Thursday, 16 June 2016

Promoting Yourself After You Graduate | Third Year Series

After heading to Graduate Fashion Week, Birmingham City University Inspired Festival and in the process of hunting for a job in the fashion industry I thought it would be good chance to share my experience of this to complete my series I have been running throughout my third year.
Just a heads up this is completely from my experience so it will be tailored towards fashion students but hopefully there will be something in there will still be helpful if you are in a similar boat. 

1 | GFW
Graduate fashion week is probably something you've already heard of if you study fashion and like myself you may have the opportunity to showcase your work there. From design student catwalk shows, to portfolios to brand ambassadors it's all there. It is a great opportunity to get your name out there amongst your competition, companies and scouts. It has been around for 25 years this year which is incredible and only proves how much this event is worth your while. Make sure your work stands out, there is so many different universities from across the UK in one space so have that in mind when creating your final pieces. They need to reflect you, your passions and hint towards your career goal - you only have one shot to impress them, make it count. In our case we had a poster which you will be able to see in pictures of my 'Powher' final major project and a digital business card (view mine here). Overall it was a proud moment for me too see my work at such a prestigious event. I had a look around at other graduates work whilst I was there and I'm honoured to be in the same room as some of these individuals, I think fashion is going to go very exciting places with such a talented team entering the industry.
2 | BCU Inspired Festival
My university puts on a similar event but for all of the fashion department exclusive to Birmingham City. I went to the open viewing with my parents giving them the opportunity to look at my work somewhere closer to home. The open event meant anyone could come to view all the students work meaning you could invite previous or possible future employers to attend in hope it will aid your process on starting your career journey. For this there was more space and a more concentrated space for just our course and our work allowing it to shine much more. This was also a chance for me to say a final goodbye to my university lecturers and tutors which had me feeling more emotional than I expected. I think at times because they were so critical of my work that I wasn't sure how they felt about me as a person but after talking about something other than university work and them discussing my progress with my mum made me feel fuzzy inside. There is no better feeling for me than making my parents proud and proud they were so another successful event in the bag for me. I'm aware there are events like this for other creative courses as a friend of mine who does Architecture had a similar showcase to attend. We had drinks at ours which made it much less awkward and ending up chatting the night away.
3 | Social, Networking and Connections
Having connections in the industry that you plan on entering is the most important thing. They don't say "It's not what you know but who you know" for nothing. If I was to give any advice it's whoever you meet on placements, through friends, out and about keep in contact. I have had some amazing internships over my three years at university with some very powerful people in fashion who in this moment could massively help me kit start my job prospects. If you impress these people you will be rewarded and they will help. This hands down is the easiest way to get your foot in the door. Someone in the company putting in a good word, working with you previously before applying for a role and things that may seem small like this can be the push you need to get the role you've applied for. So get yourself out there if you sit in all the time you will loose your motivation, you never know who is round the corner. Ask friends and family who they know! My sister once met someone who works at New York Fashion Week on a night out and gave her my details and whenever she is in London she contacts me to meet up for brunch - this is not the time to be shy, 10 seconds of courage introducing yourself could change your life. 

It has to be noted you can also connect in person as mentioned but online. Use Linkedin and twitter it is a great way to connect with people in industry and shows them what you are about. Update these regularly discuss important issues that you are passionate about and that effect the industry for example the closing of BHS - this is a great way to show you pay attention to what is going on. Keep it professional, you can show personality but you don't want to be using certain words/images/videos that you wouldn't want your boss to see. PG people okay? Set up a new account if you'd like. 

Hope some of this advice is useful, fingers crossed we will all be employed soon!



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