Teaching Fashion: How do I find a job? Part 1

  • It’s not just about the internship
    Like many programs of study, my department has an internship requirement. Actually, it is required for all merchandising students and an elective for all design students. Unlike many college credit internship requirements, in my department if students (merchandising or design) are taking a 4 credit internship, as part of that internship they attend a semester long class that meets once a week for 90 minutes. This class support the students in their internships, gives them a forum to discuss their experiences and work on the necessary skills needed to successfully navigate the ever more competitive job market. Resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, how to dress for an interview, how to network, and how to ‘work’ a job fair are all things we cover. Yes, campus career development offices offer workshops on such things all the time. But let’s be honest, how many of you took advantage of those things when you were an undergrad? I didn’t. Finding time in already busy work and class schedules generally puts extras like that on the way back burner.

    Another aspect of getting a job that we cover is actually finding those job opportunities. As computer savvy as my students are, I found they tend to stick to the mainstream job sites when looking for jobs – Monster, Craigslist, etc. This is my first year teaching this course and I was really surprised that this was the case. Rather than just give them a list of potential sites, I wanted them to find sites for themselves – and determine which sites provided the best opportunities (most job offerings) for their career goals. This is the old teach them to fish, don’t just give them the fish mentality.

    What fish do I want to catch?
    So I devised a worksheet and reserved a computer lab for the entire class time. This was 90 minutes of solid job searching. And you know what? I did not see one student for one second checking facebook or e-mail or shopping. They took this very seriously and were excited about having the push and guidance to do this. First, they needed to identify the search engine used, the search terms used, and identify 5 websites for retail/fashion related positions. Then they chose 3 jobs from 3 of those sites and gathered information about the specific jobs – jobs that are actually within their career goal interests. The list of job sites they found was extensive and many were those I had already identified (and planned to share with them AFTER they did this search). However, they also found a few that were related very specifically to the type of job they want or where they would like to live. For example, I have a student from London who plans to move back to London after graduation. Her job sites were not US-centric.

    I will share the results of the sites found in a future post. For today, I will end with the worksheet I devised. This could be used in any class with a career development component or given to advisees who are struggling with where to look for a job or feeling like there are no jobs out there for them. Let’s face it, finding a job is work and you have to do your homework to put yourself on the path you want for your career.


    Job Search Websites worksheet
    For this assignment, you will find 5 websites with retail job listings that appeal to you. You will analyze the accessibility of the site, types of jobs on the site, information available on the jobs. You will assess 3 jobs from THREE of the sites – job s that appeal to you – FOR WHICH YOU MAY APPLY.

    Search Engine Used:
    Search Terms Used to find job sites:
    Job Websites Found and Used:
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.
    What kind of job would like to have upon graduation?

    What search terms/combinations of terms could you use to search for this job?

    Job Site #1 (repeated for #s 2 & 3______________________________
    Types of jobs found:
    Cost for full access:
    Information available without full access:

    Job 1:
    Search Terms used to find this job:
    Name of company:
    Job Title/Salary:
    Job location:
    Job duties:

    Education/experience requirements:
    Contact information:
    What appeals to you about this job?

    Job 2:
    Search Terms used to find this job:
    Name of company:
    Job Title/Salary:
    Job location:
    Job duties:

    Education/experience requirements:
    Contact information:
    What appeals to you about this job?

    Job 3:
    Search Terms used to find this job:
    Name of company:
    Job Title/Salary:
    Job location:
    Job duties:

    Education/experience requirements:
    Contact information:
    What appeals to you about this job?

    Based on the jobs found, cost, information available etc, do you think this is a website that is worth subscribing to? Why or Why not?

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