crucial first job

Job-hunting can be a minefield, especially for that crucial first step into the fashion industry. How do you know what employers are really looking for? “My Fashion Tutor Head Start Programme” How can you get ahead? And how can you show them that you’ve got what it takes to get on in their business?

Entry-level jobs don’t always go to entry-level people. A company might advertise an entry-level position only to give it to the person with a couple of years’ experience because it makes life easier. We all know in reality fashion internships (note the plural) often come before permanent positions anyway. Businesses are under intense pressure to be profitable, which often means being ‘lean’, but this doesn’t mean they won’t invest in people with little experience. You just have to understand their point of view and sell yourself in a manner that makes them think they NEED you with them. Even Tom Ford had to start somewhere (as a press intern at Chloe as you asked). So if you’re lacking experience, focus on selling your potential or flaunting your talent, because you have heaps of it!

Be confident about your talent 

If you’re straight out of uni you’ve spent the last few years focused on developing your talent. Even if you graduated a few years ago, your final major project could still be a brilliant example of your creative talents. The first rule of going for any vaguely creative role is to take your portfolio to the interview. Ensure that it really does show your best work and be prepared to discuss it enthusiastically. In your covering letter or on your CV you can also include links to your work online. Key thing if you not proud about your work, it will be difficult to sell your talent to anyone and still be convincing. The mentors at My Fashion Tutor can help you get a fashion portfolio together and show you how to discuss it confidently in a way relevant to industry.

Appreciate your own experience

As a key component of the interview, selling yourself is paramount in the whole process. There are many time people dismiss vital experience, through complacency of low self esteem. So really taking time to appreciate your experience is sometime the hardest part. Flaunting your experience is the easy bit, however you must be careful to do though, is demonstrate your flexibility. No company will want a new employee to be rigidly aligned to their old way of doing things. They will expect you to be able to draw on your experience, share ideas with the team but be able to adapt to a new environment. So explain that you have experience of doing things one way but you’re keen to see if there’s a different way. Highlight specific achievements from your past experiences and remember that internships are just as valid. Don’t forget to think outside the box too, if you’re going for a PR job and held down a social sec position for your university netball team then discuss all the organisation that went into running events and managing finances.

Shout about your potential

Experience isn’t always a helpful thing. For merchandising roles for example, systems and processes can be very in-house specific, meaning that an assistant merchandiser working for one retailer may not transition effortlessly to another. A recent graduate on the other hand is fresh meat, with few preconceived ideas you can soak up information like a sponge and be moulded into the brand you go to work for. Keep this in mind and show your potential with specific details. Got top marks at uni? Then make sure they know about it, emphasising your work ethic and dedication. Start acting like you’re a professional; sell your potential, now its not about just passing a brief/assignment. Free of family commitments? Then put yourself forward as THE person who could travel and work late nights. Of course where by no means encouraging slave labour, but it all about ATTITUDE.
Brand your self with a POTENTIAL and TENACITY.

The most important thing whether writing a covering letter or going to interview, is to know your strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully this article has shown you how to turn any weaknesses around into strengths. As a graduate or early career professional you have bags of potential and enthusiasm for the role, so don’t be shy, make sure you show your potential employer!


All the best!

My Fashion Tutor

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