Fashion and Retail Careers
The fashion and retail industries are associated with the creation, design, promotion and distribution of apparel and other merchandise to the general public.
Companies in the fashion industry usually hire on an “as needed” basis. But many major companies offer rotational and internship programs that will allow you can develop the skills and exposure necessary to start a career.
If you are interested in fashion or retail, you should follow that industry closely. Read trade magazines, newsletters, and popular fashion websites. Join relevant email lists. Follow industry insiders on social media. Research the types of positions that are available in those fields. Vault, available free to Georgetown students, is a good place to start your search. Company websites, O*NET, and the Occupational Outlook Handbook are equally helpful resources.
National Retail Federation (NRF) — NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association and an excellent place to look for jobs.
Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) — Often called the fashion bible, WWD is a leading authority for news and trends in the worlds of fashion, beauty and retail.
Fashion Group International (FGI) — FGI is a global, nonprofit professional organization with 5000 members working in many different areas of the fashion industry, including apparel, accessories, beauty and home.
Business of Fashion (BoF) — BoF is a daily resource for industry insiders that bridges the gap between fashion as a business and fashion as a creative industry.
Fashionista — Fashionista publishes results from their annual fashion industry salary survey and is a source of fashion news, criticism and career advice.
Style Portfolio —The premier online portfolio resource for the fashion-related industries
Go to employer information sessions, industry events—on and off-campusand connect with the local chapter of popular professional organizations. Professional associations host a variety of professional development, educational and networking events. If the cost of membership is prohibitive, contact leadership and ask if there are sliding scale prices for students. Volunteering for a conference, educational, or social event is another great way to connect with leaders in the industry.
Develop a LinkedIn profile that communicates your personal and professional brand. Joining groups related to your industry is a great way to meet new people, find mentors, contacts, and ask questions. Reach out to alumni through Hoya Gateway, the alumni section of Georgetown’s LinkedIn page, and Georgetown’s Alumni Career Network. The Cawley website provides helpful guidelines on networking and informational interviewing.
Making Connections at Georgetown
Joining a school club is a good way to learn more about the industry, develop your skills, and get hands-on experience. Check out ThirtySeventh, The Georgetown Retail & Luxury Association, and the Georgetown Advertising and Marketing Association (GAMA).
On and off-campus jobs are another excellent way to build skills valued by employers. According to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the following are key attributes employers seek in new hires — all qualities Georgetown students have in abundance:
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work in a team
- Communication skills (written)
- Strong work ethic
- Analytical/quantitative skills
- Communication skills (verbal)
Preparing Your Application Materials
To better understand what skills to highlight on your resume, check out internships, fellowships, and entry-level positions in fashion. Style Careers, The National Retail Federation’s job board, Indeed, and employer websites are great places to research industry opportunities.
Your resume should be one page. Use strong action verbs and focus on your skills and accomplishments to show (not just tell) an employer that you have the required abilities. Be concise. See our resume formatting guide for more tips and advice.
Be energetic, intelligent and aware when writing cover letters. Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and abilities.
The purpose of a cover letter is to convince someone to interview you. For more on cover letters, see our cover letter tips.
In the creative industries, you may be required to have a portfolio or “book” of your best work or a website that doubles as your portfolio. You may also need to have a visual resume, either as a supplement to your traditional resume or instead of it. Be sure to research the application requirements in your industry. Check out Vizualize.Me and ResumUP for ideas. Free virtual tools for designing a portfolio include WIX, Behance, Coroflot and FigDig.
Internships enable you to gain valuable professional experience prior to graduation.
If you are having a difficult time finding a full-time job after graduation you may want to consider a post-graduation internship or fellowship, which is common in these industries, and often leads to full-time employment.
Select Employers and Internships