Ask Jen

Welcome to Ask Jen, a weekly Q&A with the “career doctor” herself Jennifer Kushell! Every Wednesday, Jen will answer one of your burning career questions so start sending them in!

If you would like to submit a question, please e-mail askjen@ysn.com and she’ll do her best to get to them all. Oh, and don’t forget to register on YSN.com – Your Success Network and fill out your profile so we can link back to it!

YSN member imcs asks: Hello. I am wondering what kind of experience is necessary to work in marketing for a fashion retailer/manufacturer (i.e. Anthropologie, BCBG, Chanel). Right now I am working in retail marketing at a national office supply company; am I in the right track when it comes to “retail” or is there another area of marketing I should focus on?

Jen responds: Having “transferable skills” like the ones you’re building in retail marketing (albeit in office supplies) is definitely an asset worth playing up as you look to make the transition. Try to build your resume or bio around as many of the strengths and experience you’ve gained so far that will serve you well in the new industry. The first thing anyone is going to ask you though, is what experience do you have in fashion. Only you know what you can bring to the table there. But instead of relying only on “passion” or “an strong interest” in it, start to fill your nights and weekends when you’re not working in office supplies, by hitting the fashion scene – the events, the conferences, the shows… whatever you can get yourself into.

Also start looking at volunteering your time at a non-profit that works with a lot of the top fashion retailers that you find most interesting. Give them a chance to see you shine while doing something for a good cause – offer to manage a marketing campaign, organize an activity, start a mentoring program, or chair a committee. All this will expose you (and your talents) to people in fashion, and at the same time help tilt your resume more towards that area, so you don’t look totally green on your first approach.

Lastly, I’d join GenArt right away. It’s an amazing organization that supports young professionals in fashion, music and entertainment. You’ll have a real blast at their events too and probably meet a ton of great people in the biz.

Best of luck!!! Let us know how it goes!!!

Jen