How to Get a Digital Job in Fashion
Our Founding Director shares her tips for making your cover letter and CV stand out in a crowded inbox.
'I have a passion for fashion.' I'm definitely guilty of having used the hackneyed phrase when applying for my first few jobs. Over a decade later and having viewed a lot of cover letters and CVs, I can see how cliched the phrase is, and how it may well result in an application being disregarded before the hiring manager has even read it properly.
I'm by no means a recruitment expert, but I have had to pore over fair few job applications during my time at Net-a-Porter, MatchesFashion.com and now at my own digital agency. Here are my tips and tricks for making your application stand out from the rest.
Check for typos
I've included this first as it is the single most common mistake I've witnessed applicants make. First, do a simple spellcheck, then read through your entire CV and cover letter at least twice, if not three times. (It also helps to read aloud, so you don't miss anything.) You can miss errors while proofing your own work, so get a friend to check over it for you, too. If one of the criteria for job role is attention to detail, you can't afford to let a misspelling come between you and an interview.
Keep it brief
My first CV was five pages long (with illustrations). This isn't a good idea, not least because the person in charge of filtering applications will either abhor you for adding an hour to their workload, or more likely, simply toss your application in their virtual bin before reading to the end. Keep your CV to one or two pages, and generally, try to stick to one (absolute maximum, two) pages for your cover letter.
Depending on the job role you're applying for, you'll need to design your CV to suit. If you're a graphic designer or content creator, it needs to be seriously aesthetically pleasing, and ideally, mirror the aesthetic of the company you're applying to. If you're applying for a non-creative role, your CV doesn't need to be Photoshopped to perfection, but at least ensure the font types and sizing are consistent, and that it looks visually appealing.
No photos, please
Whether or not it is preferable to attach a headshot to one's application differs wildly depending on where you are in the world. In the UK, it's best practice not to include a photo (and that's my personal preference, too).
Customise, customise, customise!
I totally understand how time consuming it is to send off 10+ applications, and how tempting it is to send the same CV and cover letter. But the extra time you spend customising each application will pay dividends, I promise. Get to know the company you're applying for and weave some of this knowledge into your cover letter.
Make it personal
If you can find out the name of the HR manager or the person responsible for fielding applications, include it in your email and cover letter! A 'To Sir/Madam' feels impersonal and demonstrates a lack of attention to detail when the name of the person was included in the job advert.
Given you only have a maximum of two pages via which to convey your incredible talent, experience and suitability, avoid including any information that isn't absolutely necessary. Personally, I'm not wild on the 'interests' section, unless you have a super interesting hobby like space travel or competitive duck herding, or have competed in the Olympics. I don't need to know that you like letting your hair down at the weekends, listening to music or hanging out with friends. And we know 'socialising' means getting drunk with your pals. No judgement, but probably best to exclude that from your CV.
Words by Natalie Hughes