Few public relations jobs are more exciting, fast-paced and competitive than those in the fashion industry - but, if you are trying to kick-start your career, finding that first opportunity can be daunting.
Fashion PR jobs attract hundreds of applicants but, like any industry, there are ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd - boosting your chances of both finding and landing a position when the time comes.
It goes without saying, in the working world, employers are more inclined towards candidates with relevant experience - and the fashion industry is no different. There are plenty of ways to gain industry work experience but, given the competitiveness and pressure of fashion PR, the majority of employees begin their journey by studying for an undergraduate degree in a relevant field.
Although PR jobs in fashion may not stipulate a specific academic field, certain degree subjects obviously carry more weight, including courses in English, Media, Journalism and, of course, Fashion and Design. University degrees are more than just a way to gain industry knowledge - but can also offer students valuable connections in the form of professional 'work placement' modules - and the chance to land internships with fashion professionals.
Students can apply for internships throughout their course of study: positions are varied and there are a range of websites to help prospective candidates find the right opportunity. While a specific 'PR' role is obviously ideal, any kind of industry work experience is going to be valuable in the eyes of employers. Rather than worrying about what kind of work you are doing, concentrate on impressing your employer in the tasks assigned to you.
For some lucky interns, a successful stint with a company may lead to on-going employment after they graduate. For everyone else, having a university degree and an internship under your belt is a great position from which to start going to interviews.
The keys to getting an interview are research and persistence. Candidates should explore the background of their prospective employers before they apply and make sure they understand their company's philosophy in order to push the right kind of buttons in their application letter. Given how competitive fashion PR is, it is always a good idea to look into associated roles which will allow you to move into public relations down the line. Flexibility is a strength, especially in the multi-faceted world of fashion: PR assistant jobs, secretarial or any media-oriented roles often suit moves into fully-fledged public relations positions - and are worth including in your job search if only for the interview experience they can provide.
Personality or Skill?
While the fashion world can be glitzy and glamorous, PR jobs, more often than not, take place behind the scenes - involving long hours and an ability to work on your own initiative. The most successful PR executives are just as good at working with people as they are with press and media - employers will be looking at your personality as much as your job suitability when choosing candidates to fill vacant positions.
Landing your first PR job takes dedication and an ability to show your employers something more than a working knowledge of the fashion industry. It may not be enough to simply spot opportunities around the fashion landscape - you will also need to be in the best possible position to seize them before anyone else!
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