We all know the fashion industry is…tough to say the least. You’re competing with hundreds of girls who are just as passionate and qualified as you for every opportunity. I’m currently going through the career job search now, and let me tell you, the struggle is real. But I do find solace in hearing advice and what others went through. We all have our own path; that can be hard to remember at times like this! I wanted to share some of what I learned from my experience to provide some advice and comfort to those going through it.
Don’t Give Up the Search
In my search, I pretty much applied to whatever openings were available. I was dying for any type of experience- I don’t even know how many companies I applied to before I finally got just an interview. And that can be disheartening! Were my cover letters and resumes, which I spent hours on for each individual company, going into a virtual wasteland? It’s hard not to get sucked into a hole of negativity. I’ll talk about this later, but don’t give up. Put out positive energy and you’ll get it back when the time is right. You are giving yourself more of a chance to find something the more you apply to different positions. I love the quote “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit”. Even if things seem bleak, never throw in the towel and don’t let it defeat you.
I learned a lot about my own personal strengths and weaknesses and how to manage them while working. One of my strengths is my adaptability. I’ve found that I’m good at adjusting to the needs of any given situation, and I help in any way I can. I like having the chance to put my hands in more than one pot because it’s always a learning opportunity that will give you a skill you can use in the future. But, one of my weaknesses is my perfectionist nature. I tend to think that the work I produce isn’t good enough instead of having confidence knowing I did the best job I could do. It’s so important to be in tune with who you are and what you bring to the table so that you can maximize the quality of the work you produce.
The Value of Hardwork
Many fashion higher-ups say that when you’re first paying your dues in the industry to work hard. This has become such a standard, general piece of advice that it has kind of lost its meaning. Hardwork means different things to everyone, and you may find yourself in a situation where you feel yourself working hard but it may not be enough in another’s eyes. Be present in every work-related situation- that way you understand the dynamic of your environment and you understand how to be valued. In my experience I participated in other business areas where they needed help (E-Commerce, Retail, Operations, etc.), and I never said no. I stayed late and made sure every piece of work I produced was finished and the best it could be. I was given a lot of opportunities to prove myself, and not everyone is so lucky. But that’s why it’s important to give everything you got into everything you do.
Hardwork also led me to getting paid at all of my internship experiences. I will be honest and say that at certain points I found my motivation waning. It’s hard to consistently be putting in work and not getting anything in return- especially being in college and having things to pay for. But I always reminded myself, and you should remember too, that everything you’re doing has meaning and how you do it is a reflection on you. A positive attitude, eagerness, and conscientiousness don’t go unnoticed. I feel like it was those qualities about my work ethic that made the difference. [However, I’m still a strong believer that all interns should be paid.]
Through my experiences, I’ve learned that the energy you give is the energy you receive back. It’s easy to find yourself falling down the negative rabbit hole- I’m there myself plenty of times. But that negative energy will manifest itself into what you want and will have a negative impact. You have to actively move past that and focus on remaining positive and visualizing what you dream of doing. Like I said earlier, everyone has their own path. Know that there is only so much in your control, and things will come together when the time is right.
Personally I’ve had a positive industry experience and can’t speak higher of the companies I worked for. I felt my work and character were appreciated at both. I have so much admiration and respect for the women who have mentored me. Another great place to find professional advice is the CollegeFashionista Office Hours Podcast! I recently listened to the one with Alyssa Coscarelli from Refinery29 and it was so insightful. Definitely recommend giving them a listen if you’re looking for more understanding of the fashion industry.
Remember that you are capable. There is a part of you that is special- despite many professionals reminding us that we aren’t and we can easily be replaced. Your energy and your character are what set you apart from others, and it’s important to let that shine. You will find your place when the time is right!