For as long as I can remember, which is likely to have been from the age of 4 and beyond, the most frequent question I’ve received is,
“So, what do you want to be when you’re older”.
First, I’d get confused because all I really wanted to be was an older version of myself – duh! But actually and more intelligently, I knew my dream was to work in the fashion industry. To what capacity? I had no idea.
Through secondary school, college and University education I embarked on a long road of trying and ‘not liking’ a lot of the subjects I pursued. I won’t call any of it a failed experience because that journey provided a lot of valuable life lessons that brought me to where I am today. Firstly, fashion textiles was simply not for me! Next, I tried fashion design which turned out to be a massive creative outlet, yet I wasn’t so great at sewing, pattern cutting or practising the patience of bringing my ideas to life. Thirdly, Art and Design was fun too, but again it wasn’t the right fit. Eventually, I studied Fashion Promotion at University with hopes of landing a PR job in the fashion industry. Surprise surprise, that never quite became my reality either.
Looking back, I never had much guidance or a formula to help me navigate the mental career crossroads. Therefore, through Pepper Your Talk and our growing community we aim to be that fashion friend gently persuading you to fiercely follow the road that will lead you to your dream job.
Grab a piece of paper and let’s begin:
What is your dream skill set?
Regardless of how lost and confused you may feel, one thing you may be clear on are the skills you wish to acquire. Writing down these skills, even if they aren’t necessarily fashion or career-focused, will still give you an indication of the jobs they can be applied too. For example, If you’ve always desired to learn French, this would open up the possibility to work in a job that would allow you to travel and use this skill, translate content or lead campaigns aimed at the French market.
What do you feel most confident doing?
Being confident is not something many of us immediately ascribe to ourselves. Yet, the question of what we feel confident doing will draw an answer from absolutely everyone, insecurities and timidness aside! If you feel most confident when creating presentations, then you could consider a job that allows you to research and summarise information, that incorporates the use of written and visual skills and utilises your knowledge of computer-based programmes.
What do people most compliment you for?
At times it’s hard to stop and say “Hey, you did really well just then”. But luckily, the people around us do a good job of that on our behalf. Firstly, humbly accept and believe these kind words because they haven’t been noticed for no reason. Also, this could be an indication of what you’re good at but haven’t paid much attention to.
Who are your role models?
Throughout my life I’ve had many different role models, never fully realising the significance of why I looked up to these people. Now, I see that during certain phases of discovering my dream job, I was inspired by people that were at the top of their game. Make a list of 4 people and underneath their names, write single words to describe your admiration for them. These words tend to be the exact ones you’d use if I asked you to describe the ideal situation for your life in the next 10 years.
What are you looking for in a company?
Often time, when thinking about working in fashion, we think we’re not good enough for certain companies. But flip that and evaluate if a company is good enough for you! Ask yourself questions such as what would I like my work benefits to be? Are travel and flexibility important to me? What do I want my office environment to be like? What values do I want the company to reflect? This will narrow down the possibilities, putting your career ideals in the centre and give you a clearer vision to move forward with.
It can be a little scary when you feel like the only person that hasn’t figured what your dream job is. But when you’re armed with answers to the questions above, you’ll be ready to create a dream based on skill, confidence, insight and the faith to take the first step.
Check out our ‘Life after Graduation’ series to learn more about the fashion career options available to you.
Words by Dior Bediako