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Get a Job at NYC Fashion Week

The bright lights and dazzling glamor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City draw the fashionable from all over the world. Careers start every season as talented faces enter the industry. Getting into the tents takes patience, but the payoff is worthwhile.This article details the best methods for taking that first step in. Read about volunteering, job sites and ways to keep the momentum up once you've arrived.

Landing Your New Fashion Job

Have relevant work experience of at least one year. Managers and coordinators at Fashion Week are looking for professionals who love fashion and have a sense of style. These traits don't necessarily only come from a college classroom. Bring attention to sales goals that you met or exceeded, as well as awards and leadership roles.

Don't discount retail experience. Customer-service skills are invaluable during Fashion Week, since the tents are full of VIPs, executives and models who will require help. A retail background commonly includes client coordination, wardrobe consultation, garment care and the ability to multitask -- all skills that will get you hired.

Job applicants have about one page to dazzle coordinators, so make it matter. Use a two-column format to summarize about 10 topical skills. Next, add three or four past positions with several bullet points summarizing your responsibilities. At the end, insert educational and internship information. Spelling and style count, so use contemporary, easy-to-read fonts with texts of 10 pixels.

Finding the Job and Getting In

Start applying about two months before Fashion Week. Suggested times are December for the February shows and July for the September ones. There is heavy competition from area college students for positions, so expressing interest early is a good idea. Be willing to work for peanuts at first.

Offer to volunteer. Giving your time to the shows for one or two seasons is an excellent way to get a foot in the door. Volunteers commonly set up the venues, assemble goody bags and usher spectators to their seats. Unfortunately, there is only a limited number of open spots every season and college students are favored. Give it a chance.Another way to get into the tents is to intern for The Daily, Fashion Week's favorite gossip paper. The Daily girls and boys hand out free magazines, greet people and look fabulous. It's a fun internship.

Send your resume in to the Ground Crew. Started by fashion grand dame Audrey Smaltz, the Ground Crew is a hand-picked team of dressers, stylists and wardrobe pros who work as the backbone of most of the major shows (full disclosure: this author has been a member since 1999). If you have nerves of steel and are graceful under pressure, visit their Website and send a short letter of interest.

Reference useful industry Websites for e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other information. Women's Wear Daily has a great job board and is a leading source for fashion jobs. Of course, don't discount the importance of Craigslist for last-minute opportunities.

Try cold-calling for a good last resort. For those with solid fashion experience, good pitching ability and polished credentials, job seekers can contact various PR agencies, production studios and designers through their contact info. This isn't recommended for people with less than three years of high-end fashion or wardrobe expertise.

How to Handle The Tents Once You're In

Dress the part. Different positions such as volunteering and Ground Crew have a dress code or standard T-shirt, but there's nothing wrong with livening things up. Great hair, makeup, shoes and accessories are definitely the thing in the tents.

Be discreet about networking and check the ego at the door. People are busy, with millions of dollars riding on one 15-minute show. Most don't want to be bothered with job hunters. If someone is interested in your skills, they will let you know. Keep business cards on hand to make information exchanges easy.

Always look ahead to next season's opportunities. Patience and perseverance will win friends, support, and a good reputation. Many great jobs are found through simple word of mouth. Just a simple e-mail every month can keep you in the running for the next great runway experience.

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