Graduation season (a.k.a. the most wonderful time of the year) is quickly approaching! You can say farewell to those endless nights of powering through assignments alongside a ton of caffeine, and start proving that you’ve got what it takes to make it in a fashion career. Here are some tips to consider when you’re fresh out of fashion school and planning your next career move:
Showcase Your Work
If you don’t already have one, put together a type of portfolio for any projects or creations that you have saved and continuously update your collection. Display images or writing samples that you are proud of and ones you believe will grab some attention. Your portfolio does not have to be the typical big black book, nowadays everything is online and should be in the form of a separate Instagram JUST for your work, a website or your own personal blog. Also consider renting out a small space for a few hours, (it could be a loft, a photographers studio) and showcase your collection to friends and family and have them share on social media.
The main purpose of an online portfolio is to be able to confidently talk to an interviewer about your skills and experience, as well as have something to show for it. Instagram has in a sense become a social media portfolio. Try posting more content that deals with your talents or relates to your career goals. For example, if you’re interested in styling upload pictures of your inspirations, outfits you’ve coordinated, or you dressing models at a photo shoot. Your followers along with potential employers will begin to associate you with certain skills and think of you in the future.
You may be free from the classroom, but you always need to be knowledgeable about the industry. Be aware of the latest looks on the runway at fashion shows around the world and how that translates into styles people want to wear. Simply subscribing to a website that provides you with daily fashion trends or business updates will go a long way. When it comes to job hunting, this is prime time to get a head start and do some research before you make an approach and hand in a resume. Create a list of companies or brands that you would like to work for and learn as much as you can about their background and the way they operate. Hiring managers will appreciate someone who makes an effort to stay current and is eager to gather details about the company. There may also be a specific skill you wish to develop or a topic in your program that you wanted to study more in depth. Pick up books, watch videos or even sign up for a workshop class.
Be Involved in the Industry
Just because you haven’t landed your official fashion job yet, doesn’t mean you can’t be a part of the industry. Be present at local fashion events, such as product launches or new store openings. Introduce yourself to as many people as you can and make your ambitions known to them. Volunteer to assist with any popular happenings in your city like fashion week or use your writing skills as a contributor for an online fashion magazine or blog. This adds some extra experience to your resume and keeps you feeling motivated while you’re in the process of applying for jobs.
Take the Time to Reconnect
Networking and making new connections has always been a golden rule for job seekers. However, don’t forget about the people you already know. Over the past few years as a student you have come in contact with many experienced influencers such as former professors, managers or mentors that can possibly open doors to a new opportunity. Most fashion programs also require you to complete an internship or work placement over the course of the academic year. Past internships are valuable connections to refer back to, as this is where you demonstrated your professional work ethic and ability to succeed in a specific fashion role. Your internship employer may have actually been interested in hiring you full-time after your internship was completed, but you were still in school. Give them a call, or send a message through e-mail or LinkedIn to set up a meeting and chat. If you maintained a positive relationship, they should be more than willing to speak with you.
Photo Cred: Teen Vogue’s Instagram
By Alicia Elliott
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