Considering a career in the fashion industry can seem like a gamble. You win some, you lose some but you have to learn how to play the game, keep betting and keep going until you hit the jackpot.
The industry is not for the light-hearted, it’s tough but focusing on your career early on can save you time, money and become beneficial in your job hunt after graduation. With technology today there is no reason that college students are not utilizing the digital space to create a profile, resume and name for themselves. It’s so much possibility in them, so many connections out there to network with and so much experience that you will not get in your classroom.
In any industry when you step into a new job you realize what you learned in class was nothing compared to the work you are doing, especially with the changes over the years. Every student loves to say “late nights, early mornings” but let’s focus on that phrase for a whole different meaning other than pizza, beer and frat parties and check out these ways you can build your fashion career while studying with late nights and early mornings.
Before you start your college career or even if you are already a student looking to refine your steps it’s important that you start with professional goals. Setting goals allows you to focus, keeps you from getting distracted and it personally gives you a sense of comfort. Your professional goals should consist of things you would like to accomplish throughout your career.
After writing down your professional goals try and strengthen your focus even more by creating an action map along with them. If you have a goal down to become a magazine editor, underneath that goal you should have steps you need to take, smaller goals you need to accomplish in order to get there. Get a degree in fashion and/or writing, intern at a fashion magazine or newspaper, start a fashion blog to show your writing style or personality, etc. Realising that when it comes to setting goals, the steps you take to get there are just as important as the overall goal.
College is an experience you will never forget. It’s also an experience you shouldn’t take for granted. No longer are jobs looking for someone with a resume with only a degree listed. You must have something more and using those college years to build your skills, knowledge and volunteering is just as important as your degree. Jobs have downsized and they are looking for the jack of all trades. You should be using every semester to study new things, participate in new fashion opportunities and making sure your resume is diverse and strong.
Even if you don’t want to become the boss or run a whole company it’s imperative that you still learn to act like a leader and think like an innovator. Fashion companies are looking for leaders, quick thinkers, someone that can help move the company forward. Fashion is constantly changing and learning to keep up with those changes and creating the next big thing will keep you in the game. Learn these skills early on in your college career, showcase it in your classes, organizations and even jobs.
Your textbooks gives you the basic information you need to know about the fashion industry and skills that helps in each field but real hands-on experience allows for you to really grow. Reading on how to put a fashion show together is different from actually setting things in motion. Try out the different departments when it comes to putting the fashion show together, learns the ins and outs of making it all come together. You will be more beneficial to a company if you are diverse all across the board.
Yes “Who you know” is very important, but let me tell you a secret it’s really more about “Who knows you.” College students should be spending time online from social media accounts to LinkedIn allowing them to network within the industry. If you are spending your college time making sure you are being active in your career journey, showcasing it online is a great and free way that allows employers to constantly be watching you and seeing if you are a great fit for their company. Following and connecting with companies that you may be interested in working for or with is a great way to stay on their radar. Connect with them, talk and discuss fashion related topics with them online, attend their events. Participating in fashion events, volunteering or even joining professional organizations can help build your connections. In today’s overly driven digital world, get on the radar there is no reason for you not to have connections.
College is one of the most important times in your life and that once in a lifetime opportunity to really get your feet wet, try out different jobs in the industry to see what you love and can see yourself doing for a living. Try taking advantage of this time to actually grow and learn. Build your skill sets up and come out being a strong, talented individual. That’s what companies are looking for, leaders and driven talent with an impeccable sense of understanding for their target market and their company needs.
Featured image: Francisco Osorio