Whether you are just starting to explore, or have committed to a career in Fashion this Career Track offers tips, tools, and action steps to move your career search forward.
The first step in beginning your career journey is to assess your interests, skills, strengths, goals, and values, to better understand your story and give you career direction. Then, we can help you reflect on your story and create career exploration goals.
Interests: Know your interests, as they may help to align you with organizations and possible job titles representing a match based on your likes/dislikes. Use these tools below to clarify your interests and possible career ideas based on interests.
- MyNextMove - Explore career options and interests by keyword or industry, or take their short assessment to find potential career matches based on interests.
- Strong Interest Inventory (SII) - The SII is a widely respected career interest inventory designed to help people find a fit between their personalities and work. It compares your interests and preferences to people in general and to people who have been happy and satisfied in their careers. The results from the SII identify careers that best fit a person’s interests.
Values: Know your values, as they may help to align you with potential work environments and organizations that match your passion(s) and core belief(s). Use these tools below to clarify your values and identify possible career ideas based on your values.
Skills/Strengths: Know your skills and strengths, as they may help to align you with well suited job titles, work tasks and work environments. Use these tools below to clarify your skills/strengths and possible career ideas based on your talents and skills.
- Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - The MBTI is a self-report questionnaire designed to make Jung’s theory of psychological types understandable and useful in everyday life. It is one of the most widely used instruments for understanding personality differences and is widely used to understand people in terms of their decision-making styles, preferences for communication and work environments, and for career development and exploration.
- CliftonStrengths - The CS helps you to discover your top talent themes. By becoming aware of these talents, you can grow them into strengths. Strengths can be utilized in all aspects of your life, including career planning and during the career search process. The assessment is all about focusing on your natural talents to maximize your potential.
Want some coaching on where to begin? Not sure which Career Track is right for you? Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”. We’ll be happy to talk more about your Career Track options and explore your interests and skills together, in a coaching relationship.
Explore Your Track
- Demonstrate analytical and quantitative thought-processing
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills
- Ability to manage time wisely, prioritize projects and multiple tasks to achieve productivity and goals
- Demonstrate strong business acumen and business ethics/professionalism
- Works well in a team environment
- Ability to solve problems quickly and manage complex relationships
- Proficient in Mircosoft Office and/or Google Suite technology, especially Excel (critical)
There isn’t a typical path to landing a job in the fashion industry. Because there are so many functional areas, there is not one entry-level title. However, some titles include:
Intern, Assistant buyer/planner, Personal assistant, Design assistant, PR/Advertising Coordinator, Marketing Social Media Assistant, Editorial Assistant, Junior Visual Merchandiser, Sales/Brand Representative or Store Manager.
The fashion and retail industries are a growing field. Due to the recent shift in e-commerce, retailers are looking for tech-savvy, highly motivated individuals who are able to help shoppers have a unique experience both online and in-stores. Previously, retailers had “in-store” teams and “online or .com” teams. These teams would work independently to prepare merchandise assortments for each area. While this strategy worked for some time, today, most retailers operate “omni”. This strategy unites merchants and allows them to collaborate and make joint decisions. To account for this shift, major retailers have developed internship and full-time training programs to provide fashion leaders with on-hands experience, education and encouragement.
Furthermore, where retailers traditionally hired college graduates with degrees in fashion merchandising, marketing or design, today, they are looking for critical thinkers who can collaborate across multiple departments.
Armed with some background information and ideas, connecting with professionals can offer next level insights and answer more specific questions.
- Networking Resources on the University Career Center website
- How to Network on LinkedIn
- UCAN - University Career Alumni Network
There are different clubs and organziations that students can get involved with around fashion/retail. Go to maizepages.umich.edu to search through the different orgs on campus. You can type 'fashion' or 'retail' into the search bar to get started!
Check out UCAN
UCAN (the University Career Alumni Network) is a platform for current UM students to find alumni and other professionals to conduct an informational interview with. By finding professionals in this system, you will be able to search what they do, where they work, what companies they work for, etc. and ask them for advice & about their experiences. This is a great way to learn about what it is like to work in different industries in different roles. To find professionals that you want to connect with, visit https://umich.peoplegrove.com/
Beyond just joining LinkedIn, groups are a great way to expand one's network, contribute to a community, and get questions answered. Checkout these groups geared toward consulting. See what the members are doing, participate in discussions, uncover resources, and even ask your questions.
