Lets face it, job hunting in NYC is a full-time career in itself. Each glossy,new opportunity you have viewed, rest assured someone more talented and hungrier has seen the same opportunity, and is going to “pull out all stops” to be the first in line to get hired. Here are a few of my recommendations to not only get that “first phone call”, but ace the design interview, on your way to fashion corporate excellence.
1. Your Resume should be a short “Best Seller”, they can’t put it down.
v. re·sumed, re·sum·ing, re·sumes
1. To begin or take up again after interruption: resumed our dinner.
2. To assume, take, or occupy again: The dog resumed its post by the door.
3. To take on or take back again: resumed my original name.
Short and Concise is Preferable Please:
When you send in a resume’ you are attempting to assume, take, or occupy again, another bigger and brighter opportunity. One major rule with resume’s is that many think quantity means quality, and that is NOT true. Many HR department heads, design directors,etc. are viewing MANY resume’s for the same position, and many of them have the attention spans of butterflies. Keep your resume’ short (2 pages , cover letter, then main resume) should suffice. I don’t care if you have been in the industry since christ was turning water into wine, choose THE MOST important positions that make you look good, illustrating your talents and versatility as a designer and artist.
2. Stop the “Me and I” factor:
Take a look at your current resume, it should NEVER have either me or I, but rather we. Companies LOVE, ( like a fat kid in a cake factory) to see applicants that are team players, working and integrating well with an all ready established design team. The apparel industry is an industry that requires hard work, and much of that will be done on your own, depending on your position, but employers want to see that you can play well with others.
3. Expand your world out side fashion:
Many job hunters do not know this, but employers like to know that you are a “caring part of society”. Try to involve yourself in a few volunteer “feel good” opportunities that revolve around the fashion industry. Volunteering your time to a few worth will events looks great on your resume for many reasons, one it shows that your not a “raving , egotistical bitch”, but instead a talented designer that has a well-rounded life outside of fashion. This can also be an opportunity to make some BEAUTIFUL friendships and connections during these events.
4. Become a “Reference Nazi”:
This means include ONLY quality JOBS , PERSONS and or INDIVIDUALS that will make you look great. As a freelance fashion designer, I have many clients, and many are start-ups. As much as I love all of my clients and enjoy their faith in my talent, unfortunately, there are a few I would NEVER give as references. These individuals come across inarticulate and sometimes indecisive. Though that is an asset for me as their creative service provider, my potential employer will NOT look at this reference as a “quality reference”. Make sure your references are of individuals that are articulate and engaging, if possible,
5. Follow-Up means I Care:
I have been in hiring positions, and I ALWAYS consider heavily the individuals that understand the fine conversational art of “following up”. Believe it or not, many applicants DO NOT receive positions because of they do understand that after initial contact with the employer, there is a need to continue to build a “relationship”. After a resume is sent, wait a few days, and send a follow-up letter or phone call, thanking them for their time, re-interating your talents and interest in that company. I have instructed a few of my proteges to even send flowers and a thank you card, if the interviewer was a female, (oh hell, if he was a male, send flowers as well) I had this done once when I was design director of a company, and I was “gob-smacked”. I remember it was a hard, stressful day and SUDDENLY, a simple, but beautiful bouquet sitting on my desk.Needless to say, the applicant got the job within 5 minutes of me seeing my beautiful flowers! If you want the job, think of creative, thoughtful ways to say “thank you for this wonderful opportunity”. It comes across as classy and shows that you have intuitive. Do understand, only do this once, or your come across as “stalker-ish and creepy”. This “tactic of kindness” works WELL head-hunters, as you will ALWAYS be the first on their list to contact for juicy positions.
These are only a few of the tips that I have acquired through the years in this industry. Stay tuned for part 2 of this blog series, where I will discuss how to create a stellar, and innovative portfolio presentation. I will also be teaching a seminar at the Learning Annex, here in NYC in the near future, so stay tuned for more details.
Happy Job Hunting:)