Networking in the Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is a vibrant and social one, with many events presenting great opportunities to meet new professional contacts. Jobs in fashion are competitive, and anyone who achieves a successful career in fashion does so through a lot of dedication.
People work extremely hard to get their fashion job, and don’t rest once in the industry. The upshot of this is that the fashion industry is full of very driven and motivated individuals, which with the right attitude makes for a stimulating and exciting professional environment.
Work hard, play hard?
While the vast majority of time in a fashion job will be spent working hard, the outwardly glossy industry presents occasions to play hard too! See these events from a career perspective though, and fashion industry parties, PR events and product launches present excellent opportunities to network contacts that may well lead to your next step on the career ladder.
Effective networking can be daunting to the uninitiated, but take the plunge and the rewards for your fashion career can be excellent. Online social networking is becoming a key element in fashion recruitment, but the principle here is nothing new – only the platform. The traditional personal version of networking has always been effective, and will continue to be so - especially in a creative industry where exposure has always been the way to get ahead.
Face-to-face networking builds trust and credibility in a way that websites, Linkedin and social media channels can never do – they are just assistants in the process.
Tips and techniques for effective networking:
- First things, first – get out there. Research and select events where you think there will be people present who you may want to work with. Don’t be put off by a ticket fee, in effect they are likely to improve the quality of the event by only attracting people with serious intent.
- Prior preparation: put thought into your appearance and how you present yourself – think about how you will answer key questions. Openers such as “So what do you do?” should be met with a clear and considered response, not simply your job title. Take this opportunity to communicate your professional interests and motivations by expanding on an aspect of your job that you enjoy. This will leave a positive impression of enthusiasm and show you are an engaging personality.
- “Elevator pitch”: Following on from the point above, give some prior thought to your “elevator pitch”: a personal ‘sales pitch’ of one or two sentences that sums up what you do, where you are now, and where you want to go. This may sound daunting at first but if you give it some careful thought you will be able to distil it down appropriately. Going to an event with this up your sleeve will give you confidence and a strong sense of purpose.
- Practice patience and persistence! Making that next step will not happen overnight, it will take many events and good deal of hard work – but that shouldn’t be a problem, you work in fashion after all!Which events have you found most useful for fashion career networking?
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