If you’re interested in a career in fashion but not quite the right fit for international modelling and can’t thread a needle to save your life, then don’t be too quick to give up your dreams. There are many professional positions within the fashion industry that don’t have anything to do with your ability to strut the catwalk or cut patterns to order. With this in mind, here are 4 IDEAL tips for getting an entry level job in fashion.
IDENTIFY YOUR CORE SKILLS AND STRENGTHS
Start by making a list of your other interests, skills, accomplishments and experience. Sell yourself! As many opportunities within the industry are fluid and at times transient, you may be surprised to know that openings for nearly every professional role exist. As the label of ‘fashion industry’ is so broad, you might work for a design house, fashion magazine, merchandiser or fashion retail company, and come under the catch-all bracket.
This means that there is always demand for people with finance skills, such as accountancy, marketing and communication skills, business development and sales skills, and logistics. There is a but, though. Since fashion is seen as a glamorous and competitive field, you may have to put a little extra effort in to stand out from the crowd of applicants, even if you don’t have to show up to casting calls and face down the competition directly.
SEEK INDUSTRY SPECIFIC EXPOSURE AND EDUCATION
Getting some industry-specific exposure, experience or education can help give that edge which might put you ahead of the pack – check out LSBF on Twitter to see some of the fashion-specific courses and programmes they offer. While you can certainly market your transferrable skills from other sectors (if you have work experience already) to employers in the fashion sector, and soft skills are of course a huge asset, you should also be prepared to showcase why you’re the right fit for them specifically.
It’s nice if you can make anecdotal reference to your interest in fashion, sure, but it’s better if you can point to specific education or proactive steps you’ve taken to improve your exposure. Maybe you’ve volunteered for a regional fashion event, or you have close ties to someone in the industry? That’ll certainly help. And if you’re looking for work in the communications or marketing divisions, then having written for a fashion blog or publication in the recent past is certainly worth showing on your C.V.
OFFER SOLUTIONS TO INDUSTRY ISSUES
While it may sound a little bolshy to criticise an industry you’re not yet part of, demonstrating an understanding of the challenges the trade faces and offering possible measures to mitigate them is a great way to get noticed. It shows initiative, courage and an implicit understanding of the industry. If you have experience in production or logistics, then you could read up on case studies or watch fashion news for examples of high-profile problems in those areas, and promote how your skills or experience would help your prospective employer avoid similar problems. Finance and management professionals should also look for ways to demonstrate their understanding of the unique obstacles to success within the industry, and how their skills and experience are transferrable to those industry-specific challenges.
Networking has become such a ‘management speak’ go-to, that its true value sometimes gets neglected. Its importance, though, can’t be overstated. Once you’ve identified the type of work you’re interested in and qualified for, and established how you’d provide value to potential employers in the fashion industry, it’s time to start working on your connections. Ask around – you’d be surprised at how often someone knows someone who can make an introduction. Volunteering is another good way to get started and familiar to those people who you want in your phonebook or on your Instagram feed.