We all know that the fashion industry is competitive, so this, coupled with the recession has made the job hunting process tougher than ever for fashion graduates. At The Fashion Careers Clinic I am regularly contacted by people who graduated in 2009 and 2008, or even earlier than that, who are still looking for their first paid role.
It’s easy to become despondent and think ‘is it EVER going to happen???’ so we thought you might be interested in reading an interview with someone who graduated in 2008 and has just landed her first job!
Tamara Glackin graduated in 2008 from Heriot Watt University in Scotland, where she studied BA (Hons) Design & Textiles.
Q. Tamara, congratulations on getting your first job in fashion design! Which company will you be working for, and what is your new job title?
Thanks, I'm going to be working for a major retailer as an Assistant Knitwear Designer.
Q. Tell us a little about what your new role will involve, and where you'll be based:
I'm going to be based in Hong Kong and will be working with knitwear factories in the Far East. My role involves lots of trend research and gathering visual information as well as fabric and product development. I'll be working closely with the Buyers in the UK as well so lots of communication is involved.
Q. You graduated in 2008 - how difficult have you found the job search?
I have found my search for a permanent role very difficult, it's so tough out there for graduates! I thought I would never get a permanent job at one point. It was tough not living in London as I felt I got forgotten about sometimes because I wasn't there so that also means you've got to be more persistent.
Q. How many interviews did you have with different companies, before securing this role?
I had quite a few interviews as I was very persistent, maybe around 10, it's hard getting that many knock backs but I couldn't be happier now!
Q. How many applications have you made over the past year and half since you graduated?
I wouldn't even like to count the number of applications I've made. I would sit on the computer for days endlessly applying for roles.
Q. Tell us about the interview process you've just been through - how many meetings did you have with them, and how tough was it?
I was really lucky with this role, as I only had one interview. It was with 3 members of the design team so that was a bit daunting at first. I presented my work to them and having 3 people interview me meant there were lots of questions and it didn't feel uncomfortable. I forgot about the nerves and I think this helped me perform to the best of my ability.
Q. Did you have to create a project for the interview process?
Yes for most interviews they ask you to create a project for the interview process. They asked for a mood board and designs but I showed my design development process as well and I think this really helped.
Q. Why do you think the company chose you over the other candidates - did they give you some feedback?
I haven't had any feedback as such as to why they chose me instead of other candidates but I think I got off to a really good start in the interview and it felt really comfortable. I had really done my research on the company and felt confident in answering their questions. I know it can be a tough choice for the employers so its important to show your strengths and that you're interested in the company.
Q. What would you advise to other designers who are searching for a role?
I think my best advice has been to keep active, it helped me to work on my portfolio. I think for graduates it's important to show employers that you can be commercial. The fashion industry is surprisingly small so get networking too - Linkedin and online portolio sites really helped me!
Q. Are there really still jobs out there for graduates from a few years ago?
I know its tough but I do think there is beginning to be an increase in roles for graduates, I know most of my interviews have been in the last 3 months. I think the students that graduated a few years ago have to show they've been busy. It's important to try and get placements, keep your portfolio and knowledge up to date and show that you're still interested and motivated.
Q. Did you mainly apply for advertised roles, or did you send out your details on a speculative basis too?
It's important to send out speculative applications but I mostly applied for roles I saw advertised and also had a few through agencies. I actually got my interview through speculatively applying to the company and networking.
Thanks for your time Tamara - we wish you every success in your new role!
THE FASHION CAREERS CLINIC
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