Happy New Year! Or is it? If you graduated from a fashion course last year, or even the year before and haven’t yet found a solid (paid!) role, you might be feeling less than happy about yet another month and new year of job hunting.
Everyone knows that the fashion industry is competitive and difficult to get into, however the recession has obviously made the situation even worse, and paid roles are difficult to come by. However, the good news is that there ARE still roles out there – it’s just a case of knowing where to look, and knowing how to increase your chances of getting those jobs once you’ve found them. In the first of our new series of careers articles, we have identified 10 key tips to get the ball rolling for your job search. Today we are looking at how to be PROACTIVE in your search.
NUMBER ONE - BE PROACTIVE!
This is a difficult industry to be in – we all know it’s competitive. However the difference now compared to 2 – 3 years ago is that we are obviously in a recession and there aren’t as many companies out there offering the chance for paid employment. There are also many more fashion students graduating each year than there used to be, with over 5000 fashion students coming out of college last year. This means that coupled with the fact that there are still lots of graduates from 2008 who still haven’t found paid employment, the market is flooded with people just like you who are after the same roles in fashion.
Scared yet? Good. I need you to be slightly scared in order to get motivated and proactive.
Remember that FINDING a job is kind of like DOING a job – it requires effort, determination, time, focus and commitment. The jobs aren’t going to come to you – you need to be ACTIVELY job searching on a daily basis. It’s no good sending out a couple of CV’s every 2 weeks or so and hoping for the best.
You will improve your chances if you focus on doing at least half an hour of job searching per day to spread the load, so you don’t become overwhelmed by the thought of doing a huge amount in one go. Most people fall into the trap of thinking ‘Oh, I’ll leave it until the weekend, and I’ll send out loads of CV’s then’. Well, good intentions rarely happen, do they? You get to the weekend, exhausted (as many of you will have part time or fulltime jobs not in fashion, to pay the rent and bills), and put it off yet again. And again. And again. And before you know it, another month has gone by, another 4 months, and so on. That’s when it starts to become scary – when you realise that it’s a year or 6 months since you graduated.
Don’t make things hard for yourself by letting tasks pile up. Your half hour each day could include everything from CV updating, portfolio tweaking, online searches for jobs, checking the trade press for job adverts, visiting exhibitions or galleries to stay inspired, or networking (more on all of these topics in forthcoming articles).
If you are doing these things daily, you will get to the end of each week and feel a sense of achievement, rather than that sinking feeling of ‘Oh, I STILL haven’t done my CV / updated my portfolio / applied to that advert, etc’. That's when the situation can become overwhelming and depressing, and you may feel at a loss as to how you can get back on track. Don't let that happen - keep focused. If you do your half hour a day, every day, you should begin to see results more quickly and it will be less likely that you will feel dejected by the process.
If you have old friends you studied with who are in the same situation, why not meet up on a regular basis – perhaps once a week or every 2 weeks – to motivate each other? You could discuss new job sites you’ve found, recommend roles to one another, share industry contacts. It’s always easier to focus if you have someone else to talk to who is going through the same process. It can also help you to become more active – if you meet up with a friend who has done LOADS since you last saw them – sent their CV to a hundred companies / gained 2 interviews / done a new project, it will probably motivate you to achieve the same.
In my years working within fashion recruitment I used to meet designers on a daily basis at the agencies I worked for, in order to see their portfolios and discuss their career requirements. Some of them were new graduates and had amazing work, but hadn’t secured a role as they hadn’t been doing enough searching. Others were average designers, but had been offered jobs / gained interviews / had lots of activity going on. So it isn’t necessarily the best designers who get the jobs – it’s the most proactive ones.
You will feel better for being proactive, trust me. It sounds obvious, but the more you do, the more you will get back. Have you been reading this article thinking ‘But I HAVE been proactive!!! And I still haven’t got anything!’? Think back over the past 6 months / year and double check – have you REALLY been sending out as many CV’s as you can / keeping your portfolio up to date / networking like crazy? If not, now is the time to go for it. If the answer is yes, there might be other things you can be doing to improve your applications. Check back tomorrow for another article – we will be looking at PORTFOLIO UPDATING for designers.
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If you are based in London and would like an in-depth careers advice consultation, please email us for further information about how we can help you improve your chances of finding a job in fashion: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are able to assist those looking to get into fashion and accessories design, marketing, branding, promotion and PR. If you aren’t based in London, we are able to provide a similar consultation service via phone and email.
A full description of our services can be found in the Info for Job Hunters section on our website: www.fashioncareersclinic.com
Thanks for reading.
Steph at THE FASHION CAREERS CLINIC