How to Land a Fashion Job

August 30, 2014

You probably already know that fashion is a competitive industry and, for just that reason, a fashion job isn’t always easy to secure. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whether you’ve always wanted a fashion career and have just finished school, or if you’re looking to switch to a new industry, know that landing the fashion job of your dreams is within reach. Although there are thousands of women and men around the world hunting for fashion work right alongside you, you can still stand out. Follow our simple guide below, and you’ll have a much easier time beginning your long and thriving career in one of the coolest industries in the world.

Get specific.

It takes more that just “loving clothes” to have a successful fashion career (though, that’s also important). Find out which position in the industry suits your skillset and pursue that specifically. Fortunately, fashion is such an enormous and comprehensive industry, that there’s a job for pretty much any skill you might have. Here are a few examples:

  • If you can spot a trend before the fashion blogs do, if you love the business side of things, or if you’re a social media addict, check out jobs in fashion merchandising or sales and marketing.
  • If you are fascinated by how things or made, or are passionate about coming up with solutions to minimize waste, you might be interested in production management.
  • If you’re artistic and drool at the sight of a beautiful store window or stage set, you’d be perfectly suited to a career in visual presentation.
  • If you have a knack for putting together outfits on any budget, and can juggle several different clients and teams at once, you might try styling.
  • If anyone’s ever called you “diplomatic” or “enthusiastic,” you’d probably make an excellent candidate for a job in public relations.

Get your foot in the door.

All careers have to start somewhere. If you have no prior experience, fashion insiders will recommend exploring internship opportunities. Most people applying to entry-level fashion jobs have at least one internship under their belt, often a few. Not only will an internship give you invaluable experience and help fill out a resume—internships (especially in fashion) will also help you make important connections that will grow your network, and introduce you to people who will be able to help you get jobs. Plus, if during your internship you can show yourself to be dedicated and essential to the company, you might even be offered a job when your internship ends.

If working for free isn’t an option for you, there are also many part-time internships that will give you all the networking and experiential benefits, but will also allow for time to make money on the side with other jobs.

Retail jobs are another way to gain experience. Even if you don’t want to become a retailer down the road, the experience you gain on the ground in a store can be leveraged as experience for any fashion career. After all, retail is one of the most important functions of the fashion industry.

Other ways to find work are through networking (attending events, using LinkedIn, and talking to people you know about the kind of work you’re looking for) and even finding a mentor who can guide you and help teach you about finding work, ideally in fashion.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media.

Social media is important. Even a creative industry like fashion, it’s important to make sure all of your social media profiles are clean and professional. But that’s not all. These days, you can be sure that every hiring manager is going to look you up online before an interview. If your online presence doesn’t make it look like you love fashion, they might not believe your cover letter.

On the bright side, a fashion-centric online presence can work to your advantage. There are countless tales of people getting fashion jobs because an employer liked their Tumblr, thought they seemed fun on Twitter, or saw their Pinterest page shared a similar aesthetic to the brand. Make sure your online profiles will let potential employers know that you’d definitely fit in at their company.

Never send the same cover letter or resume twice

Once you start applying to jobs, make sure you put a lot of effort into both your resume and cover letter. Applying for jobs and internships is a lot of work, and it can be tempting to send the same cover letter and resume to as many jobs as possible. But this is a mistake. Even jobs with the same title will be different at different companies, so both your cover letter and resume should be tailor made for each company and position you apply to.

Not only will it make you seem a more ideal fit, it will also show potential employers that you’ve dedicated time to making your application thoughtful, which signals to them you’re a hard worker and that you really want to work for them, not just anyone. And that will make them more likely to give you an interview.

Educate yourself.

There’s a lot you need to know when you’re applying to a fashion job. It’s not simply having a degree in your field of choice. In fact, some employers in the fashion world say they prefer employees who studied liberal arts in college, because they believe such studies help educate about history and the greater context of fashion.

Nevertheless, with any degree or level of education, you can always teach yourself about the cultural importance of fashion, and any skills needed for technical jobs. If you live near a school that offers relevant courses, you could always take few night classes to get some classroom experience. Then, by incorporating what you learn in your cover letter, portfolio, or interview, you’ll show yourself to be just as qualified as those who studied those things in school.

It’s also important to stay up to date on trends and happenings in the fashion world, especially when they pertain to the companies you’re applying to. For example, if you want a job at Tory Burch, make sure you’re familiar with the last several seasons of the brand, and any notable things that have happened in the past year.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be ahead of the curve on your fashion job search. So start hunting for your next opportunity right now — Check out our Jobs in Fashion page.

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