Saturday, 24 May 2008
How to become a fashion-editor-in-training
This is the time of year when all those months of stress and studying come to fruition. It's also the time to bite the bullet and start putting yourself out there. Whether it's work experience, an internship or a job, you'll need to brush up on your interview skills if you're going to take your place in the world of fashion and style magazines. Here are our expert tips to clinching the deal when it comes to fash-mag interviews.
Being on time or even early goes without saying but why not bring some extra copies of your CV to hand to the interviewers? This makes their job easier and shows you're the type of person who goes the extra mile and pays attention to detail.
Research the role
If you're applying for work experience in the Elle fashion department, you won't be doing any writing, you'll most probably find yourself 'doing the cupboard' (packing and unpacking samples) along with eleven other 'workies' and should be grateful for it! Find out what you can about the job and company beforehand so you're clued up for the interview and won't be disillusioned.
You're there to prove that this is your dream job and you'll do anything to claim it. Tell the interviewers what they want to hear and flatter them - they'll love you for it!
Big up your blog
When asked if you have any online journalism experience don't just shake your head sheepishly, mention your fashion blog (but make sure you've updated it recently - they might want to read it)! This shows enthusiasm for your subject and commitment, two big plus points.
Learn some names to drop
If you're applying for a magazine job, you're bound to be asked your favourite magazines, designers, stylists and photographers. Learn a few obscure ones for brownie points (Vogue, Mario Testino and Marc Jacobs don't count) and commit them to memory so you don't blank out. If you do go blank, laugh it off and come back to it later on in the interview.
Act confident and you'll be confident
Don't say things like, 'I like to think I have a good eye' or 'I hope I'm organised'. Own your skills and talk them up - never put any doubts in the interviewer's mind!
Everyone fluffs their lines
If you make a major boo-boo just laugh it off and move on. Don't let it wrong-foot you.
Think of the obvious questions you'll be asked and rehearse your answers. This in itself will give you the confidence that you know your stuff and will minimise last minute nerves.
Don't let nerves put you off
In a recent interview panel we took part in, fifty percent of the interviewees had raging red cheeks and eighty five per cent admitted they were nervous. This is entirely normal so don't let worrying about nerves make you even more nervous! Instead, smile. A lot. This will actually relax you as well as disguising your terror.
Nerves make people talk super-fast and waffle to fill awkward silences. If you catch yourself doing this just try to slow down your breathing and this will help calm your jitters.
Dress to impress
Sartorial no-nos include flip flops, bare arms, visible bra straps, too-short skirts, creased clothes and jangly bangles (too distracting). Avoid a t-shirts-and-jeans ensemble although one or the other is OK if they're highly fashionable and the rest of your outfit shows you've made an effort.
Ask intelligent questions
Always have two or three questions for the end of the interview. Do ask: Are there any opportunities to do extra work for other departments or on other projects? How many people are in the team? What positions have previous interns/assistants gone on to? Don't ask: When will I hear back? How many other people are you interviewing? What are the hours? Save these for the second interview.
Don't forget the beauty department
Free haircuts, make-up samples and spa treatments, hello - what's not to love?! Think outside the box and if you don't get that longed-for fashion internship, consider the beauty department instead.
Sometimes you still don't get the job, even though you were word perfect and the interviewer liked your dress. Don't beat yourself up about it. Quite often the interviewer already has someone lined up but legally has to consider other applicants. Or perhaps, a previous intern applied who already knows the ropes. Sometimes, it's just the way it is. Instead of dwelling on it, remind yourselves of the positives and pat yourself on the back for getting as far as you did. Then get back in the saddle.
(Pic: Teen Vogue)