Do you want to land your dream job at fashion company?
YES, then this post is for you?
I have got this question multiple times from fashion designers, students, social media rockstars; so, I thought let’s dabble into it.
I am going to cover step by step guide that you can use to help your dream job. It’s not easy but if you are willing to put in the work, it could work for you.
I am going to cover 4 steps:
1, Researching the target company
2, What you do before you apply
3, How to apply?
4, After you apply?
Ready? Let’s dive into it.
1, RESEARCHING THE TARGET COMPANY:
This is one of the most crucial steps and is often overlooked. We get so psyched up about working in the fashion industry that we often overlook digging into the company ethos, its culture.
How do you find out the company?
The most obvious sources are their website, blog and about us section. Although, it’s a great place to start but it will only give you company’s perspective & marketing fluff. But if you really want to find how the company is doing, here are few ways.
• Set up Google Alerts for the company.
What would that do?
Whenever anyone mentions that company’s name in news, blogs, articles, press releases etc. you will get an email alert right away. This would give you a better understanding of what people are saying about the company. Are people having positive, average or negative experiences with the brand?
It’s easy to set up.
1, Go to http://www.google.com/alerts/
2, Enter brands name and it will give you following options
3, Click “Create Alert” and that’s it. You will start receiving information regarding the company whenever anyone mentions about them on the web.
• What are its current or previous employees are saying?
One of my favorite places to check that is Glassdoor.com, its review site for companies.
You can call it Yelp for companies. I always check Glassdoor when I am exploring a company and want to hear what its employees, customers are saying about the company.
• Who are its competitors?
You should also check which are its competitors, so you can get a better feel for:
· How competitive their landscape is.
· If they are one of the key players, then you know they are going to be around for a while.
Once you have done initial research, you would know which companies you want to target. At this point, you should have at least 25 companies in your list. The more the better but 25 should give you enough to start on.
Now, you are ready to move to step 2.
2, WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOU APPLY:
a, Find the target person in the department you want to apply for a job.
This involves finding the person you want to connect with. It could be the hiring manager in your department or HR person.
Let’s say I want to get a job in the marketing department, I would find out who is in the department. eg:
• Marketing manager
• Social media manager
• Director of marketing, etc.
Also, find out who is handling the HR department. Because they are guarding the gates that would let your resume thru. Find out who is the HR manager or HR director.
How to find them?
• Company About us page
• Google (search: “company name” + HR manager)
Once you have created a list of their names, it’s time to find out what they are up to. Find out their social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin. I would avoid Facebook because it’s more personal and they might not add you. I would start with Twitter, IG, and Linkedin and add/follow them.
Anyone in the marketing department will be on these 3 platforms.
What to do once you find them on social media?
• Monitor what they are writing about.
• Interact with them with intelligent responses.
• Do that for 2-3 weeks, and then send them a message (if on Twitter) to interact about the topic they are passionate about.
Your goal at this point is to get them to notice you. Not as a creeper but as someone who is interested in the same industry. So do it in a smart way.
How about talking with HR person?
Use similar strategy, find the HR person in the company. The best way to connect with them would be via Linkedin because that’s where they would be most active.
• If they are writing articles on Linkedin, comment on it so they would notice you.
• Send them a personalized message inquire about the company. You can ask about company culture, any particular opening you see in that company or even if they don’t have an opening, you can express interest for the future.
Remember, your goal is to establish a relationship, always keep your focus on that.
b, Attend their events.
If the company is local, find out if they are hosting any meetup events, company tour etc and make sure you attend those. This could serve as great opportunity to meet the specific employees you have been conversing on Twitter, IG, Linkedin.
Drop them a message before you go for the event. eg: send a short message as
“Hey, I see you are hosting a meetup on content marketing, I will be attending it as well. It would be great to meet you while I am there.”
Most likely, they would say Yes and it would be a great way to connect with them face to face.
Note: When you meet them, don’t ask for a job or reference, it might turn them off. Get to know them, connect with them, get them to like you and be smart about it.
This would also offer you the opportunity to get to see if it’s a fun place to work it, how employees interact with each other. Getting to understand company culture is crucial because if you get a job, you want to make sure you would fit it.
Remember what I said before, relationship relationship relationship 🙂
3, HOW TO APPLY:
This step is extremely important because I have seen candidates often slip. Let’s say, you found the companies you want to target, you loved the people and you see that they have an opening and you would like to be considered for it.
How do you create your resume?
Please, please, please DO NOT create a generic resume that you send out to 20 companies, it’s a sure way to get thrown out.
