After graduating, there can be a great sense of feeling lost and overwhelmed, and that’s even before you start your job hunting journey. There are many career options and areas of expertise for a Fashion graduate but this doesn’t make the process any less daunting. We have collated all the advice you could need to knuckle down and point you in the right direction to start your career.
Start with the End in Mind
Who are you and what do you want to do? This is the first question you need to ask yourself. If you know the answer, that’s great, but if you don’t you might be doubting yourself a lot right now - you shouldn’t, all you need to do is work this out. Think about what your strengths and interests are and also what degree you’ve completed. Many fashion departments are intertwined and work closely together, however they’re still separate careers, so transferring from one area to another is rare and would involve starting back at an entry-level role. For example, buying and merchandising are very similar but very different, you may know this if you did a buying and merchandising degree. Buying is focused on the product, whereas merchandising is the commercial and financial development of the product - saying you’re interested in both at an interview may show unawareness of the roles.
Here is a list of fashion job sectors to explore:
Buying: Buyers Admin Assistant, Junior Buyer, Buyer, Buying Manager, Head of Buying
Merchandising: Assistant Merchandiser, Allocator/Distributor, Junior Merchandiser, Merchandise Manager, Junior Merchandiser, Head of Merchandising
Marketing, Digital and Creative: Creative Visual Merchandising, Graphic Design, PR, Marketing and Social Media, Styling, Web Development
Design and Technical: Designer, Fabric or Garment Technologist, Sales Executive, Pattern Cutter, Stock Assistant, Product Manager
Retail: Area Manager, Branch Manager, Store Manager, Sales Assistant, Visual Merchandiser, Brand Manager
Focus on you
After narrowing down which area you’re interested in, focus on the sector which you feel is best suited for you. Sectors range from suppliers and manufacturers to retailers and high street brands, all the way up to haute couture and luxury designers. This is personal to you and differs based on your beliefs and interests. Use your degree as an exploration and remember you don’t have to go into fashion design.
Location, location, location
Following on from the point that you don’t have to go into fashion design, you also don’t have to move to London, which is commonly misconstrued. Depending on your decided sector, working in a city would be more suited, but the competition in London is tough and it’s not for everyone. Consider looking into other cities in the UK, like Manchester and Leicester, or even internationally. Offshore experience with a UK retailer often means you can seamlessly return to the UK fashion industry in the future after international work and be in a strong position to secure your next role.
We recommend keeping track of your whole job searching process and progress. Using an Excel spreadsheet works best, as you can document the specifics; client, role, date of application, job specification, and outcome. This allows you to keep organised and saves you reapplying to companies. In-house recruiters may recruit across multiple areas and it doesn’t leave a good impression if you apply to several roles from one company. It doesn’t show the desired dedication to one career path.
CVs and Portfolios
Every job application is different and most likely you will be asked to complete specific tasks to that role. Don’t be put off by this, recruiters do this to narrow out the weak and ensure you can do what’s being asked for the position. Make sure you show your creativity and personality in your CV and portfolio, with synergy across the two, but don’t lose any professionalism in your layout. Employers wanted to be able to see your work clearly. When sending a portfolio by email, make sure the resolution is clear and it’s under 5MB in a PDF format. There are many CV and portfolio guides available online.
Keep your head up
Most importantly is to keep your head up and stay positive. Job hunting is hard and you’re allowed to be picky - this is your career you’re starting. Remember when creating applications to specify your CV to the individual role, and it’s quality over quantity. Go at your own pace and focus on your interests and goals.
If you have enjoyed this blog, and want further advice on job hunting, why not check out our other blog on How to Perfect your Interview? Alternatively, you can read our other blogs on other topics here.