How I Got a Job in Fashion with No Experience

How I Got a Job in Fashion with No Experience

Seven years ago I had a do-or-die moment: if I couldn’t find a creative job in Boston then I’d move to New York.

I’d been working an administrative job where my desk was literally in the hallway and my days were exactly the same every day. I needed that job to get by, because nine months earlier, I’d done something seemingly foolish: I quit my perfectly fine media job without anything lined up.

For months I had had this nagging feeling in the back of my head, that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I started to question if “perfectly fine” was all I could hope for in life. Then it came to a point where having no job was preferable to having one that I dreaded every day.

So I quit. I was in a rut. I guess that’s bound to happen when you avoid making choices. I spent most of my adult life with no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. In high school, I picked colleges based on whether or not they were in big cities, not on the strength of the programs. Then in college, I’d waited until the very last second to declare a major, only because I was forced to. By the time graduation rolled around, I hadn’t chosen a career path, so I had no strategy or plan. I didn’t want to choose, because choosing felt permanent. Irreversible. I’d look at a 17-year-old who’d say something self-assured, like, “I’m going to be a veterinarian,” and think, Yeah, but how do you know that when you have limited life experience???

I wasn’t that 17-year-old. And I’m still not. I’ve never known anything for sure unless I tried it for myself.

Thankfully, “trying things out for myself” was my main MO in life. All the random temp jobs I’d worked to make ends meet helped me pinpoint what I liked to do and what I didn’t like. And after three years, I started to feel like I could do more than just “perfectly fine.” I wanted to do something hands-on and creative. When I thought about it and connected the dots, creativity was the running thread through anything that made me happy since I was a kid. And there was one industry that always intrigued me: fashion.

I started brainstorming fashion-y places I could work at in Boston, where I lived. There were a handful of shoe companies based there: Converse, Puma, New Balance, Reebok. I reached out to a friend of a friend who was a designer at Converse and asked if he could pass my resume to a hiring manager. He did, and then nothing happened. I then wrote a nice letter to a boutique on Newbury Street saying I’d work for them for free. After following up, again nothing happened.

It was settled then. I’d move to New York. And since I didn’t have a full-time job lined up, I’d use my free time to see if fashion was for me.

In four months, I got two fashion jobs in New York: an unpaid internship and a fulfillment job at companies I admired. And it wasn’t that hard. While some of it was luck, there were also specific things I did that helped me land the jobs. And along the way, I learned not only career lessons, but important lessons about life, too.

If you’ve ever felt lost or stuck at work, or have no idea what to do with your life, then this post is for you. While this story details my foray into fashion, the same principles can be applied to any job hunt or career change.

The Biggest Risk Is Never Trying at All

On the outset, I looked pretty delusional.

Who did I think I was, believing I was qualified to work in fashion? I wasn’t qualified at all. I had zero fashion experience. I studied English at a regular college. I knew no one in the industry. Unlike other teens, I had never even worked a retail job at the mall. On paper it looked like I had no business being in fashion.

But I wasn’t going to let those minor details stop me from trying.

Because a few months before moving I’d made the decision to try. Just like all the jobs I had before, I’d never know if fashion was really for me unless I tried it out myself.

Feeling unqualified for something was scary. But what was worse was never knowing if I could have succeeded. You set yourself up to fail the second you decide to not try. And New York City was a place where everyone was trying to make things happen for themselves, so surely I’d be in good company. With its countless creative opportunities, and its vibrant heart of the fashion industry, all the elements I wanted were there. I just had to reach out, make an effort, and see what happened. More importantly, I knew that if I didn’t at least try to get a job in fashion then I’d never forgive myself. I’d never know if I was capable of more than “perfectly fine.” Not trying was the surefire way to live a small life.

Life is really a series of small risks, because there’s never a guarantee of any outcome. So whenever I’m faced with a scary decision, I ask myself two questions:

  • Could the reward outweigh the risk? Yes, I’d be working in an industry that many people dream about.
  • If it doesn’t work out, what’s the very worst scenario that could happen? I would go back to my old industry. No harm, no foul.

All systems were a go.

