By Megan Venere
Job hunting is a stressful and crazy time for all graduating seniors. With the economy slowly building itself back up, it’s still hard to find entry level positions after graduation. Many graduates are turning to interning after graduation until they find full-time employment. Liza Garrin, an FIT alumna, graduated last year and started an internship at Carole Hochman Design Group, which eventually turned into her full-time position there as a Sales Assistant.
A Carole Hochman pajama set, photo courtesy of Carole Hochman
Megan Venere: How did you get your internship at Carole Hochman?
Liza Garrin: The Human Resources manager from Carole Hochman came to lecture in my internship class. When she spoke about the company culture and the impressive portfolio of luxury brands offered at Carole Hochman, I knew I wanted to work there. I immediately asked my professor for the Human Resources manager’s contact information. I emailed her the next day and initially asked if she had any entry-level positions available. At the time she only had a paid internship position. She then asked me to come in for an interview and mentioned that they are known for hiring interns.
MV: What was the job market like last year when you graduated? Were there jobs available to new graduates?
LG: The job market was not the best in 2012. By the time April came around, I had applied to over 30 jobs and only received one call for an interview. When I submitted my resume online it basically felt like I was sending it down a black hole. It was frustrating but I wasn’t going to give up. I continued to reach out to all of my industry contacts, go to every career fair and networking event at school, and kept an open mind.
MV: How did you approach obtaining a full time position at Carole Hochman?
LG: When I started interning at Carole Hochman I made sure to prove that I was reliable and hardworking. I also scheduled monthly touch base meetings with my current bosses and Human Resources Manager to discuss my progress. The touch base meetings were definitely helpful for me because I had the opportunity to receive constructive criticism. It also showed them that I was committed and interested in a future at the company.
MV: How did your intern duties differ from what you currently do now in your full time position? Were you given more responsibilities being a college graduate?
LG: When I started interning at Carole Hochman, I was never treated like a typical intern; no coffee runs for me! I was immediately welcomed on to the team and given the same responsibilities as a sales assistant. Now that I am a full-time employee, I am responsible for a lot of the same things, but on a more serious level.
MV: Would you advise graduates to look for internships along with entry level positions?
LG: If you are currently having trouble with your job search I would definitely recommend searching for internships (some are paid!) along with entry level positions. If you end up interning at a company you love, you never know where the internship could lead.
MV: What were some positives and negatives about your experience interning after graduation?
LG: When I first started interning at Carole Hochman there was a period where I was unsure if I was going to be hired. But ultimately, the phrase is true, good things come to those who wait (and of course to those who work hard). On the positive side, I had the chance to learn a ton before getting hired. Therefore, it allowed me to get familiar and comfortable with all of the responsibilities that were expected from a full time employee. For me, interning before getting hired was similar to a mini training program.
MV: Looking back on the past year, do you think you made the right choice?
LG: Yes, definitely. My internship at Carole Hochman was one of the best learning experiences I had had throughout my four years of interning. I am so happy and lucky to work at such a wonderful company. Everything happens for a reason, right?