How To Get Jobs in Fashion and Textiles
The fashion and textiles industry is packed with varied, fast-paced and creative job opportunities. The job requirements are diverse, the audience is demanding and the field is highly competitive. If you have the talent and drive, there is nothing to prevent you from making a bright career in these fields.
Here is some essential information to help you prepare yourself for a job in this area.
Education and Qualification
There are many routes into the fashion and textiles industries. Although helpful, a degree in fashion isn't always necessary for jobs in these industries. The benefit is that a professional degree will allow you to acquire new skills that will help further a career in this field. A university degree in fashion will arm you with historical information and relevant contextual knowledge - and as I always say, knowledge is power.
A degree will also expose you in a structured way, to the different techniques and methods used in various fashion pathways. One of the best things about fashion courses is that you will be tutored and guided by industry experts, and get the opportunity to collaborate and network with other talented people who share the same passion.
If university isn’t for you, an apprenticeship could be the way to go! They can be really valuable for skills based training, and allow you to earn while you learn. Through these programs, you can gain actual work experience in your chosen field. Here's a list of the different apprenticeship pathways available in fashion.
Work Experience Through Internships
So you can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job! An age-old problem for graduates - and it’s fierce out there in the fashion and textile industries. Should you take on an unpaid internship? The exploitation of young creatives has been widely publicised over the past few years, and although regulation hasn’t changed entirely, many people are waking up to the fact that it is not on. Know your rights and choose carefully; if you feel uncomfortable with what you’re being asked to do, you don’t have to take it, no matter how ‘big’ the label is.
Of course unpaid internships aren’t all evil. Many young creatives find their experiences invaluable, and a great coup on their CV. However, unpaid work isn’t an option for many people out there, which has become a real problem in the creative industries.
The key to landing an internship with the organisation that inspires you is proper planning. Once you get offered this chance, carry out your internship with dedication and make maximum use of the opportunity. Acquire knowledge and become methodical in what you do. In certain cases you may even be fortunate enough to receive an actual job offer towards the end of a successful internship.
Tips For Getting Your Foot In The Door
To get into the design industry you'll need secure an interview. Build up a network of contacts in the industry, as references can help you land that valuable first interview. There's a saying, "It's not what you know. It's who you know", and that couldn't be more true in this instance.
Professional communication skills are essential to making yourself seen and heard. To impress a potential employer, you should have an attractive resume and covering letter, as well a great portfolio that showcases your talents and best work.
Research as much as you can about your chosen target, insider knowledge will give you an edge over those unprepared candidates.
Professional appearance and attitude will impress employers in person, but before you even get to the interview stage; remember, we live in the age of Google, and your potential employer will more than likely use it. In the creative industries, if you’re aiming to get a design job it's almost a given that you will have a website or blog to show off your designs. Many university courses encourage this, so keep it up by updating it regularly.
Although much drier than other social media platforms, LinkedIn In is a particularly useful tool for making professional connections, so ensure yours has all your relevant and updated information. Give your other accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram a quick once over and make sure there is nothing that might put employers off. Pinterest is also a great platform for curating a selection of images that show off your amazing taste.
Once You’re There
Thorough knowledge and the inclination to learn are other factors potential employers look out for, and once you break into the industry, your dedication shouldn't wane. Take the initiative, and be enthusiastic about learning and acquiring new skills. Try to be resourceful, step out of your comfort zone and use every learning opportunity that comes your way. Volunteer for the more undesirable jobs, as well as the great ones. It will make you stand out. Remember, you won’t be doing this entry-level stuff forever. If you're just stuck making coffees, for goodness sakes make small talk with the boss, the heads of department and employees while you're handing them out. You never know what role may open up, and if you're the smiley, helpful intern they remember, you're a step ahead of the other candidates.
By now, you should have a good idea of what you will need to get started with a career in fashion. However, you may still not know where to look for opportunities. My next post will introduce you to a list of places where you can find jobs in the fashion sector - so, stay tuned!
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