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Ask Claire: How Do I Break Into Fashion PR?

It’s been a little while since we had an Ask Claire question! And on this rare occasion where I have absolutely NO events to attend today (HALLELUJAH), I bring you a query from aspiring publicist De’Adreana!
She writes, “I’m a senior college student, my major is Public Relations and my minor is Fashion Merchandising. My dream is to work within Fashion PR and become an image consultant. My only problem is I don’t feel like I have the right guidance to pursue that. I’m not sure what my next steps are after graduation on where I should intern or where I should network. I just need help.”
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Hello De’Adreana! Thanks for writing in. My advice to you would be my advice to anyone graduating from college with aspirations to break into fashion: Intern. There are loads of fashion brands and loads of fashion PR firms (KCD, Factory PR, Karla Otto, PR Consulting). Pinpoint the one you’d like to work for the most and send letters of inquiry and a resume (via email and snail mail–make it snazzy but classy). Research alumni who went to your school to see if any of them work in Fashion PR. Ask friends and family members if they know of anyone who might be able to help you secure a position. Know that sometimes you might have to start with local, smaller PR firms before you move to a bigger city. That’s ok. Start where you are and with what you have available to you. Build upon that experience, build great references, and use it to get your next opportunity.
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Step 1: Identify where you want to work. Be specific about why. When I first started in the industry I wanted to work at Vogue but didn’t have the experience. I was in my hometown of Atlanta so looked up a local magazine, which was Upscale. I didn’t know anyone at Upscale, I just wrote a great letter and sent in my resume and was granted an interview. I ultimately received an UNPAID internship. Know that many internships are unpaid or poorly paid, so be sure that your expectations are in check. Also be sure to line up a cool side job to make ends meet.
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While you are an intern, be the best intern possible! Go over and above. Do such a great job that you’ll either leave with a full time paid position or great references. Read more about what it takes to be a great intern here.
That does it! If you need tips on how to write a great resume and/or cover letter, there are services that can help you with that. And while you’re at it, make sure your Instagram and Facebook profiles (if they are public) reflect the best version of you. Want to network? Come to Cocktails with Claire, along with any other opportunities earmarked for future publicists (Find 12 great conferences for Fashion PR & Marketing hopefuls here).
That does it. What do you guys think?
Love & Light,

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