What a Skincare Internship is Really Like: 10 Lessons I Learned at Romer

Have you been searching for a skincare internship, but aren’t quite sure where to find one? Welcome to the club. I’m a current junior at Georgetown University studying International Politics, but my true passion lies in social media and skincare. Because my program isn’t exactly set up for helping me find positions in social media, I had to carve my own path.

This summer, I landed an internship at Romer Skincare, a recently launched skincare company based in Chicago. Founded on the principle that simple is best, they offer a three-step regimen that meets all your skin’s needs. With clean ingredients, sustainable practices and quality results, the skincare nerd in me alone was ecstatic to be working there. You can read more about the product line here.

But, this blog post is more about internships in the skincare industry. So, in this article I’ll be sharing how I found this position, what the application process was like, and what I have done during my internship!

How I Found My Skincare Internship

One of the first questions I encountered was how to actually find an internship. Using my school’s internal career center jobs site didn’t help much. Georgetown students tend to want positions in research and government – not so much social media.

Googling “social media skincare internships” helped start me down the right track, but I found my internship by using Chegg. Their website is easy to search, and I could even select remote (since I wouldn’t be able to travel to an internship.

Application Process

I know for many people, the job application process can be quite nerve-wracking. I have personally never had a problem with it, but that’s likely because I have had many opportunities to practice interviewing over the years.

After submitting my resume & a cover letter, I received an email about setting up a phone call. The phone interview lasted about 30 minutes, and at the end I was offered the internship. This is not the norm – most places take time to consider and interview other applicants. However, Romer had a sort of rolling internship application until all needed positions were filled; additionally, my experience happened to be exactly what they were looking for.

You may be wondering what experience I talked about, as this was my first official job/internship in the social media industry. I’ll get into this more in a later section, but for now I’ll tell you: there isn’t one way to define experience.

My Responsibilities & My Experience With my Skincare Internship

At Romer, I’ve done a multitude of things. I’ve created content for the Instagram feed, worked on social media engagement, written copy, managed responding to Instagram DMs, evaluated & updated our influencer marketing strategy and researched retail options. More recently, my responsibilities have refined into two main areas: social media management for Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as assisting with influencer marketing strategy.

This internship has given me an amazing opportunity to learn about social media firsthand. Because of the small nature of the company, I’ve worked very closely with the founder, Lauren, and as such had a chance to learn about what it takes to build a successful company firsthand. I’ve also gotten a lot of autonomy within my internship, which has helped me grow my social media skill set. All of this combined is what led me to decide to stay on at Romer – so I could continue to learn and grow, as well as support Romer as they also expand.

A brief note on unpaid internships

My position at Romer is unpaid. While I have gotten so much out of this internship and as such was comfortable accepting an unpaid position, I know that isn’t feasible for many college students. There are companies currently offering paid internships, so don’t feel like internships aren’t accessible to you. Additionally, many colleges offer stipends to cover the cost of taking on an unpaid internship.

Now that I’ve explained how I found my internship, I want to share ten things I’ve learned: from the search, to succeeding once you’ve landed one, and how what I’ve learned translates into my work as a skincare content creator.

You don’t need experience – at least not in the way you think you do.

My resume isn’t filled with social media positions. In fact, prior to this internship, my only official prior work experience was my communications fellowship with an office at Georgetown. However, just because something isn’t “official” doesn’t mean you can’t list it on your resume. My skincare page played a big role in landing this internship. I also have an unofficial position as social media manager for my barn, so even though it isn’t paid I was able to bring that experience into my interview as well. Be creative with what you put on your resume! You never know what will resonate with your potential employer.

Internships are about learning – so take every opportunity that comes your way.

The main point of internships are to learn as much as you can about different industries (or areas of an industry) – and most importantly, whether or not it is something you would like to pursue as a career. With each internship, take every chance to learn, even (and especially) if it isn’t something that seems immediately interesting. If you’re allowed to sit in on meetings or learn about other aspects of the company, do it! Have conversations and try to absorb as much information as possible.

As an intern, sometimes you may not agree with company decisions. that’s ok.

