So you’ve dreamed of a job in the fashion industry almost as long as you’ve been riding a bike without training wheels, and now you’ve decided to stop dreaming and go for it. Or maybe you’ve already had a few entry-level fashion jobs and have your sights set on a particular position that just opened up. How do you write a resume that will attract attention and help you land an interview?
In many ways, a resume for a job in the fashion industry isn’t that different from a resume for other professional positions. If you have the experience, show it off. If you don’t, highlight the types of skills that would appeal to any employer. Let’s take a look at both situations.
If you have relevant experience
If you have relevant experience, you want to demonstrate how that experience will benefit your potential employer. To that end, concentrate on your prospective employer’s needs, not your own. Read the job description carefully for clues as to what those needs are. You can also read trade publications, news stories, and the company’s own website to find out what their current goals and challenges are. Are they losing market share? Having supply chain problems?
Once you understand the company’s needs, tailor your resume to match. Choose some key phrases from the job description and include them in your resume. Highlight how you’ve accomplished similar goals for other employers, and, whenever possible, quantify those accomplishments with numbers:
- Increased sales by 22%
- Shortened lead time by two weeks
- Increased market share by 5%
If you don’t have relevant experience
What if you don’t have relevant experience? That shouldn’t be a problem if you’re applying for an entry-level job (the fashion industry typically requires people to start at the bottom and work their way up). Instead of focusing on accomplishments, highlight characteristics that would be attractive to any employer:
- Eager to learn
- Able to think on your feet and solve problems
And then there are characteristics that are particularly important in the fashion industry:
- Able to quickly shift gears
- Able to meet deadlines
- Able to work in a fast-paced environment
- Hard-working and flexible
- Willing to take risks
- Aware of developing trends
Once you’ve got a resume that’s chock-full of all the qualities your prospective employer is looking for, it’s time to step back and look at your resume with an objective eye:
- Is everything spelled correctly? Are you sure? (Don’t rely on spellcheck!)
- Have you used a lot of action words like achieved, accomplished, created, increased, reduced, etc.?
- Have you quantified your accomplishments with numbers whenever possible?
- Have you included key words and phrases from the job description? (This is especially important now that many resumes are initially screened by computers.)
- Have you focused on what you can do for the company rather than on what the company can do for you?
- Have you written a cover letter that sums up your qualifications? If you have no experience in the fashion industry, does your cover letter highlight characteristics that would be of particular value to the company?
A career in the fashion industry is full of excitement, drama, change, and – sometimes! – glamour. But employers in the fashion industry are looking for the same thing as other employers: candidates who can solve their problems for them. If you write a resume that illustrates exactly how you can do that, you’ll have taken your first step toward a career in the fashion industry.
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