Ahh, the power of networking. A cliche yes, but a very true cliche. I owe a lot to this mighty force for helping me find my internship. Let me tell you my story….
As soon as I saw that Limited Brands, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, posted their summer internship opportunities, I immediately applied (this was in October). However, I was incredibly discouraged; the application asked for very general information. I’m talking about your name, your references, and your previous jobs. That was it. There was nothing to make an applicant stand out. To say the least, I panicked that I would never hear anything.
A few months go by….nothing. My roommate told me to at least wait until February/March so companies could turn in their taxes and determine how much money would be available to fund interns. I was not happy to hear her answer. I even reached out to my store manager and asked if she could speak to our District Manager. I gave him my resume, references, and cover letter. Nothing. Two years ago, I met a woman who worked for corporate. I reached out to her by email and by snail mail. I heard nothing from her either. I was incredibly discouraged.
Now, if you know me, you would know that I am a headstrong person. When there is something that I’m deeply passionate about and desire, I will figure out how to earn it. So, in December, I turned to LinkedIn to see if I had any, any, connections with someone at corporate VS. After scrolling through countless names, I struck gold. Low and behold I had a 2nd connection. It turned out that my brother and his girlfriend were connected to a woman they both went to college with (we’ll call her Dana). I immediately contacted my brother, Erik, asking if he knew Dana and if they were on good terms. On December 17, he sent her a message. Nothing. I couldn’t believe it. My brother’s girlfriend attempted to help me as well. Nothing. I could not believe that everything I tried was not good enough.
Finally, at my wits end, I took matters into my own hands. I emailed Dana myself on January 5. A few weeks later, January 17, Dana emailed me! My heart fluttered! A few emails were exchanged, and I was left discouraged again. I hung my head and decided it was no longer worth the effort.
Then something happened on the very next day that would radically change my internship hunt.
January 18. I received an email from another woman at VS corporate requesting my resume as Dana passed my name along to her. Brief pause. Minor freak out. Did she really just ask for my resume? Within that week, I found out that my mother received the contact information for the woman in charge of the internship program with Limited Brands. I emailed her on January 27.
An eight day wait was all it took for me to be asked for a phone interview with Victoria’s Secret. On February 14, I had my interview. I felt incredibly relaxed and was humbled to be speaking to a real merchant at VS! Next day, I receive another email requesting an in-person interview. At this point, I was in utter disbelief. And then I proceeded to panic again; they wanted me to fly out on February 22, a mere week’s notice. However, I waited until the following Monday to determine if I needed to book a flight. The company booked it all for me, I just had to get my shifts covered at work. Easy.
So I drove up to Kansas City on February 20 to prepare for my flight. Why did I go two days early? Well, Missouri was expecting a huge snow storm to blow through and I wanted to make sure I was safely in KC to ensure that I would not miss my flight. Then, my flight to Columbus was canceled!! I immediately contacted Victoria’s Secret to notify them. Fortunately, they canceled all interviews and rescheduled them for the following week.
Finally, on March 1, I flew out to Columbus for my interview (which is another story in itself). In the wee hours in the morning of March 2, the subject line of my latest email read: “Congratulations from Limited Brands!”
Taking a line or two from Sally Fields, “You like me. You really, really like me!”
And that was it. I accepted the position immediately. I quickly filled out my paperwork. I had secured my dream internship by way of hard work and determination. And the rest, as you say it, is history.