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A Boilermaker who...turned her passion into a career

Name: Irene (Jingyi) Wang Year, Major: Senior, Mass Communication Number of Internships: 3 Name of companies and job titles: Beauty and the Dirt (London)-fashion editorial intern, College Fashionista-style guru, Syndicate Media Group (New York City)-digital and media relations intern

How did she do it?

Beauty and the Dirt: Irene applied online through the Purdue Study Abroad London Internship Program website. She had to write essays about why she wanted to work in her field and what kind of position she would be interested in, as well as prepare a resume, cover letter, and recommendations. Purdue works with the companies in London to then pair students with an appropriate company. Once admitted, Irene completed online and in person training sessions.

Lesson Learned: Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities that make it easy for you to find a position.

College Fashionista: This opportunity was a result of Irene networking within Purdue. Irene was able to communicate her career goals to her contacts at Purdue, so when College Fashionista sent out a job opportunity, Irene was the first to know. After a phone interview, Irene was offered the position.

Lesson Learned: Be able to articulate your career goals to family, friends, and colleagues at Purdue. You never know who could connect you with a decision maker at one of your target companies.

Syndicate Media Group: Once again, Irene utilized networking to help her land this job. By finding a professional in the fashion field that was willing to mentor her, Irene learned that targeting specific companies and building contacts should be your first priority. Even though no jobs were posted, Irene submitted her resume and a detailed cover letter targeting four luxury fashion companies. By taking initiative and networking along the way, Irene got three interviews, three offers, and ended up choosing to work with Syndicate.

Lesson Learned: Network, network, network. Making contacts in your target industry will help you develop stronger job seeking strategies and build your presence in the field.

Her advice for other students trying to break into the field of fashion

  • Internship listings on job boards are limited. Want to target the company itself so that when you do break into the industry you will have contacts.

  • Know a lot about the company you are targeting, and be passionate about their work.

  • Utilize social media, and build a presence on LinkedIn.

  • Brand Yourself. Especially in public relations, you must be able to sell yourself if you want to convince employers that you can sell to their clients.

  • Don’t wait to get started networking-Irene began making contacts her freshman year. Professionals in her field meet many people every day, so making an impression as soon as possible is vital.

  • Get involved: Irene’s membership in Association for Women in Communications (AWC) has been a talking point with several employers.

  • Don’t get discouraged: even though Irene has had great success, she says her reply rate is only around 30%.

How the CCO has helped her professional development

Irene says the CCO has helped her learn how to present herself in a professional way, write strategically, and how to match her skill set with each job description. By utilizing CCO services Irene also learned the importance of tailoring her applications to each employer.

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