Having been fired from another job (see 'Fired, but fabulous'), each morning I went to the same coffee shop on Portobello Road to scour the ads for the potential perfect PA role. The same coffee, the same seat to the left of the window. I remember it was early spring as I had spilled coffee on a cream cable knit jumper, a favoured wardrobe staple that was going to see me through the season.
I was flicking through the pages of a national newspaper's recruitment section, hoping to find the dream role before I left for a trip the following Monday. I had my side hustles, at that time it was an eBay store where I would sell clothing and accessories at prices hugely inflated from the sum I had originally bought them for, but I wanted something solid. And I wanted to work in fashion.
That morning there was only one ad that seemed even slightly appealing. The description was vague, but the role required the applicant to have previous media experience. I had worked in advertising (securing a PA role after starting as a holiday cover on reception) and also had a short stint as the worlds most unsuccessful TV reporter (landing this job after recognizing a TV head and introducing myself with great charm), so decided this would be enough to secure me an interview.
Having torn the ad from the page, I left the paper for the next customer who took my seat that morning. I placed the ad in my purse, wiping the newspaper ink from my fingers as I made my way home through the stucco-fronted streets of Notting Hill.
It wasn't until I returned from my trip a week later that I answered the anonymous ad. I am unsure why I waited so long to respond. I guess life just got in the way. I was sure the role would have been filled, but surprisingly I was asked to interview for the job. Three interviews later, I landed the role of PA to supermodel Claudia Schiffer. Through answering this anonymous ad, I met the elite of the fashion and film industry, making invaluable contacts that would eventually help me secure my dream career as a fashion stylist (more on how I did that without any specific experience later).
Take that chance, even if you are convinced you will be too late, you will be rejected, sidelined. If you ever question why you're applying for a role, or contacting someone in the hope they may have a job, remember it will either work out, or it won't. And if it doesn't, something else will. SOMETHING else will. Never be afraid to reach out to people on the off-chance they have a position available. Search online for contact details of names you admire in the industry you want to work in. If you can’t find a direct email (or at least an assistant’s email) DM them on social media; you would be surprised at how many people read the unsolicited messages that reach their inbox. You may just have sent a message to the right person at the right time.
Don’t hesitate and never procrastinate – all you’re doing is delaying the fabulous life you want.
Nail that CV
Knowing where to start when it comes to creating a CV can be tricky. Highlighting – and indeed slightly exaggerating – your achievements is the name of the game here and first impressions count for everything in fashion.
Using a font that’s easy on the eye (I use the classic Times New Roman) and keeping descriptions clear and to the point will keep your prospective employer’s attention. Long winded descriptions of your previous work history will send your CV heading straight for the trash.
Detail only the key jobs and experience you’ve had. Two weeks folding shirts in a retail store or a summer picking fruit in a French field won’t nab you the job of your dreams (unless you wish to organize clothing at a strawberry farm in the South of France, then maybe keep those two in.)
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so take inspiration from examples of note on the net and you’ll have your fabulous new CV set to send in no time.
The general rule in polite society is be inspired by others’ work, but never blatantly steal an idea. In this instance, I am giving you full permission to steal away! Find a killer CV on an online search and create an identical style with your own experience.
You need that job sweetie and there’s no time to be cordial when ten thousand others are vying for the same role.