It’s summer holiday – or with other words; time off from school or work. It’s also the time of the year, where students look for an internship, newly graduates for their first job or placement, or if you already work and just wish to change job, for the next opportunity. With more time than normally to think about your career and future in fashion, right now is a good time to make plans and consider your next step in how to get an internship or job in fashion.
The other day I spoke to a young fashion designer from Israel, who recently moved to Switzerland, and she asked me how to get an internship or job in fashion. Normally this is something your previous school will help you with, if they have a Career Service department, but if you have moved to a different place, where your previous institution isn’t well-connected, you’re on your own. Other times, your university may not have luck in finding you a placement, or it doesn’t happen quickly enough for your taste, and then you need to create your opportunity yourself.
Below are some tips of how I would go about finding my next job/internship:
- Find out who you have in your network, who works in a company or hold a position of interest to you. Ask them for pieces of advice, job openings, or who to contact within their company responsible for HR (Human Resources). If you don’t know anybody, look at the next circle in your network, of who you know, who may know somebody. Then contact them and ask for a possible introduction.
- If you don’t have anybody in your network, who can give you a hand, make a plan of how to grow your network. Find out who could be helpful to you, and a way of how to approach them. You can say it as it is; that you wish to grow your professional network, or see an opportunity of how your profile or network could also be beneficial to them. With networking you give and take, but focusing on a mutual benefit is the most elegant way to reach out.
- Join some networking groups as a way of efficiently meeting a lot of people. Here the good thing is that everybody comes with the same aim: to grow their network, and therefore this is the main focus. These groups have different focuses, and you can find groups for general networking, Expats, the fashion industry, women etc.
- Make a thorough research about the interesting companies in your area. You need to know the players (big and small) in order to understand the setting of the situation. When you have mapped out the companies, you will understand the picture of potential work places, and how these are interlinked.
- When you have a clear idea about the companies, research on the employees that work there; who are they, what are their roles, what are their skills, and how are the companies structured. This will give you an idea about, what profiles and skills are sought-after, and therefore 1/what you need to know and master and 2/where you could fit into the market place.
- If you come to understand that certain skills are necessary, learn them. All this work of creating an opportunity to yourself is of no value, if you don’t have the necessary preparation.
- Tailor-make your CV to companies you wish to apply to. Make sure to focus on the part that will be interesting to the company, instead of having just a lengthy, standard CV. Also make sure that it’s comprehensible to the people that are going to read it.
- Contact a Head Hunter specifically for your area or industry. They will be able to give you some guidance about how to go about landing a job in your industry and area. Perhaps it’s simply a way of writing certain things in your CV differently that will make the big difference, or using the right template for this given place.
- After this understanding of the industry, companies and employees, you can also think about certain paths for business development, as an alternative of how you can fit into an already existing position within an already existing company. Perhaps you see an opportunity within a company that they haven’t focused on so far, and wish to put the idea forward to them. This takes more courage, maturity, and preparation, as you don’t just call up the Tom Ford Design Studio to suggest them to do a boutique hotel in Ibizia, because you recently went to Ibiza and loved Ibiza. If you make this move, be dead certain that you have thought the idea through, have the right preparation and experience for making the proposal, and have done your research properly. And, if it doesn’t work out, you have still expanded your network.
Then, last but not least, no matter what happens, don’t give up. Use the experience you get on this journey to make your possibilities as strong as possible, but a part from that never ever give up. Ever. Good luck 🙂
Photos are of Sicis, Milano.