By Allie Eames
When I told my parents that I wanted to add Corporate Fashion as a co-major, to be quite honest, they were not excited. They questioned the availability of jobs and the volatility of the entire industry and weren’t sure if Miami could provide me with real job opportunities for what I wanted to do.
After almost a year in the program, I am happy to say that it was a great decision to stick with fashion. I recently signed a merchandising internship offer from American Eagle in NYC and will spend my summer learning more about the business and having real input in American Eagle’s product lines. I thought I would pass on some tips for those interested in these kinds of opportunities because they do exist at Miami.
Before Career Fair
Make the most of every opportunity. Being a member of organizations like UP and MUF&D is great, but can really only be taken advantage of when you make the most of what is offered. Go to as many speakers, networking events, and company visits as you can. Learn as much as you can! Get involved in extra projects and take on leadership positions to make yourself stand out and not just be a general member.
Keep an open network. It was super helpful to me to remember names, emails, and conversation points with recruiters and visitors from different companies. When you see them again or are curious to learn more, you will have a point of reference to go off of. Don’t be afraid to follow up with an email after a great conversation.
Study up. Even though we as fashion-conscious humans are seemingly bombarded continuously by Instagrams, Facebooks, and Snapchats related to the world of fashion, can we really rattle off incoming trends on a whim? Read into popular publications (my favorite is Man Repeller) and form your own opinions on what you like, don’t like, or feel strongly about. You probably will be asked, depending on what you want to go into.
Make sure your resume reflects your passion. If you are serious about working in retail, get some good experience in the field! Join organizations like UP and MUF&D, work in retail, or look for small, even unpaid opportunities over J-term, spring break, and summer vacation. On an even more specific note, invest the time and effort into a really nice-looking resume. Retailers are looking for personal style and flair, so show off your creativity and taste with a resume that matches your flavor.
At Career Fair
Dress to impress. Most retailers just want to see how you can present yourself in a stylish and personal way so you won’t have to worry too much about dressing in typical conservative professional style. Dressing smart and appropriately with a little more emphasis on trend is perfect. Below is a perfectly acceptable and not at all boring example.
Research companies and positions. When you get to that employers’ booth at Career Fair, you should ask questions that make it clear you’ve done your research and are more than interested.
Make a game plan, so that you don’t arrive at Career Fair or Spring ICE empty-handed. Prioritize employers, and warm up with one or two that you are less interested in to make yourself comfortable in the environment.
Don’t forget to get the contact info of everyone you talk to and make sure that everyone has a copy of your resume.
After Career Fair
Once you have exchanged info and emails with employers, you can expect an interview on campus or even some sort of group activity with fellow candidates. There will likely be three or four stages of interviewing, and you may be asked to take exams, send in SATs, transcripts, or additional information.
During your interviews, stay confident and casual and don’t sweat it. You will probably be interviewed by employees who were in your seat only a few years prior. Always thank your interviewer and come with well-developed questions for them. Research the company and know what they are doing, how they are doing, and where they want to be in coming years.
Above all, be yourself! I don’t have a perfect GPA and definitely didn’t get every opportunity I went out for. Regardless, I found it most helpful to stay calm, well-rested, and plan interviews out well in advance. I made sure that I dressed in what made me feel comfortable and made sure my resume stood out and was a good representation of who I was. Good luck going after those internships and full-time positions!