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What does a recruiter for a fashion/retail company look for in entry level candidates?

I would love to work in the fashion industry one day, so i'd like to know how to prepare for interviewing for entry level jobs either during or right out of school. How can I be sure to secure that first interview? What should I be sure to include in my cover letter? Are there any activities etc. that I should definitely have done and on my resume?

#fashion #human-resources #resume #interviews #recruiting #retail

Thank you comment icon Hi, Verizon is hiring! We look for a previous customer service/ sales experience. The benefit package is great! Katie Wiliams

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Subject: Career question for you

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Meghan’s Answer

Hi Stacy!


There are a number of things you can do to put yourself in the best position possible for a career in fashion.


First- which area in fashion do you want to work in? Design, sales, marketing, advertising, buying, pattern making; etc? Fashion is a wide and complex industry with many parts. Before determining what you should do to get there; figure out where you want to go.


Based on your goal- the next step is to declare a major that will allow you to be prepared for that role. Example: If you want to be a Fashion Designer, you want to have a major or courses in fashion design (of course), pattern-making, textiles, auto-cad, graphics, and other arts. If you want to be in on the business side of things- majors or courses in marketing, advertising, corporate communications, finance, and management would be best.


Third, as a student- you want to make sure you have at least one internship under your belt by the time you graduate. Whether a short-term summer internship, or a internship that is long-term throughout the year- find one that is inline with where you want to be. If you're lucky, you may find an internship that pays. However, what should matter in the quality of the experience and the company.


Find a part-time job in the fashion world. Even a job a Sales Associate at a store in your local mall will provide you with first-hand experience in the industry that can build your experience from the ground up, and show where you want to be. Nothing beats learning first hand.


Lastly, join student organizations. Fashion and arts clubs is where you want to be. If one at your school doesn't exist, make your own! Employers love candidates who take on initiative and leadership roles.

Thank you comment icon Thanks so much Meghan! That's the thing, i'm not exactly sure what area of fashion I want to be in.. I just know it's what I'm most interested in. Do you have any recommendations? Stacy
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Renee’s Answer

The key to getting into retail is being persistent and following up with the companies you've applied with. Send an email, make a phone call, or meet with management face to face. Retail management also love to hear the words "open availability" .
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Laney’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team

Hi Stacy! There are many different paths you can take to work in the fashion industry, but first thing to do is decide whether or not you want to be in a more creative role (fashion/ graphic design) or business role (sales planning, marketing, merchandising, PR). There are entry level positions available for both paths so you just have to figure out what is best for you. The Business of Fashion is an online resource that is a great tool to explore. It provides news updates and information on all different types of jobs/internships and even current opportunities available in the fashion industry.

Your cover letter should speak directly to the role and responsibilities that are listed in the job description for the position you are applying for. It is okay to be creative in your cover letter and let your personality shine! For any job in fashion, having experience in retail at a store level always looks good on a resume. You should look for retail positions at fashion houses or brands you are interested in potentially working for at a corporate level because its a great way to get your foot in the door! As far as preparing for an interview, the best thing to do is research the company extensively. It is great to be able to speak to the company values and mission in your interview (and good to mention in your cover letter too!). Further, you want to read over the job description as thoroughly as possible and have examples ready for how you demonstrate the skills for the position. Examples can be minor and do not all have to come from past internship or professional experience (i.e. can talk about school related experiences). It is okay to be creative in how you demonstrate the skills for the job because this is a creative industry at the end of the day. Overall, when you are writing a cover letter or interviewing for any job in the fashion industry, passion is what they are looking for! Communicate your passion for the industry as well as the company's mission, growth, history, and values and you will be just fine!
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Juanita’s Answer

Hi Stacy! I like where your mind is going. From what you responded, you want an entry-level position so you can learn about the fashion career and know which way you want to go. My recommendation is to start by looking for different positions, reading through the job descriptions and the job qualifications. If you get excited about one apply. Your cover letter should translate the why behind your excitement. It is okay to say you are looking for an entry-level and move up with the company.

Once you get your entry-level position, interview team members in different areas of fashion. Find out what they did to get the position they are in. (school, certifications, experience, etc.) This will help build your network and help you find the area you will like to be part of.

Juanita recommends the following next steps:

Build your network
Interview people from different areas in Fashion
Take the next steps based on the information you found (school, certifications, experience, etc.)
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