Image credit: Imaxtree
Picture the scene, you turn up at a networking event, dressed like the fashionista that you are, and randomly get talking to a senior fashion professional. You hit it off like a house on fire and before you can send that ‘OMG’ text to your best friend, you’ve got a much-sought after internship and on the way to living your dream.
That’s pretty much what happened to lawyer-turned-fashion editor Preetma Singh. She bagged a Refinery29 internship after meeting the editor-in-chief at a networking event. Preetma says,
“I met Christene Barberich, the editor-in-chief of Refinery29, randomly at an event. She kind of liked what I was wearing, we started talking and I mentioned that I was thinking about getting into fashion but didn’t know anybody. She said that if I wanted an internship all I had to do was call her. So I left my job and started interning at Refinery.”
“Fashion networking events will provide you with the place
and the right mix of people for you to connect with your potential mentor,
client or even future boss!”
So, if you think you’re the next editor of Vogue in waiting, then how do you get that proverbial foot in the door? Well, that’s where networking comes in. By definition, networking is about “interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.” And it’s one of your best hopes of making headway when it comes to finding that dream job.
And it happens online too! Man Repeller founder, Leandra Medine connected with her now bestie Amelia Diamond via Facebook. A complimented dress and mutual interest turned into Amelia becoming the deputy editor and senior writer at Man Repeller.
Whether you work in PR, design, social media or styling, it’s crucial to invest time in meeting and connecting with people who can help take your career to the next level.
To get the best out of these events make sure you always have a toolbox of dos and don’ts at your fingertips.
Make LinkedIn your new bible and use it to familiarise yourself with the speakers and fellow attendees
Read their blogs/sites and social media.
Research the organiser of the event.
Follow the 15-min rule
Spend no more than 15 minutes talking to any one person.
Aim to make solid connections rather than short and superficial conversations.
Have a set of questions in mind.
How did you get into fashion?
What brings you here today?
What’s been your biggest takeaway?
Talk less and listen more
Make a note of any inspirational quotes.
Jot down names that could be future contacts.
Note any references/resources that would make useful additions to your personal database.
Stand out from the crowd
Stay in touch with your new contacts.
Send them a short thank you or follow up email.
Follow them on social media.
Pass on information/resources that might be useful to them.
Share your fashion blog.
Embrace the successful people around you
Be inspired by the stories of people who are where you want to be.
Dress to impress
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to confidently presenting yourself. Wear what YOU feel like a winner in and you’ll naturally exude confidence.
Send out negative messages
Be prepared to be the one who breaks the ice.
Maintain eye contact and nod appropriately to show that you’re really listening.
Let your natural exuberance shine through. Research shows that “people who “talk” with their hands tend to be viewed as warm, agreeable and energetic”.
Hide behind your phone
Unless you are…
Adding a new email or number to your contacts list.
Making a note of an inspirational quote you just heard.
Writing down a reference for future use.
Knowing how to confidently weave your way around a networking event is your first step towards that dream job in the fashion industry. So when your next email invitation pops ups, make sure you have this little toolbox of tips to hand.