Graduate Fashion Jobs: Top Six Traits Employers Look For
This article is sponsored by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Graduate fashion jobs are notoriously few and far between, but you shouldn’t let this deter you. Make sure you understand some of the key differentiators for recruiters and employers today, and slowly build your way up. Here are the top six traits you need to start your dream career in fashion:
1. Heaps of experience before you graduate
Your faculty, alumni network and careers team are there to help you forge links with brands, agencies and industry leaders. It’s become a basic requirement for graduates to have varied work experience under their belt, either through internships, freelance work or student projects. At UCLan’s School of Art, Design and Fashion, the department’s close relationships with more than 150 global fashion brands mean fashion students have access to work placements at companies including Burberry and Levi’s.
2. A slick portfolio of your best work
Putting together a faultless portfolio showcasing all of your best work in a smooth, consistent and logical format might sound a little intimidating, but there are plenty of resources online and within your university to help you. Work on this throughout your studies, and include examples from live projects if you can. At UCLan, students have the opportunity to complete assessed work for major fashion brands – perfect portfolio material.
3.Specialized knowledge and skills
Your fashion degree should teach you relevant creative skills and techniques through a combination of work-based learning and lectures or seminars, to help prepare you for your target career in fashion. Specialized knowledge of certain areas of the fashion industry might get you the role over someone else, so it’s crucial you do everything in your power to both expand and deepen your skill set.
4. A firm grasp of fashion industry trends
Employers will want to see that you keep up with fashion industry trends and news. To help you stay informed, your university should introduce you to relevant blogs, publications and networking events for graduates, influencers and professionals. If you have your sights set on an international career in fashion, take advantage of any opportunities to travel and start building your network. At UCLan, the graduating fashion show can take students to locations across the world – previously having been held at catwalk events in Hong Kong, New Delhi and Bangkok.
5. An impressive online presence
Having a digital edge is no longer an advantage: it’s a basic requirement in today’s creative industries – essential both to find and to land graduate fashion jobs. There are plenty of networking websites designed to help you connect with other fashion graduates and creatives to find freelance work and exciting projects to get involved in. Having online visibility, a personal website and a social media presence are relatively achievable goals that will do wonders for your prospects.
5. Additional credentials and awards
A bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate qualification in your chosen field of fashion are basic requirements for many fashion jobs. Prizes awarded either by your university or an independent body, like Graduate Fashion Week, New Designers or D&AD’s Yellow Pencil awards, will also help you stand out from the hordes of other graduates when competing for jobs.
Which fashion degree is right for you?
If you’re unsure about which fashion degree is right for you, browse through the range of art, design and fashion courses offered at the UK’s University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
With more than 50 years’ experience as a center for excellence in fashion, UCLan offers an extensive range of courses to prepare students for a variety of careers in fashion, art and design.
This article was originally published in May 2016 . It was last updated in January 2020