Fashion Career Advice
Fashion Career Resources and Networking Hints
The Integrated Job Search
Getting a job is a tough business, especially in the competitive fashion industry. But don't get discouraged. What employers want most out of job applicants is intelligence, passion and solid career training. Everything else, you may learn on the job.
There's no magic bullet for building your fashion career, but a combination of the strategies below may help you to maximize your chances. Success in the fashion industry is closer than you think.
This is by far the most effective means of securing a new position. Send out an email to everyone you know, letting them know you're hunting. Many companies may offer referral bonuses to their employees, which means your friends and acquaintances might be eager to get your resume in front of a recruiter for a fashion house, a large clothing company or a retail chain.
A viable source of openings (and names of companies in hiring mode).
Many companies may rely on them exclusively to fill some of their positions. Although this is more common at the executive level, it's begun to trickle down as the competition for good fashion designers, marketers and merchandisers gets keener.
Rapidly becoming a significant player in the job search process. There are an increasing number of candidate and job databases that are facilitating this process. Be sure to follow up on resumes you send this way, so you don't get lost in the electronic shuffle.
An often-overlooked method. With today's technology, information is readily available on a variety of major corporations in the fashion industry. You may create finely tuned mailings that can effectively tap the hidden job market.
Ever talk to your former bosses from years ago, former co-workers, neighbors, your accountant or banker? Individuals like these are your prime source for finding employment. The list is endless. In today's competitive and sophisticated fashion industry, you must be aggressive, innovative, visible and relentless. Yes, jobs are plentiful today, but are you seeking just a job, or a career?
- Bankers, real estate brokers and building superintendents know who is expanding and who is moving into your town or city. If you know any, take them out for a drink and pump them for info.
- Fashion industry trade association meetings and membership lists are chock full of prime candidates for your calls. Go to an association luncheon or dinner and watch the cards being passed around. What do you really think is happening? Most of them are networking!
- Civic and community groups are excellent sources for contacts. Treat any place where people gather as a golden opportunity, especially charity fashion shows or other runway-related events.
- Informational interviews with recruiters and human resource professionals can start a whole new chain of contacts. Call company recruiters and tell them you are evaluating opportunities with similar companies in their locale and would like to get information about their organization. Request a brief meeting to discuss the company's plans and goals. Remember, you're not asking for a job interview, but for information about job opportunities that may arise within the organization or other companies with whom they are familiar.
- Use all your contacts to develop leads. Follow up leads and make sure you leave a trail of thank you notes and thank you calls. Let people know you appreciate their efforts. When you call again in a month, they won't mind hearing from you.
- Be organized. Keep records. Make sure you know the direct source of each lead and even the sources that led you to that source. Leave no stone unturned and no kindness un-thanked.
There is no mystique. It's just plain hard work and perseverance. Everyone you talk to, everyone you meet... they are your targets. It's incredible what people know about job opportunities that you would never have imagined. Your hairdresser/barber talks to everyone from company clerks to presidents. You are not your accountant's or attorney's only client. Let people know. Give them a chance to help. You will be absolutely amazed at the results.
Job Interview Tips
You don't have a second chance to make a first impression!
Clichés are clichés for a reason. Often they are true. Interest in a candidate is generally decided within the first twenty minutes.
What can you do to ensure that you aren't ruled out before the interview even starts? Whether you're interviewing for an entry-level or CEO position, there are certain consistent, predictable parts of every interview. The foundation for a successful interview is preparation. Perform the necessary research to learn as much as possible about the company with whom you'll be interviewing.
Scour the company's website and write down possible questions to ask. You'll also want to review the company's recent annual and quarterly reports. Read financial and other pertinent publications for up-to-date information. Follow the company's stock price if it's publicly traded. Read up on any news that's particularly relevant to the company.
If your prospective employer has retail outlets in the area, visit them to get a front-line feel for the organization. For certain manufacturers, look for their products at retail stores and ask sales representatives about quality and sales volume.
Finding out what you want to know about the company, its products, services, people and work environment will be important. Asking pertinent questions during the interview allows you an opportunity to continue selling yourself. Have a list, don't cross-examine, make them job-related, and ask questions that require an explanation.
Honestly assess your employment background and develop explanations for any weak points.
Your Behavior Should Be Friendly, Yet Businesslike.
Listen closely to questions and make sure your responses are concise and relevant. Don't allow your responses to wander. If the answer to a question is complex, use examples to make your point.
Show interest in the company and the interviewer by asking questions yourself, but don't dominate the interview.
As the interview moves to a close, express your appreciation and your interest in the opening and company.
Statistics show that money is often the fifth most important reason why people make career moves. All too often, individuals clumsily handle questions of compensation. Some inflate current compensation, others nervously choose to avoid the subject altogether. When confronted with the question of compensation, always answer truthfully. Be prepared to detail direct and indirect compensation (base salary, bonus and profit-sharing if applicable). Don't underestimate your true gross income. Decide ahead of time how you will respond to "I need to know if we can afford you. What are you looking for?"
Ending the Interview
Always end the interview assertively. If you want something, ask for it. A job is no different. Remember, you are competing against not only the other applicants for a position but against every mundane answer given by every candidate that person has ever interviewed.
Does this sound like you? "Thanks for taking the time from your schedule to speak with me today. I've enjoyed meeting you and think the company is doing some exciting things...hope to hear from you soon."