How to Get an Internship at Fashion Rocks 2007, Or Any Other Award Show For That Matter

The running theme in just about everything I say as it relates to jobs in the music industry, or an entertainment career in general, is that it's not as hard as it looks. The most difficult thing you'll have to tackle if you're going to pursue this trek is your own reticence to move forward and take a gamble - and perhaps equally as important - the necessity of working for free.

So with that in mind, let's take a look at what sort of approach might land you a plum internship gig working for something like Fashion Rocks 2007, which will air on September 7, 2007 on CBS. Now, I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that you've got very little if any experience in the music industry for this experiment. Heck, you might even live in Podunk-nowheres-ville, or even live overseas which would be a real challenge! You'll see, however, that even with these apparent limitations, landing a music industry internship really isn't that difficult. In fact, you might find that living overseas or in the middle of nowhere might even help your chances!

Okay, so this is how I would do it:

Research your butt off!

Finding your first little crumbs

Beginning with the end goal in mind, my first step would be to check out the Fashion Rocks 2007 website. If you go there, you'll notice that, at the moment at least, it's pretty much worthless. Typing "Fashion Rocks 2007" in Google turns up a mere placeholder from the 2006 show. Great. Well, actually, it's not too bad, because I want to show you how the entire process works. So, we've reached dead-end number one. Welcome to the music industry! Now what?

My thoughts at this point are: This isn't the first time they've done this show right? So let's see if there is anything we can learn about last year's show that might help us get an internship at this year's award ceremony. Let's get our search engine fingers ready. . .

Since I'm a researcher and freelance writer by trade, I have a method of sorts for locating the information I need to find. As a result, the first technique I use when conducting research either online is to start with a narrow field. I do this by choosing the most specific terms I can think of related to my question, AND by typing those words IN QUOTES within the Google search box.

Doing so, helps me stay focused on the topic, and helps to produce the most relevant leads. Now, I love Google, and I've used it for this example, but you can use any search engine you find works for you. I'll add that in my experience traveling, I sometimes find that the localized Yahoo, sites for example, sometimes produce a better range of local results, so if you're overseas and looking to intern at a specific event or company in your country, you might wish to keep this in mind.

But we're talking about Fashion Rocks here, right? And this award show is being held in the U.S. so let's take a look at what sort of results we get by typing "Fashion Rocks 2006" in quotes within Google. . .Bingo!

By keeping the search wide and NOT using quotes around our search phrase, Google gives us a whopping 2,380,000 to look through for leads. Narrowing the search down, however, by using quotes yields us a much more manageable, and relevant 841 leads to move forward. This will help tremendously when trying to land this gig in such a short period of time. After all, we're only talking about two months or less 'till Fashion Rocks launch time! Ahhhhh!

Making your own trail

Now that you've got some search results, let's take a look at a few to see where to go from here. What you'll want to do when looking through the return results is look for about five or six sites that you think might give you more information that could lead to some mention of the people and/or companies that make Fashion Rocks hum. Remember, because you used quotes, you now know you have relevant results to look. Reason being is that by using quotes you're finding those specific words together in a sequence, so even though you might not see an angle to what you're searching for when the results first pop up, the words "Fashion Rocks 2006" are in there somewhere! So look with your business hat on!

When I looked through the results, the sites listed below popped out at me immediately as good targets to further narrow my search for this internship. I have detailed below the site name and the reason why I thought it might be a good site to explore further.

The site: Fashion Rocks 2006 Blog

Why: The obvious day to day stuff about what happened

The site: Interactive Media Awards

Why: Hmm...award winners. Nice leads?!

The site: Party Line Rentals

Why: Might be a business with connections to the fest

The site: SAWF News Connect

Why: Lots of news about fashion and entertainment

The site: The Swag Time Blog

Why: Marketing departments targets. A God-send?!

Finding the nuggets

Now that you've got what seem like good sites that might help you narrow down your internship search, start looking on those pages for the names of people and companies associated with the event. And remember, we're looking for folks that work behind-the-scenes. . .while it's great that you know Kanye West was at Fashion Rocks 2006, and he looked dashing and all, you're not concerned about his suit, you want to work with the folks that worked with him, behind the scenes.

