Are you looking for a job in the fashion industry? Wondering how you can increase your chances of success whilst still at university? In this blog post, Fashion Design student Alisha Hassan explains how she got her placement to increase her employability.
I am a second year undergraduate student, studying Fashion design and have secured a 6 month placement at an upcoming menswear company based in London, called Sir Plus. Quite a large majority of Fashion Design students undertake a placement year, so I have been able to talk to final year students regarding different companies, and how they applied.
Preparation is key
Firstly before I began the application process I visited the Careers Centre website to improve my CV, this helped me to understand the importance of tailoring my CV for each specific job role and placement that I was applying for. The Careers Centre website has a variety of resources to help you with improving your CV; in addition to Covering Letters which was useful! As your CV is the first thing the employer sees, it must give an accurate impression of you and your skills. However it is crucial that your CV is targeted, employers don’t want to read generic information, you should apply your skills to the specific job role; whilst keeping the brand ethos in mind.
I wanted to make my CV accurate and interesting, especially as I was applying for design industry based placements; so I included some illustrations I did for one of my menswear projects, in the background, with reduced opacity so the text was still clear as that is the most important thing. My CV is skills based rather than the traditional type but there are examples of both on the Careers Centre website and Pinterest.
Getting the Interview
I corresponded with the company via email and phone; and then I was asked to come to London for an interview. This was my first placement interview, so didn’t really know what to expect! Therefore I decided to visit the Careers Centre to see if they had any advice. I firstly went to the drop-in and spoke to a Careers Advisor. We talked about doing background research on the company, for instance looking at the press responses and being commercially aware. I then decided to book a mock interview to allow me to prepare more fully.
The mock interview was extremely helpful, as it was one to one, and was flexible in relation to the format I wanted. I was able to take my feedback and question sheets with me, which allowed me to reflect on, and improve my responses. I was advised to use the STAR method, Situation, Task, Action and Result, when answering competency based questions as this enabled me to set my answers out more clearly and concisely rather than giving irrelevant information. I was therefore linking my skills and experience to specific questions, and this built my confidence.
When I went to my interview I felt prepared after having a practice one, and felt I could answer questions more competently. I thought the interview went well and after some more email exchanging; I secured a placement!
1. Don’t panic! I was given a last minute blog post and questionnaire to fill out on the day, but managed to complete it in time. You have got the skills!
2. Ensure you can talk through your portfolio with confidence and relate it to the role, for instance a design placement or pattern cutting placement.
3. Be prepared, if you have prepared your CV, Covering Letter and had some interview practice it all adds up, you will feel less nervous on the day (hopefully!).