ABL = Always Be Learning

After I quit my media job, I saw unemployment as an opportunity. Sure I spent time looking for a new job, but I also saw tons of free hours I could now spend on improving myself. I created a personal style blog that I could potentially use as a portfolio. I signed up to train to be a literacy volunteer. I went to my local TV station and learned how to operate a video camera, and how to edit clips in Final Cut Pro. I wanted to learn how to sew with leather, but leather was expensive. Unlike regular fabric, if you messed up sewing with leather, there weren’t any do-overs. So I went to the small business library, looked up all the leather companies in the area, then started calling each one to see if they had any remnants they would give to me for free. I spent my days working on the blog, driving around to different factories to pick up free leather, and experimenting with creating my own patterns.

Extracurriculars are the best way to distinguish yourself when you have no experience. In my case, sewing was something I could talk about in interviews and use to redirect from my lack of formal experience. And on the first day of my internship, guess what we were asked to do? We had to sew curtains for a store opening.

I’m not saying that everyone start learning skills they don’t care about, but find the things that you’ve always been interested in, and nurture them. I can’t think of any downside to growing your skills, only ways they can help you.

The Problem with Overestimating Barriers

Next up was starting the job hunt process. But first I had to ignore the invisible scripts that people tell themselves so they don’t have to do things that are intimidating. Things like:

-You have no experience. Why would anyone hire you?
Oh, you mean, no formal experience. But I had plenty of experience if you looked at how I spent my free time. I had the style blog and I taught myself how to sew. I had more than a superficial knowledge about fashion, designers and brands through reading magazines and blogs. I’d been selling clothes online and writing the corresponding copy since I was in high school. If I could just get my foot in the door, then I could get people in the industry to see my potential, too.

You’re not in college anymore. Isn’t it embarrassing to be an adult intern?
Of course it is. But you know what’s more embarrassing to me? Never trying and spending years wondering what could have been.

-You’ll barely make any money. That’s why I’ve been saving my money all along. So I can do stuff like this and minimize any major impacts on my finances.

Nobody likes to fail. So when we’re faced with a challenge, and we’re not confident in our own abilities, many times we choose to do nothing nothing at all. Rather than risk failure, it’s way easier to rationalize all the reasons why something can’t be done.

But if I thought about it, none of those things were true barriers at all, but doubts I let swirl around in my head. The only thing standing in the way of getting the fashion job, the real barrier, was ME. All I had to do was simply apply.

Visualize First, Execute Second

Instead of randomly applying for any fashion job I saw, I took a more deliberate approach. First I sat down and thought about the traits of the place I’d want to work at:

It had to be a small company. Since I had no formal experience, I was going to have to be prepared to start at the bottom. But that was OK, because I was thinking about the long game. If I ended up liking fashion, it would be easier to advance at a smaller company where your contributions are more visible. The internship had only five people, and the fulfillment job had 15. I knew that if I worked hard at either to move up, I could. But if I applied at an established company like Chanel, first of all, they most likely would have had an actual HR department that wouldn’t allow non-students like me to intern. And the career paths would be more regimented and harder to navigate.

It had to be a place I actually would shop at and admired. If I would be working for free, it would be easier to show up for a company I genuinely liked.

But it had to be a name that was recognizable to fashion people. There are lots of talented indie designers, but I wouldn’t intern for a brand that no one knew. Having recognizable names on your resume would help open doors that unknowns couldn’t.

After I had my list I brainstormed about 10 companies that fit that criteria. These would be my targets. Focusing on companies I chose sparked a sense of control and felt more like a viable strategy with a clear path, bringing me closer to achieving my goals.

Then I started watching internship websites and Craigslist like a hawk.

Standing Out Is Easier Than You Think

Here’s a secret: it’s easy to stand out. Why? Because most people are lazy. That means you have an opportunity to distinguish yourself without all that much effort.

After I’d found some job listings that fit my criteria, next up was my favorite part: the cover letters. Cover letters are important because they’re a way to show who you are. This was my time to shine, because I knew I could write from an authentic place. Sometimes that’s all it takes to stand out. Here’s what I wrote to the company where I got my internship:

Nothing earth-shattering, but every single line I wrote was there for a reason.

I wasn’t applying for any random internship. I was applying for their specific internship. I dropped a line in there to show that I was familiar with the store and the designers they carried.
I focused on what I could do for them, not on what I wanted.
I included a link to my blog so they could see what my taste was like.

I know it seems so obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t follow basic guidelines. If you can make an effort to just be a little bit better than most people, then it’s not hard to stand out.

While I didn’t get an immediate response (most likely because I was emailing before I moved to New York), they replied a month and a half later, saying my response stood out. I got the job.

