5 Things To Do When You Can’t Get A Job In Fashion
DATE: February 13, 2020
"The dust has settled, you’ve packed your graduation robe away, your working part-time to pay off your student loan whilst waiting for your first fashion job...But where are they? "

So…the dust has settled, you’ve packed your graduation robe away, maybe you’ve moved back in with your parents to save some money and you might be working part-time to pay off your student loan until you get that ‘first job in fashion’.

But where are they?

You’ve updated your CV, maybe registered with a fashion recruitment agency, and applied to lots of job vacancies online, but no one is getting back to you and the phone isn’t ringing. On top of that – most of the fashion job vacancies are looking for someone with 1-2 years experience, but how do you get that experience if no one is willing to give you a job straight out of university or college?

How do you get someone to take a chance on you?

You might be feeling frustrated and unmotivated. A bit in limbo really – and maybe starting to wonder if you are actually any good and maybe doubting your talents and capabilities.

Well, you are not alone. So please don’t panic.


So, what can you do?

First off all….Keep Calm. Just because no one is calling you back, this doesn’t mean that you are any less talented than you were when you graduated. You don’t lose those skills and talents overnight. All you have lost is that focus, that clarity, a sense of direction. The motivation to keep going. Plus you no longer have the security of having somewhere to go every day and hang out with your peers, a set routine, resources, and the support and mentorship from your tutors.

Keeping calm is the most important thing to do and the most important thing I want you to know about. No one tells you about this bit. The fear and anxiety that can come with finding your first job in fashion. They don’t tell you about this bit at university. No one prepares you for what that bit really feels like. The hope and excitement when you leave, but of which can quickly turn sour and start to have a real impact on your mental health when there’s no job offer, no salary to get excited about, just silence. You are waiting to get that job in fashion but nothing is happening. You’ve applied everywhere you can think of and still no prospects.

Here are some of the key things you can start to do NOW to keep yourself calm, motivated, positive and ready for when you do get that call.

1. Do one thing every day to get closer to your goal

So, one of the key questions to ask yourself is this; “What is the one thing I can do today that will help me get closer to my goal?”

Think about what that could be for you. What one thing could you do today to increase your changes of getting hired or raising your profile and letting people know you are available for work? Maybe today you could post in Instagram about something that’s important to you and tag someone in that you admire or want to connect with in fashion. This is a great way to start building those relationships with the people you want to connect with and potentially get hired by. Cold calling someone for the first time to ask for a job never works. You need to build that connection and trust and relationship first.

Tomorrow, why don’t you connect with someone new on LinkedIn, or comment on a post of someone you admire and tell them why they inspire you and what you love about their posts. Start building those relationships and a profile for yourself that others can start relating and resonating with. Let them know what you are about and what you believe in. Have a presence. People will start noticing you and take the time to check you out. Maybe day 3 look and apply for a new job vacancy. Sign up to the Facebook and Instagram pages of the fashion brands you love and want to work for as this is the first place they will advertise looking for new recruits. If you keep doing all these little things it will contribute to your strategy of getting hired. Think how much you could achieve in a few days, a week, a month.

2. Fix and update your CV

Companies will be looking for experience on a resume, but also a true interest in the industry. When I recruit people myself in fashion, I always read the cover letters. That’s your opportunity to tell me your story, so I can look past just the words on your CV and see who you are as a person. I’ve interviewed people who have had little experience, but a truly great story on their cover letter. The interviewer will want to see drive, dedication, and heart. So show it. Few young entry level applicants have extensive career experience, so many companies look for personality too. Graduate positions are hard to come by so joining a fashion recruitment agency is a good idea. A fashion brand will already be working with the recruiters to fill positions in their business, so when a graduate role becomes available they will seek the help of this recruiter to find a suitable applicant for them.

3. Learn To Control The Controllable

One of the hardest things to do in a situation like this is to not panic. Feeling like you don’t have the control over what happens to your CV, or whether someone is going to call you today about that job that you’ve applied for is really hard – but remember that these are situations that are out of your control.

In life, all we can do is control the controllable. We can’t control if someone gets back to us or not, same as we can’t control how certain situations will turn out. But what we can do is control what WE do. The things we do, the way we behave, how we respond, what we think.

Focusing on what you do have control over in your life will help to remove the stress and anxiety that comes from worrying about situations that you can’t control, which can lead to paralysis, procrastination and can start to impact your mental health. So trying not to worry about or waste your energy focusing on every second of the day (I know I’ve been there!) You can only control the controllable, which is something we are passionate about helping you do here at The Trend Academy. You can’t control what is out of your control, it will just drive you nuts! So instead try to place all your focus and attention on what you ‘can’ do to control the situation you are in. And trust the process that everything else will work itself out. As long as you are doing what ‘you’ can do and are happy with what you ‘are’ doing, and being as productive as possible to get you closer to getting your first job on fashion, then that is all you can ask for and will prove successful for you in the long term.

4. Create A Blog Or Website

If you are struggling to find a job in fashion and have so much you want to say and show about your work, then go create your own movement. Create a blog that reflects your talents in editorial styling, editing, trend forecasting, visuals, trend research, creative directing, social media, buying, photoshoot concepts, blogging, and marketing. Launch an Instagram page that shows how gifted you are. A blog or Instagram page can act as a great accent to your resume. Devote yourself to your project, and show potential employers how resourceful you can be. Always add your Instagram details on your CV and a link to your website too. I would definitely go check these both out if I was the interviewer so I could see what kind of person you were and what you could add to my brand or team.

5. Do Not Give Up

Be calm and have faith and don’t give up. Just because no one has got in touch doesn’t mean you are any less talented or lovely or right for that role. It just might be taking time. I remember doing recruitment in the roles I have worked and sometimes it can be the most important thing you are focusing on, but then something else comes up thats more important or needs your attention and recruitment gets put to the side for a while. This might be happening with the company you have applied for. And if you need closure, why don’t you phone up the company and ask to speak to someone to find out if the position has been filled. At least you will know and you can move on.

For now, find small jobs that can pay your bills. Freelance. Work in retail (I worked at Topshop in the stockroom – it was awful). Small jobs to pay the bills are temporary, but you’ve got to eat right! All the while, show your devotion to your craft by simply creating. And the cream does rise to the top! When you’ve done good work and paid your dues, the world will take notice.

Good luck x x

Ps. if you want to discover more…..check out our online fashion course “How To Get Your First Job In Fashion”


Hi, I'm Marie Oakes - founder of Trend Academy.

I'm so excited to help you get started on your fashion journey. You may not be ready to start yet, but I hope I can share some experience and insight that helps you feel fully prepared to take the next step. Let's start here; I promise that if you subscribe to the TA mailing list, I'll send you only the content that I think you'll benefit from. If not, please tell me. X

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