exposure

When you’re passionate about a specific industry the toughest step is  getting your foot in the door. We can all relate to the “needing experience to get a job and needing a job to get experience” dilemma.

CollegeFashionista was a fun way for me to gain initial experience in an industry that is traditionally very difficult to break into.

5. Great resume builder

Last but not least, I got to add this experience to my resume. Remote internships and ambassador programs are great to have on your resume as you apply for the more traditional summer internship programs.

After landing my summer internship, my manager told me that she remembered CollegeFashionista standing out because it was so unique and showed that I truly had a passion for the industry.

Sold on remote internships and ambassador programs? Stay tuned for part 2 coming later this week!

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