The Power of the Two P’s: Patience and Persistence

I started emailing places a few months before my move date so I could plant some seeds. I knew that finding a job, and one in a new field, would take some time. That’s the thing. Most people give up too soon. They hear the first no, and then they move on. I hear the first no, and I know that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. Just because there’s no opportunity now doesn’t mean there won’t be one later. True to my hypothesis, neither one of the jobs I got were an immediate slam dunk. The internship didn’t respond to me until a month and a half later, and the fulfillment job took 3 months of casual follow ups before I was hired.

The fulfillment job was actually an unpaid fashion internship at first. I sent them my basic cover letter with some tweaks:

Lina responded to me two days later telling me to follow up when I was actually in New York.

I thanked Lina for the response, then dutifully followed up when I got to New York.

Lina did not respond.

Avoid the HR Black Hole of Death

But I didn’t give up. A month later I was trolling Craigslist again, and I came across a fulfillment job at the same company. An actual paid job instead of an internship! Sure I’d be packing orders for $12 an hour, but it was a foot in the door at one of my favorite e-commerce stores. I got to work on my cover letter, but paused at replying directly to the Craigslist listing. Here’s why:

I have this rule where I try to bypass HR as much as possible. I call it the HR Black Hole of Death, where your resume goes to a generic HR email inbox to never be heard from again. Whoever was at the end of that Craigslist email address most likely had no idea that I was alive. It would be too easy for my application to get lost in the shuffle. How could I get my resume to the top of their inbox?

I decided instead to email Lina again. I had emailed with Lina a few times already, and passing off my resume to an actual employee instead of the generic Craigslist e-mail seemed like a smarter move.

I was right. Lina said things had been busy at the office and apologized for not getting back to me about the internship! She also forwarded my resume to the hiring manager.

A few days later, the the owner of the company called me and said, “Lina sent me your resume” like Lina and I were old friends. I interviewed for the job and was hired. So, whenever you have the choice to e-mail a generic company e-mail address or an actual person, always, always go with the person.

Doing Things Is Better Than Reading About Them

By finding time for hobbies, standing out, and being persistent, I was able to explore a different career path to see if it was for me. I could have just as easily gone about my life and always wondered, “What could have been?” Or just read about different fashion careers in blogs and magazine, and lived vicariously through them. After a few months of living the life, I discovered that fashion was not for me, and I quit both jobs and went back to my old industry. But knowing for sure it wasn’t for me was a priceless experience.

So if you’ve ever been curious about another path, then find a way to see if you can experience it yourself, even if it’s just for a day. When I quit my media job, I knew that job wasn’t right for me, but I had no clue which direction to go. I did what anyone who’s ever been lost before has probably done: I read career books like, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” and I took personality assessment tests like the one in “StrengthsFinder.” While those books were interesting to read, they did jack squat for clarifying my true path in life. I was just as aimless after reading them as I was before. Because here’s the thing: no book or blog post in the world can replace actually getting out there and trying things for yourself.

Final Thoughts

I’ll always cherish those experiences I had when I went renegade on my career. I learned that I could sew two curtains in three hours. I learned what it’s like to open up a new store. I learned which factories these companies used, in case I ever wanted to start my own line. Most importantly, I learned that I was capable of more than “perfectly fine.” And that sometimes the only thing between you and what you want is the audacity to try.

Am I the only one who’s ever felt stuck at work? Have you ever successfully changed careers? What are your favorite job tips?

Image: Unsplash

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  • Luxe, this was so helpful and inspirational to read. Literally, going through this right now. I recently left an unpaid internship at a small fashion company (~6 employees total) because I felt that there was something more that I could be doing, and despite my lack of experience I should have negotiated some sort of compensation for the work that I was doing. But I didn’t because I am so bad at speaking up for myself when it comes to my skills.

    I often feel a sense of envy for people who see New York as a place of opportunity because it sometimes seems like it’s missed on people like me who don’t see it that way-like a leap of faith. I always wonder what’s the equivalent to moving to New York as a non-New Yorker (for a NY-er).

    Your blog posts always add so much value and hope! I feel totally inspired to finish that blog post I’ve been stuck on. Thanks!!

    • Thanks! I think it’s hard with fashion, because there are so many people vying for those jobs, the companies have no incentive to actually pay. That’s a totally different problem. Anyway, I’m sorry that it didn’t work out for you!