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I am a FEISTY person. My opinions are, to put it bluntly, strong and steadfast (for the most part). But when you’re an intern, you are on the lowest rung of the company ladder. Sometimes you may not agree with a company decision (whether that’s a PR call, how to go about a launch, who to work with, etc.) But at the end of the day, you’re there to learn – not call the shots.

At Romer, I’ve been fortunate to work with a founder who genuinely cares what each and every team member thinks about an issue. I haven’t had an issue with this personally, but it was a big question I’ve seen some of my peers ask. As long as your boss is open to ideas, ultimately you need to respect their decision and support them. Constructive internal discussion is great – but you’re not the boss. You’re there to learn from their expertise.

Don’t wait to be given tasks – Show initiative.

No one likes passiveness! You have a certain set of job responsibilities, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box. See a way the company could improve? Speak up! Do you have a set of skills that weren’t discussed in the interview but could be of use? Tell your supervisor! Demonstrate a willingness to go above and beyond – it will pay off in the long run.

Be a person of value to the company.

Going off the last point, be a person of value to the company. An internship is a two way street – you’re learning about an industry, and they have an extra set of hands to help. Have the intention of making a positive impact on your workplace when you leave.

Form connections – even when working remotely.

My internship has been (and will continue to be) entirely remote. Even so, it’s critical to use these opportunities to network. Strike up conversations and participate in whatever team bonding events there are! And don’t forget to connect with them on LinkedIn.

These last four lessons are ones I think are particularly relevant to skincare influencers and content creators.

Your follower count isn’t the most important statistic.

Working with a small skincare brand has given me the chance to see the other side of the coin when it comes to influencer marketing. Many people think you need thousands and thousands of followers to get PR. But as the person directing a lot of the influencer marketing currently, I don’t really bother at all with that particular number. What do I look for? Engagement rate, photography skills, and demonstrating genuine interest in the brand. Influencer marketing is about creating relationships, and you don’t need a set number of followers to do that.

When pitching to a brand, think about how what you are offering helps them.

Skincare companies take a LOT of money to get off the ground, and so (especially in the beginning) the main goal for many of their campaigns and ads is conversion – driving sales. When thinking about pitching or working with a brand, if they’re small, think about how you will help them work towards that goal. Remember my tip from above – be a person of value!

Additionally, remember to spell check your pitches and make them unique to each brand.

I read and respond to all the messages on the Romer instagram account. We get a decent amount of requests for collaborations, and I do consider each one. But what are some ways for me to immediately view your request more negatively? Spelling issues, abruptness, and/or reading what seems to be a copy/paste message. When pitching to a brand, make sure you demonstrate passion and interest in their values and products. You don’t want to look like you’re just trying to get free product! And please make sure to check your spelling and grammar – lots of typos aren’t a good look.

Sometimes, brands really don’t have the money to pay influencers (and it might still be ok to work with them!)

As a skincare content creator working her butt off to land paid deals, I know it is tough to hear a brand say they don’t have the budget. Sometimes, they are just trying to exploit you; When you’re talking about a huge, well known brand that is obviously successful (think Glossier or Sephora), you should always require payment.

However, working on other side of the influencer-brand relationship has shown me that some brands really can’t afford to pay influencers. Smaller, newer brands may not be able to allocate money toward a partnership budget. In my position, I’ve worked on finding ways to use influencer marketing to our benefit without a) spending money and b) exploiting content creators.

What I want to impart to content creators is that not having a budget isn’t always a judgment on your value as an influencer. Sometimes it’s a financial fact. Obviously you don’t have to work with the brand if you need payment, but if the products interest you otherwise there may be room to negotiate to work on a gifted basis. For example, we sometimes gift to creators we want to work with without an obligation to post – but with the hope that if the products are well-liked, we will see some social media mention. I have been on the receiving end of many exploitative brand deals, but with some smaller brands I think there is room for both sides to be a little more understanding of the financial realities of both parties.

I hope this post helps if you have been interested in finding an internship in the skincare or social media sector. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or let me know in the comments!

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