Fashion is all about who you know. Beyond just joining LinkedIn, groups are a great opportunity to expand your network, learn about jobs/internships and meet important influencers. Checkout these groups geared towards fashion. See what these individuals are doing, participate in discussions, discover resources and ask questions.
- Fashion & Lifestyle Industry Professionals Worldwide
- Fashion Retailers
- Retail Industry Professionals Group
- Fashion & Life Style Network
- Cosmetics, Beauty and Fashion Job Opportunities
- Textile, Apparel, Footwear, & Fashion
- NYC Jobs and Career Network
- Seventeen Internship Insider
- Top Five Groups for Fashion Marketing
Professional Associations provide resources and services to member organizations. These organizations are great resources for students exploring careers.
Want some coaching around navigating your Career Track? Interested in talking with a Career Coach about your exploration of a Career Track?
- Formally join the Fashion Career Track in Handshake - to do this, click on your name in the upper right corner once you're in Handshake, click on 'career interests', and scroll down to the career tracks section & add Fashion. This way you will begin receiving 2-3 messages a month in regards to jobs/internships to look at in Handshake in Fashion, if employers are coming to campus that you might want to chat with, trends to be aware of in the industry and more!
- Make an appointment on Handshake for “Exploring Options”.
You have been exploring your Career Track, and may be wondering “What Next?” This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your career exploration questions.
3 - What are three take-aways from your exploration of this Career Track?
2 - What are two questions that you have/what are you questioning now?
1 - What is 1 specific action step you plan to take, to answer your 2 questions?
Launch Your Job or Internship Search
When job/internship searching it’s important to understand the hiring process from the organizational perspective. It directs your job search efforts by identifying timelines and best job/internship search strategies. Fashion job/internship essentials include:
- The timeline for internships and jobs differs within the fashion industry. For program-based internship and job opportunities, recruiting begins during the Fall semester and into the beginning of the Winter semester. For the majority of internships and jobs, organizations will hire during the Spring.
- Department store buying/planning programs typically hire rising seniors for internship opportunities.
- They recruit from October through December, with offers coming in February and early March (e.g. Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks, Lord & Taylor, Target).
- Brand internships: these typically aren’t formal programs. Reach out in March or April with these organizations. They often post their internship opportunities on their job pages and some of the others listed below.
- Full-Time Job Roles:
- The recruiting schedule for department store programs typically begin in October with super-days and last-round interviews in late November with offers in December.
- The recruiting schedule for brand full-time opportunities will typically occur on a need-based basis, therefore, they would begin recruiting in the Spring.
A well-written resume connects your skills and experiences to the needs of the organization. The articles below (combined with the “Necessary Skills” outlined in this track) will help you develop a strong resume.
The interview process includes behavioral and case interview formats. A prepared interviewee knows the similarities and differences between the formats and has practiced for both.
The fashion interview process differs depending on the functional are. For business side interviews, there is an emphasis on data analysis questions, while creative interviews typically include showcasing your portfolio. However, in general, fashion industry questions are behavioral questions.
- The University Career Center’s Interviewing Resources
- How do I break into the fashion industry?
- How to get a job in fashion tech
- Starting a career in fashion from scratch
Sample questions, timelines, tips all specific to Fashion:
Visit the University Career Center website for more information on resumes, interviewing, and networking.
Want some coaching around launching your Career Track? Interested in gaining experience including securing Internships or looking for Jobs?
- Make an appointment on Handshake for “Internship Search”, or “Job Search”
You have been launching your job/internship search, and may be wondering “What Next?” This short exercise will help you clarify your question(s) and identify strategies to answer your job/internship search questions.
3 - What are three take-aways from exploring the resources in "Launching Your Job/Internship Search"?
2 - What are two questions that you still have/what are you questioning now?
1 - What is 1 specific action step to help answer your 2 questions?