Fashion PR is a tough industry to break into and often it can be difficult to determine what steps will help you transition to the industry. There are six things you can do over the next few months to help jump-start and transition into your career into a communications position within the fashion industry
Know thyself and learn about the industry
We run a really amazing intern program out of our NY office and every semester we get hundreds of applicants and only select two to three lucky students to enter our program. Interns get hands on experience with exercises and lessons aimed at building their portfolio. One thing I have noticed is that after students see what fashion PR is really all about, they often don’t want to pursue it any longer. There is a lot of monotonous work in the fashion PR world and you are often behind the scenes watching the glamour happen while you work. Make sure you know what it’s really about. Read books and articles about the industry and try to schedule a few informational interviews with people in the industry.
There is a lot of monotonous work in the fashion PR world and you are often behind the scenes watching the glamour happen while you work.
Get experience through volunteer work
It can be hard to find the time to volunteer when you have a full time job, but if you are truly committed to changing careers, you can find time to volunteer for organizations that are connected in some way to the industry. Consider joining a local women’s organization like Junior League and volunteer on their fundraising committee. Why fundraising? Because typically the fundraising arm of a service organizations that cater to women work with a lot of fashion brands. You will get exposure to key contacts in your area and learn about the relationship between the fashion industry and non-profits. It might also be worth your time to take some vacation time to volunteer in New York or another city during fashion week. IMG is the organization that runs New York Fashion Week in the “tents” and many other fashion weeks around the world. They have a very structured and valuable volunteer program with people of all ages participating. Update your resume with relevant fashion experience and you’ll have an easier time landing those initial interviews for fashion PR job openings.
Read all about it
The more your read about the industry, the more you will learn and begin to naturally pick up on industry lingo, trends and potential opportunities for you to make a change. You’re already on the right path by reading PR Couture. The blog is full of posts from seasoned professionals with practical how-to guides on how to actually perform tasks required of fashion publicists. Crosby Noricks’ book, Ready to Launch is pretty much the beginner’s bible to fashion PR, and DKNY PR Girl Aliza Licht just released Leave Your Mark, a riveting read for anyone interested in a real, Devil Wears Prada rise to the top, plus a ton of career and social media advice.
Also, tap into fashion trade publications like WWD and Accessories magazine. Add editors, fashion PR agencies and other fashion industry leaders and PR agencies to your Twitter and Instagram feed. Check social media at least twice a day, clicking and read article links, and discover more people to know by seeing who is being tagged in photos. In today’s fast paced world, dominated by abbreviations and 140 character sentences, those who are continuing to actively read and learn are the ones who will forge ahead.
Meet and greet
If you want to make a career change it is time to dust off your dancing shoes (figuratively speaking) and get out there. Search online for fashion industry meet up groups and upcoming industry conferences and, here’s the rub, actually attend the events. I find meeting strangers utterly terrifying, but when I force myself to get out there and socialize, good things happen. Other great places to network are in-store events at larger department stores – make sure you are on email lists to find out about these events. The key here is to try and attend daytime events as you will find more industry people attending as part of their work. Also try to join local professional groups related to the PR or the fashion industry. Connect with their leadership explaining your desire to transition and ask for any helpful materials or programs they may have.
I find meeting strangers utterly terrifying, but when I force myself to get out there and socialize, good things happen.
Take a graphic design or photography course
Having design skills has become a such an added value for anyone working in fashion PR. It’s also difficult and time consuming to teach a new hire. Being able to demonstrate competency in Photoshop or Illustrator, as well as product, event and basic photography skills is a great way to show potential employers that you understand how the industry is changing and have the ability to work with design programs if necessary. Sites like Udemy offer really great, comprehensive courses that will develop your skills in no time.
Visualize yourself in the job you want
Incorporating visualization into your routine is an important part of making a dream reality. Take five minutes each day to visualize yourself actually carrying out the tasks of your dream job. Imagine your outfit, checking your email, on phone calls, running around at an event and whatever you think the job entails. This will help you in multiple ways, even if you don’t believe in the power of visualization. You will discover areas that you may need more development such as writing or public speaking and will likely get other ideas of ways to develop your skill set or network through visualizing different scenarios.
Take five minutes each day to visualize yourself actually carrying out the tasks of your dream job.
Making a career change is never easy, but the 6 steps outlined above will give you everything you need to make a change and thrive in the exciting and fast paced world of fashion PR.
Image via: Huffington Post