To get that dream job in fashion I am a great believer in creating your own opportunities. Looking for a job, especially your first one in fashion can be tough, so get proactive, avoid simply applying for jobs and waiting around for a reply by following my tips below.
Linkedin is the Modern CV
Join Linkedin, make sure it is up to date it is your public CV, check out my blog post “How to Have a Great Fashion CV” for more advice . Get on Twitter, connect with the fashion world, start posting articles, show you are genuinely interested in and up to date with the industry. Start an on-line portfolio showcasing your work, use Flickr or start your own blog on WordPress.com.
Decide on your Fashion Career
Decide what jobs you most want to do in Fashion, if its working digitally on e-commerce web-sites, designing fashion using Photoshop or being more hand-on such as a pattern cutter or retail focused such as a buyer. Check out my blog posts on different fashion careers, they will help you see what skills you will need and qualifications so you can decide if you are suited to your chosen role.
What Fashion Companies can you Work for?
Physically most often you need to get to work, so first thing to consider where you are willing to work and list all the Fashion companies that you can work for in this area. Make sure that it is the companies head office that is in the area, not their shop premises like a Next unless retail work is what you want. If you live in Manchester I have put together a top list of on-line Manchester fashion, make-up companies. You can find companies by using Google, searching on Linkedin or through social media.
Check what the Fashion Companies do!
Once you have your list of fashion companies check them out and decide if you would like to work for them, I once had an interview for a clothing manufacturers that designed bullet proof vests, so if your wanting to get into ladies fashion this may not be the place to start. Some head quarters will only deal with certain areas such as design or digital, so check they have the department that you want to work in based there. Even basic things like the company being in a run down area, does it have a training scheme become more important when you go to work everyday.
Making Fashion Industry Contacts
Now you have your short list of companies start to look at jobs available, see if they have any advertised on their own web-site, again Linkedin is a good place to start. Companies may not always advertise jobs so try approaching them, start by connecting with managers, HR staff (they do the employing) on Linkedin, Twitter, send them a message through the sites explaining what job you are looking for and your skills, also try e-mailing them through their web-site. When you approach anyone in industry be sure to include links to you Linkedin profile and portfolio. Meet industry contacts by going to events posted on Eventbrite, check on Meet-up for industry networking meetings. Do your own thing, don’t wait round for other people to create opportunities for you, organise your own meet-ups if you want to get to know people and spread your name.
Searching for Jobs in Fashion
You may decide you would prefer to just search for jobs what are advertised, if you type in fashion jobs into Google or Linkedin 99% of them are advertised by recruitment agencies or are on job board web-sites such as Monster. I try to avoid looking at jobs advertised by recruitment agencies as very often they are not real and it can waste a lot of time up-loading your CV onto jobs boards. Instead I prefer going straight to the companies, read my blog post “Apply for Jobs at Recruitment Agencies” for my reasons why. If you are going to use recruitment agencies search for ones in your area that are fashion specialists to make contact with, such as Angela Harper if you live in the North West. When using jobs board try established fashion ones like Drapers Jobs, today I saw advertisements for jobs at Boden and Whistles, Guardian Jobs and The Dots have creative jobs however they are very London focused. Finally Gumtree is used by start-up companies for roles, or for short term fashion opportunities so worth a look.
Graduate Training Schemes, Placements and Intern Programmes
A lot of big companies have graduate training schemes, intern programmes and placement opportunities. If you want to get a foot in the door, with the great chance to be fully trained and work in the area you want they are ideal. I always wanted to join the M&S graduate training scheme, they have opportunities to work in fashion buying, merchandising, design, marketing, retail, digital and product technology with the chance to earn around £25,000 to train, however like most of these schemes they are based only in London. Companies offering similar opportunities include Arcadia Group, Next and ASOS.