So search for the names of managers, representatives, agents, etc. Basically anyone who might work with the talent and who might be interested in having you come on board to help out with the show. Remember, internship opportunities don't purely exist with the show promoters, but with EVERYONE involved as well! You can also stretch this search out to the artist's record label, management company, booking agency, clothing representatives. . .anything really. The potential is limitless.

Think you won't find anything?

Skeptics, pay attention. For those of you leisurely strolling through these pages seemingly finding nothing worthy and ready to throw up your hands in disgust, I would recommend looking again.

Just glancing through these pages myself while writing this post I discovered tons of angles to worth pursuing if I was looking for this type of music internship. A little tip: look for the names of companies or associations that can take you to the next step in your search, and think outside the box. Who is providing services to this event? How about manufacturers, accountants, magazines, consumer products? If you're coming to this event without much experience, what you're really looking for is a leaping off point to get more experience. So if handing out water bottles to models gets you in the tent so you can network with the music industry insiders you're looking to connect with then THAT is exactly what you're looking for with this gig!!

Take for example The Swag Time Blog. Other than listing the cool s.w.a.g (stuff we all get) that award show attendees receive just for showing up, what else is there? What information exists on that page can help you get a job? Well, how about the product names of every dang thing these artists are going to get in that little freebie bag of theirs! Each one of those products is made by a company very interested in spreading their name all over the planet by giving away *for free* (notice that word there. . .you might be working for free as well for the same mission) their fancy product. AND, each one of those products is being pushed by a marketing department somewhere in the bowels of company 'X' that you could be helping out come 'game day'. What you want to do is be one of the people working to help make that happen.

Don't forget to toss away the idea of hob-knobbing with the celebrities, you want to work in music not be an idol worshiper. . .there is a huge difference. So let's get started! On the swag site, the swag is listed. . . .go dig up the company information that will help you accomplish this, and get to work!

I'll also mention that there are also several different web address for the show this year. . .why, I have no idea, but they are out there. For more info try [] and [] Alright. So you've invested some time and energy into locating the names of music business companies affiliated with Fashion Rocks. Maybe your little list contains a few of these types of firms:

record labels, band managers,booking agents, street team companies, brand ambassador firms, lighting companies, rigging companies, modeling agencies, Fortune 500 firms,

First of all, great job! Now let's think of a few ways we might get a hold of the right person at one of these companies who can help you get in the door at the event, and perhaps lead you to your first music business internship experience!

What to do with all these names?

Your next steps

If you have individual contact names: If you're fortunate to have found a direct contact, then quite simply, pick up the phone and give them a ring. Some folks you call will not want to speak with you, and others will be glad to hear from you. People in marketing/promotions tend to be a fairly talkative bunch by nature, so if you catch them at a good time, you'll probably be in good shape. A couple of pointers are worth mentioning here:

  1. Have at least a resume ready before you start making your calls, this way, you can send something off after touching base with your contact. Doing so makes this process faster, and also demonstrates your professionalism to the person you're contacting.
  2. Don't sweat a cover letter too much, I find they're fast-becoming useless for this sort of thing. If they ask for one, I would be surprised. . .if they do, however, put something short and sweet together in the body of your email to them to facilitate this request.
  3. If you're calling record companies don't call on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, these are typically the days the promotion folks are on deadline and/or in meeting and the times when they definitely don't have time to chat. Shore up your calls for later in the week.
  4. Be honest, know the label's artist roster and don't sound like too much of a fan. Music industry folks love passionate music-heads, because that is what helps sell artists and records. What they are not looking for are fans that will be too busy hanging out in the green room with the drummer and not out on the street working. Keep that in mind and you'll be in awesome shape!

If you have company names, but no individual contact names: This will be common, so don't let it freak you out. Believe me, this is where all the fun begins! You're going to need to pick up the phone for this to work as well. Please don't waste your precious time writing cover letters and sending them off in vain to the black hole of HR at these firms. If you do, I'll bet one of two things will happen.

