Online fashion retailer boohoo.com spoke to their team about landing a job in fashion. Top tips from the experts:
Despite the obvious uncertainty in the current UK jobs market, it’s comforting to see that most employers are considering recruiting more graduates in 2013 than previous years, and are looking at ways to take on more in the future. (Times Top 100 graduate employers) Despite this hope, competition is still fierce.
Whether you’re interested in a career in marketing, branding, advertising, fashion or PR, or you know exactly where you want to be, the best advice on how to get there can often come from the people who are already. With this in mind, we asked the Creative Director, the Online Marketing Manager and a Social Media Assistant from one of the leading online fashion retailers, boohoo.com, what it takes to land a job interview with some of the most successful online fashion brands in the UK.
Before the interview, before your crucial first few days on the job, before anything, your application is your most important chance to showcase your skills and get your foot in the door. George Burton is the creative manager at boohoo and has a small but perfectly formed in-house full-service creative studio George notes “we also like to think of ourselves as visual marketers with creative stories to tell. Combining breath-taking design, compelling narrative and cutting-edge technology, we use every tool in our arsenal to illuminate what makes our product and services special.”
In addition to implementing the brand globally, the boohoo creative team also offers expert digital development and outstanding content creation to support its marketing needs in local, regional and global applications.
We asked him what he feels young graduates need to consider when applying for positions within a large brand. He told us: ‘When creating a portfolio or tailoring your CV, choose to include examples of work that inspire and stand out, ones that you know have impressed the audience in the past’. In design terms, this could mean at galleries and graduate shows, but for all industries, his advice applies to fairs, on your blog, or over social media shares. In the worlds of fashion, marketing, media, blogging, design… the list is endless – we all need to be able to showcase our previous achievements.
‘Although you may think this is blindingly obvious advice, you do need to stand out from the crowd! I think you could do this by making your application creative, so that people remember it’. So, if you’re skilled in Adobe Photoshop, don’t just tell your prospective employer this: show them. We’ve heard of all sorts of cool, creative and daring CV’s over the years, even a CV in a bottle and printed on a t-shirt!
You should apply in person whenever possible. Hand-deliver your application from – don’t just email it. This allows you the chance to meet with the company first hand, building relationships in an early stage. Having them remember you by your smile and handshake may seem daunting to graduates, but it will work in your favour. If you get an interview, then the ice is already broken. Converse with the receptionist, a doorman, anyone who is around whilst you’re waiting for your appointment or interview. The chances are, the CEO won’t make time for your impromptu visit, but good impressions will filter through to him by word of mouth.
Some final advice from George? ‘The most important thing to consider is that your portfolio should be relevant to the role and the brand you’re applying for, so do as much research beforehand as possible and tailor yourself accordingly.’
A busy marketing manager of a leading fashion brand may receive a hundred CV’s every day from hopeful graduates. We asked Sophie Lockard, the Online Marketing Manager at boohoo what she looks for when recruiting.
“Keep your CV relatively brief and clear. Focus primarily on bold headings and bullet pointing. And always remember to include a summary at the top of your CV: It’s important for busy employers and HR managers who may have hundreds of CVs to read, to get an instant feel for your skills and experience from the first few lines. They’re often the determining factor.”
“As companies receive so many CVs, often the applicants that have stood out to me personally have been the ones who have chased up the Human Resources department or emailed me directly through LinkedIn.” So, let your determination show! Don’t be afraid to follow up if you haven’t heard anything for a while; employers value persistency and an ability to fight corners very highly.
The importance of social media
Try to imagine yourself as a brand, and promote that brand. The biggest way of showing your passion for your chosen career and your capabilities within that realm is indeed to live it – and show this through a blog you create. For example, you should showcase all your ideas, writing, inspiration and outfits on a fashion blog in order to attract attention from the fashion brands you want to work with, or for. You could even analyse successful PR stunts or case studies from your chosen career-area that you’ve found whilst researching the internet.
‘Candidates who can show they have a sound knowledge and interest in social channels will have an immediate advantage over others for social media roles in many companies, as it shows you have an extracurricular passion for the business outside of the 9-5 hours’, Sophie told us.
Media, PR, marketing, design, fashion…. You name it. They’re all very fast paced industries, and require people who can think on their feet. ‘Social media literally never sleeps’ says Alex Blythin, a young social media assistant at boohoo. Alex is responsible for managing boohoo’s twitter, Polyvore, Google+, Pinterest and Vine accounts, as well as liaising with bloggers. ‘There are always new trends, new apps, new opinions, and new social media platforms, so we have to make sure that we’re there first to jump on them!’
It’s therefore imperative to keep abreast of any new developments via online channels and social sharing. Always keep up to date on relevant industry news websites and share your findings and opinions with others on your own social media channels.
Keep abreast with industry news and graduate opportunities of opportunities, and interact with others just like you by following these accounts on Twitter:
Image Credits: boohoo.com