We've all heard it ... 'you need experience to get experience', so how on earth do you get your first internship?! Think of it as a domino effect; once you get your first one, boom, you are off. But how? Read our pointers on how to get started on your career path with no experience.
1. GET A SATURDAY JOB
Get yourself a Saturday (or part-time) job somewhere fashion-based such as Topshop or H&M. This is a perfect IN into the industry. Not only can you actually put this on your CV, but it’s also a chance to worm your way further into the company. Pick up contacts whilst you are there which will help you get closer to a future role. If a certain area of fashion appeals to you (such as styling or visual merchandising) ask to work in that area in the shop; and build up those skills.
I have a friend who had a Saturday job on the shop floor at Topshop throughout college. She became really interested in Visual Merchandising (the window displays etc), so she asked to dress the windows and they let her! She started doing more and more and just grew in that area. When she moved to London she transferred and subsequently got a role as Visual Merchandiser at the Topshop there. She then went on to work at Selfridges and is now super successful VM for big events. See, it works!!
2. CALL IN THE FAVOURS
Do you have any friends or family that can give you some work experience? Even for two weeks, it's still experience! It doesn’t have to be fashion related, just make sure on your CV you list duties that ACTUALLY RELATE to the role you are applying for. For example; your family friend, Bob, may own a print shop, but you want to intern in a fashion design studio. A RELEVANT duty could be:
‘I organised and oversaw the production of products; ensuring premium quality control throughout’.
3. GET INVOLVED IN 'LIVE PROJECTS'
Get involved in collaborations and industry competitions and create projects of your own (such as a blog, Uni magazine or help at events). Showing you go that extra mile will win you big points with prospective employers and it’s great content for your portfolio and CV.
When I was at Uni, I worked with a fashion design student and created her personal branding. This was a strong project for the graphic design internships I was applying to. Don't be shy, reach out to students at your Uni and see if you can collab in some way!
TOP TIP: Adding live projects to your CV is a great way to bulk it out if the 'Experience' section is looking a bit empty.
4. GET NETWORKING
Networking at fashion-related industry EVENTS is a fab way to secure potential opportunities. Meeting someone face-to-face and making a great first impression is so much more powerful than sending an email. If you meet someone and it’s a brand you want to work for, don’t be shy - ask if they could offer you any experience opportunities!
For tips and advice relating to opportunities post-COVID, check out these blog posts here