Applying for a job in fashion can be very competitive. It is also a reasonably long process, which will involve searching job listings, preparing and writing CVs and cover letters, updating your portfolio and taking part in interviews.
You should consider each step of this process as a means to get onto the next. Each time you will need to stand out of the crowd and highlight what makes you a strong candidate. Under ‘Work’, in our menu above, you will find a series of guides to help you write an effective fashion CV, compose the ideal cover letter, edit your portfolio and conduct the best interview.
- What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter
- What makes for a good CV
- What to include in a fashion CV
- How to organise your CV
- Customise your CV for different fashion jobs
- Online CV and LinkedIn
- How to Design your fashion CV
- 5 Key points to remember
What is the difference between a CV and a cover letter
Think of the CV and the cover letter as two complementary tools that will help you get that first interview. Use your CV to provide objective, factual information about you. Although your CV may mention the position you are looking for, explain in your cover letter why you are interested in the job and why you are the best candidate for it.
Your CV should show the kind of person you are; do not try and explain the person you think you are! There is little point saying, “I am a hard working dedicated person” as you say so yourself, instead list in your CV examples of your hard work and dedication.
What makes for a good CV
Your future employer probably receives hundreds of application for one single position. Your CV must stand out. It must provide all the information necessary and be memorable. You may be able to differentiate yourself by the experiences and skills you have already gained. Your CV can also make an impression by being effective and individual.
Whatever you do remember the people who are going to review your application have little time. They need to be able to skim your CV easily to find the relevant information.
What to include in a fashion CV
All CVs contain, for the most part, the same headings. Essential information such as education and experience must be included. What about all the other aspects of your life? What information can you include that would help you get that first interview? What makes you unique?
The best way to find out is to brainstorm, alone, with friends or relatives, all the things you’ve done in your life. All could be included in your CV as long as they make a point about your suitability for the job. This brainstorming approach is particularly useful when you are young and feel you lack experience. It will also help clarify your thoughts and give you a greater sense of direction.
If you have any publications or awards to your name then make sure they get on. You can also include charity fundraising, volunteering and any other activities in your CV. They will say so much about you, and you can probably say a lot about them. What did you do and learn? How did you do it and how did it go? What can you take from this as an experience? Answers to those questions will help you identify what you have learned from each experience and what they demonstrate about you. This in turn will help you decide which experience you should include in your CV.
How to organise your CV
Put the most relevant information first. If you have work experience that is directly relevant for the position you’re applying for, put that ahead of your education. Yes, your qualifications are important but direct and relevant experience will differentiate you more. This means that you should probably organise you CV in an anti-chronological order, mentioning your latest achievements first.
In order to help people easily find the information they are looking for, CV are traditionally organised by section such as: Work Experience, Qualifications, Languages, Extra Curricular Activities, Office Skills, etc.
The maximum length of your CV should be between one and two pages. Anything less than half a page is too little, much more than one page is too much. Being concise is key, be sure not to have long paragraphs of text. Be ruthless; if you wouldn’t say it then don’t write it.
Customise your CV for different fashion jobs
Make sure to clearly outline any skills that directly relate to the position, the employer or its business. The same applies to anything else that may be relevant.
Make your CV relevant to each position and job you apply for. A CV that suits any job would be a very bland CV, and unlikely to get you any job at all. This may mean adapting and modifying your CV with every type of job you are considering. Sounds like too much work? It will be time well spent if it gets you an interview.
Online CV and LinkedIn
Having a presence online might be very useful. It should include your CV and a version of your portfolio. Head-hunter and recruitment agencies use LinkedIn to identify and contact potential candidates; create a profile and update it regularly.
Being online helps potential employers to find you; and when they are interested but do not have a job for you right know, follow your progress. Having a strong presence on social media will also help. Remember that everyone can see the information you put online, keep it suitable to all the jobs and companies you might target.
How to design your fashion CV
Your CV needs to ‘represent’ you as much as possible. If you’re applying for a specific creative role, you might be able to showcase relevant skills in the design of your CV. Make it stand out, show some flair and creativity. Why not include pictures where appropriate for example – pay attention to the space available, you want a maximum of two pages. Remember too that a good CV makes the relevant information easy to find.
Keep your CV consistent. If you use bullet points for one section and not another, your CV will look less appealing.
Make sure the language you use is correct and appropriate. Do not abbreviate or shorten words unnecessarily. At the same time, using correct abbreviations where necessary will show a knowledge and understanding of the business and its aspects. Make sure you’re constantly checking your grammar and punctuation; obvious mistakes send a bad image.
5 Key Points
- Be direct – apply your CV to the employer. Make it relevant to them and the business.
- Be affirmative – You need to appear confident without being over confident. Use of passive phrases will not help you.
- Be concise – No long paragraphs. People have little time will be making their decision based on a skim read.
- Be consistent – Use the same layouts and formatting.
- Be correct – correct use of grammar and punctuation is key. This is something simple to sort out and the time you put in will show.