      I think the opposite for New Yorkers is a tiny, rural town in New England! We took my husband’s so to see Lady Bird last week. Not a spoiler or whatever, but the main character is from California and dreams of going to college on the East Coast (NY, specifically). Anyway, I was hoping my husband’s son would watch it and realize that he lives in a dream city for many people, but I don’t think he noticed 🙂 But at the same time, I don’t think anyone really appreciates where they grow up.

      And I’m glad you finished your post 🙂

  • “I’d done something seemingly foolish: I quit my perfectly fine media job without anything lined up.”
    I’ve spent months debating this very thing! I have a perfectly good job in media with a great salary, but often I find myself feeling unfulfilled. Unlike you, however, I know I wouldn’t be nearly as productive in my free time. I also don’t have a separate passion that I want to chase; it’s more that I don’t know what I want to do with myself. This is actually a huge part of why I joined the FIRE movement; so I can financially get myself to a place where I can figure out what I want. That goes against your final point, though; I need to just DO something new.
    I’m impressed again and again by how much of a do-er you are. It’s hella motivating; posts like these are a loud reminder of the fact I need to start making changes in my life.

    • There are so many low-risk ways to actually try and do things. Like, I would actually advocate people NOT go to grad school unless they’re positive they want to do said thing. Two years is a long time to spend on something you might not like.

      You are still super young, so you have time to figure things out. And I think your FIRE plan is pretty solid. If you could FIRE by 30, you’d still be young AND have time to figure stuff out. Anyway, as an older person here is my advice to you: your energy wanes as you get older. I’m shocked by all the things I had the energy/drive to do in my early 20s. Now I’m lucky if I pack myself a lunch for the next day 🙂

  • The Luxury Change

    “The Power of the Two P’s: Patience and Persistence” This is so truth, I’m specially good at persistence, but have zero patience, which had lead to unnecessary frustrating moments. Really loved this! I wonder why working at fashion wasn’t for you though, that’ll be nice to read too!

    • Patience is a virtue! I’m super impatient in lots of ways, but I know building things takes time. And the more I’ve achieved success by waiting, the more I value patience.

      For me, I didn’t enjoy the specific fashion environments I was in mainly due to personality. I adore autonomy and working on things by myself, while the environments I was in valued a lot of socializing, which I found kinda draining. If I wanted to try it again, I’d have to start my own business, I think.

  • This is amazing! What a great story. Way to leverage some savings and take risks in order to achieve the career you wanted!

    • Hey, thanks! Yet ANOTHER reason why saving in the background is super smart. It’s easier to save money when you actually have some, right? NOT when you’re in a bind and desperate.

  • ying

    Wow, what a detailed post and so helpful. I really had to laugh at pissing off all the old white guys when you forgot to make the coffee!

    I really admire how you took control of your situation and your life. The way you cold-emailed companies, spent time learning as much as you could, etc. Instead of toiling away at a job you didn’t care for and hoping something else would fall into your lap, you took action to make everything happen. That’s something I personally struggle with because I always fall into the trap of thinking, “Why would anyone want me? My resume isn’t impressive, I have no useful skills to offer, etc., etc.” I end up scaring myself into doing nothing at all which then basically guarantees that I don’t succeed.

    Reading this post has opened my eyes a little bit. Thank you for sharing! Your blog has become one of my favorites.

    • Ha, I HATED those old guys. They made me feel like crap because I was bad at being a secretary. But that doesn’t mean I’m a useless person in general. It just wasn’t the right fit. And I’m AMAZING at other things.

      I think it’s pretty common for people to not feel confident enough so they think they can’t do things. So I wanted to break down that some of the barriers really aren’t barriers at all! All it takes is a shift in mindset. Why shoot yourself down before even trying? And I’ve been rejected so many times, I’m so used it by now. For me, rejection is kind of like a handshake now. I know it’s doesn’t necessarily mean the end unless I give up right away.

      And it makes my day to hear my blog is one of your favorites!

  • My biggest tip is apply even if you think you’re unqualified. I almost didn’t apply for the position I recently started because they wanted a lot more computer programming experience than I had. I found out in the first week of the job that that programming experience was a hold-over when the position was brand new and wasn’t actually something I’d be doing on a day-to-day basis. I’m so glad I applied, even though I was sure I would get shot down. (Sidenote: I assumed you worked in tech.. no idea why I thought that haha).

    • That’s so awesome that you applied and it worked out for you!