Scenario number one: Your beautifully crafted resume will reach the HR department and after reading it Mr./Ms. anonymous HR professional will wonder. . . "hmm. . .what do I do with this?", and promptly put it aside/throw it away and all that effort will be for naught!

Scenario number two: Your beautifully crafted resume will reach the HR department and because those in HR are so insanely overworked/underpaid your resume and cover letter are never even looked at to begin with. Either way, your dead, and again, your efforts are wasted!

So please, don't send anything in until after you have picked up the phone and called to speak with someone. If that someone later suggests you send something in, then by all means rock that baby in there.

Okay, so you've got company names with no immediate contact. . .what do you do? Well, after looking up the companies phone number by either going to their corporate website, or using something like the Fortune 500 list on CNN, give 'em a ring. When you get through to the receptionist tell her that you're a student and you would like to speak with someone in marketing who might deal with interns. If they ask what this is regarding, just tell them the truth. Being a student you have an advantage over 99% of the people that call in asking to speak with someone. Typically the person answering the phone should put you through. These three things are pretty much what you should expect to hear after asking this question:

  1. "I'll put you through to marketing"
  2. "I can't put you through without a name"
  3. "You'll have to call HR/I can put you through to HR"

If you hear number one, you're gold. Make sure you have your spiel together when you get through and then run with it. By the way, I ALWAYS ask for the person's name BEFORE they transfer me to "marketing". This way, I know how to pronounce the person's FULL name when they pick up AND if I happen to get their voice mail, I can call again in a few days to follow up without having to go through the whole introduction again with the receptionist. Getting their full name will also allow you to follow up with an email later in the week as well. So, if you get number one, then you're good to go. But what if you get numbers two and three?

Dealing with objections

If fate draws you the dreaded "no name, no game" response, thank the receptionist and do some quick homework. Unfortunately some companies restrict passing you off to someone unless you know your contact's name. I find this ridiculous, but that's the way it goes. So what can you do at this point? First step? LinkedIn. Do a search for the company along with the title of the person you're looking for and viola! you're in business!

If this doesn't work, then it's back to Google! Start playing around with combinations of words that will get you the contact's name. Things like "marketing director" plus the company name would be one such example. Alternatively, you could type "Internship Coordinator" plus the company name you're ringing up. You're going to have to be creative, to pull this off, but I will say that marketing folks, more than anyone are likely to have their name on the Internet somewhere, you'll just have to track them down. If all else fails, you could call the Public Relations department. . .their contact information is almost always plastered on the website for all to see.

These techniques can be used of course before calling the first time, but I find that a lot of times, it's too damn time consuming to do upfront. Once you've got a name, pick up the phone and call again! If ugly number three rears its head, then go ahead and be put through to HR. If someone picks up (unlikely) give them your spiel. If you get voice mail, leave a message. I ALWAYS leave a message at least once. If HR doesn't call you back, don't worry about following up with another call. You've probably reached a dead-end. But, if someone does call you back, you'll be one step closer than you want to be. If nothing pans out on the HR front, I would visit my advice in response to number two. It will get you far when doing your internship search.

Trust me, this works

When I was trying to get an internship at record labels back in the day, I sent out (literally) over 100 resumes to record labels big and small. Only a few responded back to me. The majority of responses I got were thanks, but no thanks letters from HR departments. The phone calls I received were from the Promotion Directors at the labels responsible for interns. Out of the two or three calls I received, one landed me a gig with Virgin Records. 100+ resumes and 2-3 calls=1 internship. That's a lot of work, and way too much time on paper. The technology you have at your disposal for networking and landing the music industry internship of your dreams is remarkable. Put it to use, pick up the phone and get started. That volunteer or internship experience at Fashion Rocks 2007 awaits!!

If you think I've given a few good tips here, email me me at for my list of "The 10 best music business articles you cant stand to live without!" It will send your mind a flow with new ideas to get a job in the music industry! In minutes you'll have ideas that you can put in motion tomorrow to get started on your dream of a career in the entertainment industry. I love being a teacher, let me share my insight with you today.

Good luck, I'll see you at the meet and greet! TM


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