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Graduate Futures host Virtual Graduate Fair with brands sharing their top tips on breaking into industry

Written by J Tilley
Published date 25 June 2020

On Thursday 25 June, LCF's Graduate Futures host the first LCF Virtual Graduate Fair in response to the current coronavirus pandemic. The platform is a space for recent graduates to engage with industry professionals during this uncertain time. The online space will provide those with the opportunity to network and engage with various international brands and attend a series of great virtual webinars across a variety of subjects. The invaluable insights that this platform allow is currently only available for London College of Fashion Postgraduate students and recent graduates, however we had a chat with a few of the brands attending this year for a few words of advice on going into industry as a new graduate.

Although the majority of the webinars are only available for Postgraduate students and graduates, Graduate Futures have made 2 of the webinars public for everyone to join and gain valuable insights. Anyone can join both Inspiring the next generation of creatives in a changing global landscape and A Digital Future for Fashion? on 25 June 2020.

"In these uncertain times, when large parts of the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fashion industry should focus more on developing ideas that can contribute to a more sustainable future for us and generations to come." - H&M Global Production Office

TJX Europe Early Careers Team

In what ways have your teams adapted and continued to create during this time?

The same as most companies I’m sure, the team have been flexible in working from home and using virtual ways to keep in touch. We have been staying connected with candidates via Microsoft Teams and using the time to work on projects to enhance the candidate experience.

What positive things do you think the fashion industry can take on board from this experience?

We don’t always all need to be in the same room to build rapport, strategize to deliver results.

What changes can graduates/placement students expect from the world of employment this year?

There will be a lot more virtual elements to the attraction, assessment and even on boarding elements.

Any tips or advice for students graduating this year?

Embrace the change and think about how it can benefit you. Use some time to learn how to show your best self on virtual platforms to make you feel more comfortable with the change.

H&M Design Team Office - Sweden
In what ways have your teams adapted and continued to create during this time?

Working remotely & using different digital platforms to communicate while being adaptable to a global environment

What positive things do you think the fashion industry can take on board from this experience?

Taking time to connect & understand your core business & customer. New ways to be more sustainable, use of 3D Artists to realise collections and an even bigger focus on e-tail and possibility to reach new customers online.

What changes can graduates/placement students expect from the world of employment this year?

There will be changes in customer behaviour and the world economy will have an impact on the whole retail industry. It will be very competitive market globally and working in a smart & news way will be key.

Any tips or advice for students graduating this year?

Personal development & self-care in these challenging times to stay resilient. We are fast moving into the digital space of interviewing people online via different platforms rather than in person. Take time to practice for potential upcoming video interviews. Network where you can online! Be flexible to a changing environment and look at the opportunities that can come out of this, Focus on the present & short term goals rather than what the future holds as things can change quickly and finally Keep believing in yourself and follow your passion!

H&M Global Production Office - Talent Acquisition Specialists in China and Bangladesh

In what ways have your teams adapted and continued to create during this time?

Right now, we’re facing a situation that no one could have really prepare for. Our teams around the world are coming together and it has never been clearer that we are one global family. We are collaborating to support our customers and our colleagues around the world and trying to make is world a better place to live again by focusing on sustainability.

What positive things do you think the fashion industry can take on board from this experience?

In these uncertain times, when large parts of the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fashion industry should focus more on developing ideas that can contribute to a more sustainable future for us and generations to come.

What changes can graduates/placement students expect from the world of employment this year?

This graduation season will be a bit challenging and anxiety-ridden than years prior. There will be gap in interpersonal interaction, the number of opportunities will be less than usual, and companies will mostly focus on virtual interaction for example video interview & online assessment.

Any tips or advice for students graduating this year?

Our advice to students graduating this year is:

  • Create a robust LinkedIn profile to increase the social media presence that can serve as a marketing tool
  • Try to create a strong network pool by interacting with people at companies and let them know your passion and dedication
  • The trend is leaning towards phone and video interviews, so conduct some mock phone & video interviews for practice that will help you to run the conversation more professionally and smoothly
  • Frequently search career sections on corporate websites, job aggregator sites and other sources and send out resumes if suitable for you
  • Lastly, stay mentally and emotionally strong and temper your expectations so that you won’t get disappointed if the processing takes a long time than usual
Zalando Employer Branding Team

In what ways have your teams adapted and continued to create during this time?

Like in many companies, working from home became the norm for many colleagues working across our fashion departments. Luckily, much of the work can be done remotely, so effective digital collaboration between teams became crucial. Putting a strong focus on mental health has also been very important, with a high demand for mindfulness, positive psychology, and how to create space between work and home life, all whilst still achieving results.

What positive things do you think the fashion industry can take on board from this experience?

A positive development we see is the acceleration of digitisation. In Zalando’s case, we’re supporting brick and mortar shops to go digital by selling on our platform as part of our ‘Connected Retail’ program. Also, we see a growing demand for more sustainable alternatives and pre-owned fashion.

What changes can graduates/placement students expect from the world of employment this year?

Students & graduates can expect much more demand for roles relating to digital and need to be comfortable adapting to this change. The demand for more technologically minded people in fashion companies will also grow with roles such as product management, digital marketing, and business analytics.

Any tips or advice for students graduating this year?

Stay positive and remember so many companies are still hiring. Check out more digital-based companies and go to employers careers pages