Whitney Port's Best Career Advice for 20-Somethings
Throughout my years working in fashion, the one question I get asked the most is “How do I land a job in the fashion industry?” The fashion industry doesn’t have the same formula as such professions like a doctor or lawyer, so there is no clear-cut answer. This can lead to a lot of confused young girls and guys who just don’t know where to start. I thought I would take this matter into my own hands and give a little personal advice that helped land me where I am today.
The following tips should help you climb the ladder no matter what industry you're in, so read on below for a few must-learn tactics.
Try to gain as much knowledge of your industry as possible. See if you can attend as many events as possible and meet people face to face. Networking is key!
Don’t forget that fashion is also a business. It’s not as glamorous as the runway shows and photo shoots make it look. A lot of hard work is involved—even some manual labor! No matter what industry you’re working in, put in 110%.
You have to have a hard shell. Fashion is art; therefore, it is subject to lots of different opinions. Try not to take things too personally. Every opinion matters, even if you don’t like it.
Intern! Intern! Intern! It is the only real way to get your foot in the door and get that hands-on experience that EVERYONE you eventually interview with will rely on as expertise. It is a great way to meet people and get recommendations for future work. Take these internships seriously—work hard, be positive, and be reliable!
Remember—a lot of your competition has little to no experience, just like you. So make sure your personality stands out, and try to be a YES person as much as possible without losing your integrity. You would be surprised how many people I choose to work with just based on a vibe or feeling I get from them.
You do not have to have a degree in fashion to work in the field, but you do need to be interested in the art of fashion and how it has evolved. Whether you’re working on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, it is important to know how your industry has developed so you can appreciate and be able to talk about its relevance to today.
Be passionate about the one thing you want to do! If you are interviewing for a specific position, make sure your interviewer knows that that specific field is where your passion lies.
Try to find a mentor. It is usually easy to find someone you admire in the industry, but a mentor doesn’t always have to be in the same industry. There are so many wonderful souls with such great talent and expertise. Let them know you think this and would love the opportunity to work for them or learn from them, and I HIGHLY doubt they will reject this. You may have tons of mentors, and they will change over time, but they are important in helping you become the person in your field you want to be.
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