You want your resume to stand out. Read the job description thoroughly and see what they are actually looking for. eg: Is it posting for social media or content marketing or advertising etc.
Let’s say the company is looking for someone who can handle their Social Media accounts.
This tiny trick can help your resume to stand out.
Typically, candidates will say:
“Expert is managing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts with 3 years of experience. “
this is too generic, every other resume will have a similar line. A better way to write would be:
“Grew Instagram account followers for company A by 135% in 45 days” OR
“Applied strategies, leading to 58% increase in Facebook post comments.”
Always, state your accomplishments in the resume. Percentages and Numbers stand out, it tells the hiring manager how good you are. They would imagine that if you are hired, you can replicate these results for their social media accounts.
Note: Don’t lie about numbers, because they can always go & check; and they will. Also, when you get an in-person interview, make sure you are ready to discuss “actual” strategies you implemented in order to achieve those results.
But you would think, I don’t have that much experience, I am new to this field. In that case, you can showcase the how you have increased followers for your own Twitter, IG, Blog accounts.
Look at the job from hiring manager’s perspective.
Think about it, the company is hiring someone for that position because the boss does not have time to do the work. He/she might have too much on their plate. So, they want to bring in someone who can take over and run with it.
Adding your accomplishments in the resume will make hiring manager more comfortable with you.
What does hiring manager look for in the resume?
• Exact experience which is relative to the job opening.
• Nonjob hopper: If your resume shows that you are changing jobs every year, that’s not a good sign. He mentioned that he always gives candidates benefit of the doubt and gives them chance to explain the reason during the phone screening.
• Growth in career: If you have been for few years, has your career seen any expansion or are you still at same title job as you were 6 years ago.
Small Company VS Large Company
I also asked Madan Ahuja, that in his experience in HR, how has he weighed candidates Personality VS Experience and he mentioned an excellent point.
For smaller companies or startups:
Smaller companies have limited budget, so when they open a position, they are looking for someone with ‘exact’ skills. Someone, who can take over and run with it. Here, experience matters a lot. But that doesn’t mean you need 10 years of experience, 2-3 years, is good enough to get you in.
For larger companies.
Larger companies have more leverage, they have the bandwidth to hire someone fresh out of college and train them. So, if you are fresh out of school, he recommends you should look for established companies, it would be easier to get in and they would be much more willing to invest time to help you learn from the ground up.
You can apply for smaller companies as well, just make sure if they have the bandwidth to bring in someone fresh out of school. Typically when a job description says 2-3+ years, then it is difficult to consider candidates with little or no experience.
What about the cover letter?
Yes, the cover letter is important. Especially, if you lack the experience, it’s a great place to share your story.
“I read cover letters. That’s your opportunity to tell me your story, so I can look past your resume and see who you are as a person.” Rachel Roy
Typical cover letter structure:
• 1 story about you that highlights your personality.
• How would you fit in the company?
• Why do you think the company is a great fit for you.
• 1-2 mentions about something you heard about them in news, that was fascinating.
This is a good place to start and try to gear wording in the cover letter according to company’s culture.
4, AFTER YOU APPLY:
You have spent time finding a company, developed relationships with appropriate person and applied for the position.
Should you sit and wait? Of course not.
Always, always reach out the to HR manager if you don’t hear from then within the week. You won’t appear needy, they would know that you are genuinely interested in the company and did not apply on a whim.
Let’s say your resume got shortlisted and you are going in for your first in person interview.
How should you prepare?
• Review the job description again, so you are familiar with it.
• Freshen up on your “achievements’ that pertain to the job.
• Prepare 2 examples for each skill that you can share during the interview.
• Research their competitors and know how/what sets them apart.
• Have 2-3 comments about company’s latest blog post or if they have been in news. It would show that you are in the know and are paying attention to what company is going thru.
• Take 1 sheet of paper that highlights what you would do in first 30 days if you are hired.
(This is very important)
Firstly, this would set you apart from 95% of the candidates that would show up for the interview. You can walk the hiring manager thru your list of top 5 things.
Secondly, you will be able to gear the conversation based on topics you mentioned in the list. You will reduce the possibility of any surprise questions they can throw at you because now you would be controlling the conversation.
Last but not the least.
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS send a thank you email after your interview and ask for next steps. You will be surprised how many people miss this. Even if you don’t get selected for the job, still send them a thank you note but because that way you would stay in the mind and they could consider you for any future openings.
Good luck on your search and we hope you land a job at fashion company of your dreams.