Monday, August 5, 2013

Tips on getting a job in fashion - interview with Kathy Allison, HR Manager at

HR manager from, Kathy Allison shares some tips with us on how to get your foot in the door in the fashion industry.

What work experience or what jobs can students do on campus to make them stand out in the application process?
Work experience needs to be as relevant as possible. This could include applying for internships in the fashion industry, however we value experience in the fashion retail side too. Look for as many opportunities as possible to get great experience to make you stand out from the crowd. Determination and persistence pays off! As well as job experience we do like to see candidates that showcase their talents on blogs. Being an online retailer gives us an expectation that applicants are online savvy. Blogs are a great way of determining applicant’s style, personality and their knowledge of the fashion world, if you have not already started; I’d suggest you get typing away now!

What key skills should students look to develop whilst at university to be successful in this industry?
This is an industry which requires passion and dedication, team work and creativity. Being able to work alongside many strong characters in a productive team is essential for all of our roles, as is being able to balance commercial thinking with creativity – including a creative approach to problem solving. Be prepared to enter a business that is fast moving with tight deadlines, this is why we stress you need to be able to work well within a team. Candidates should be prepared to sleep, eat and breathe fashion!

What is the best way to seek work experience, is it worth sending speculative applications?
Speculative applications can be effective, but the key is in making sure you are targeting the right person, and also being unique. Some of the most memorable speculative applications we have received have been messages on T Shirts, handcrafted teddy bears with our logo, and beautifully packaged CV’s. Most recently in the marketing department we received ‘a message in a bottle’ CV carefully folded into a glass bottle, it certainly encouraged us to open it! If you are applying for a creative role it’s a great way to showcase your talents.

Are there any websites they should be reading in order to be aware of the latest fashion trends? When looking at the latest fashion trends, the usual sources like WGSN and Drapers Record are as relevant as ever. However, looking at fashion bloggers, online magazines and being aware of street style is equally important. Everyone at the office trawl the web on fashion weeks to see what the designers are pulling out on the catwalk for the following season. Use as many different sources as possible and keep an eye on the mainstream fashion press too. Working in fashion is about having that eye for the next big trend and how that can travel down to the high street.

What should you wear at your fashion interview?
For interviews at boohoo we always say don’t wear a suit! Think about the role you are going for and the business you are applying to. We like to see candidates who manage to blend professionalism with a fashion spin, something that also brings across your personality. It’s not always easy to pull off! At the same time we understand there are some fashion trends (for example hot pants) which would not work in a meeting room. Like we said before not an easy task, but most employers make an assumption on a person in the first 30 seconds they meet them, so make sure those seconds count!

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