The fashion industry is notoriously difficult to get into. Although it is an attractive industry with great options, finding your big break into it is becoming increasingly difficult. Based on our experience working in the industry and asking some of our key contacts, we have put together 6 tips to give you the best opportunity of getting a job in fashion.
1 Get as much as experience as possible
Any relevant experience will look good on your CV. Whether it’s paid or unpaid it's vital to show your interest in the industry. Where possible try to make it relevant, although initially, it may seem that working in retail isn’t the job that you were hoping for, if you demonstrate your interest and move on to personal shopping the path into the industry becomes much more apparent.
It helps you understand the industry, find your personal style and build your confidence. If you’re at university having a year placement is invaluable, as are making the most of those long summer breaks.
2 Network, network, network...
It’s not what you know it’s who you know. The old saying holds true, even though it might seem that only top graduates are accepted by companies and applications completed online, the reality is that networking is as important as ever. This follows on from the previous point, to build your network you have to be in or at least around the industry. Attend as many industry events as possible if you have to, anything you can to get that start in your dream industry.
3 Keep up with fashion trends
It’s vital to stay up to date with what happens in the fashion industry. The easiest and most effective way of doing this is by following some key brands and influencers on social media - you get the latest hot topics and fashion trends before breakfast every day. When you land your big break, you’ll be knowledgeable enough to form an opinion and provide valuable input.
4 Be present online
It’s vital to monitor the latest vacancies and being one of the first to apply. Quite often companies will stop taking applications when the vacancy is filled, so ensure that you apply quickly.
It’s such a competitive industry that you always have to keep proving you’re worth it for your employer.
5 Be proactive
You have to put yourself out there and seize any opportunities because employers won’t come chasing after you.
One key way to put yourself out there and demonstrate your interest and passion for the industry is to post online. You don’t have to put pressure on yourself to get a huge following but just by making a few regular posts which demonstrate that you know the latest trends and have an understanding will be a great tangible example to talk about in your interview. Whether it’s in the form of an Instagram account, YouTube channel or blogs.
6 Prepare properly for interviews
Fashion can be a creative, fast-paced and relentless industry so you need to demonstrate these aspects about yourself. Elena King, assistant fashion designer with John Lewis Partnership and former graduate at Abercrombie & Fitch has some great advice:
‘I prepared projects for all the interviews I was offered and I think it made the difference to being offered a second interview. Many graduates might not think to prepare a project when it’s not requested outright by the employer, but it shows you have initiative.
‘I already had a portfolio from the work I did at university and with Abercrombie & Fitch, but it wasn’t the right style for John Lewis. Doing a new project showed I understood what the John Lewis brand was and who its customers were. It showed I could be adaptable.’