      I’ve always felt that job descriptions were way overplayed, anyway. I mean, if you think about it, most of us grow into our jobs. And if we left our jobs now, and tried to apply again as a new candidate, we probably couldn’t even get our own jobs! The ones we’ve been working and kicking ass at for years.

  • Thorough as usual Luxe. I think if you replaced the word fashion with drawing/writing then you would get a more intelligent version of my story. What made you decide working in fashion wasn’t for you? Was there a breaking moment? I feel like sometimes I hold back from pursuing because I’m afraid it would turn out “its not for me” so I wouldn’t even be able to entertain my dreams. With your talent and 2 Ps, I have no doubt that I will know someone who will be a very famous fashion designer one day 🙂

    P.S. I hate HR too. Like Michael from the Office who hated Toby? Not Michael’s fault.

    • Lily, I do not like the word “thorough” as a word to describe my posts. Please come up with a new adjective 🙂

      I had no idea you were into drawing! You should incorporate them into your posts! I think it’s probably misleading to say that fashion isn’t for me, because you can always carve out your own niche in some way. It was the specific environments I was in that I didn’t like. It wasn’t nearly as fun as I thought it would be, and there was a lot more socializing required than I felt like doing. I’m definitely more like a head-down worker who likes building stuff alone.

      I think there are ways to test new careers without putting a ton of effort into it. Like, maybe shadowing someone for a day, or taking them out to coffee and asking them questions. Actually, if you have down time from your Airbnb stuff and blogging, I think testing out a new career would be fun for you.

  • “Here’s a secret: it’s easy to stand out. Why? Because most people are lazy.”

    ^^This quote is so true. I get frustrated at times when I don’t get picked up for certain jobs or opportunities, but I also know that I’ve gotten much closer to great opportunities than most just by doing simple things like follow-ups or responding promptly to e-mails. Sometimes using basic etiquette can get you further than you think, even when it seems like a no-brainer. I love how thorough and strategic you were in applying for jobs in fashion. I’ve long given up my dream of pursuing a career in the fashion industry, but if I had seen this post back when it was an interest of mine, I’d have some great guidelines to follow. 🙂

    • I’ve hired and managed people, so yes, I’ve seen the full gamut of applications. I would jump for joy when someone actually followed instructions. And I’d include a lot of directions because I need someone who’s detail oriented. But yes, in general, I see people being super enthusiastic about things, but they don’t want to put the work in to make it happen. And YES. The art of the follow-up is another basic thing I see people fail to do time and time again. It applies to picking roommates, too. If people didn’t follow up, then they wouldn’t get the apartment.

  • Smart Money Seed

    Awesome story! So many college students are focused on trying to get relevant experience through formal internships and jobs. While that’s great, it’s important to keep in mind you can do things on your own that can become talking points in interviews and provide experience that will translate to value for companies.

    • Thanks, SMS! I agree that internships are important, but barring those, doing things on your own is the way to stand out. Especially nowadays when there’s such a low barrier to entry in terms of creating an online presence, there’s almost no excuse for not having a blog. And yes, candidates who have interesting talking points and hobbies definitely stand out!

  • Great and very helpful post! I am super-impressed by your story. Although law plays out a bit differently than other fields and leaves fewer options for people to explore it in less traditional ways (before law school, there’s pretty much nothing but being a paralegal or secretary, or interning as one, and without the ability to devote at least 2-3 months of near full-time hours, it’s unlikely one will get too far beyond secretarial tasks), there’s still a lot of value to being willing to put oneself out there.

    Because we’re generally so risk-averse, there’s not a lot of my peers (at schools where we’re confidently that even average students will have good jobs) who go to much effort at all to push out of their comfort zones. From some outside perspectives “coasting” and taking it easy seem to result in functionally equal outcomes to working hard (still biglaw, same salary), but there are still some differences (more, though not complete, control over what practice group to enter, a more “prestigious” firm with better exit options). I’d like to think I’ve been good about pushing myself out of my comfort zone throughout law school and after (something I pretty much never did in college), but even then I still worried that I’d be underqualified for my current job. I went for it though, and it’s paying off!

    • Here’s my question to you: how did you know you wanted to go into law? I’ve always been fascinated by those who take that commitment to all that extra schooling, and are so sure of themselves. That would scare me a lot, as I’ve generally been a job hopper.

      Funny enough, one of my first bosses said I would be a great paralegal. So maybe if I change my career one day I can work for you 🙂

      With law school and other advanced careers I definitely see there’s more of a “track” where it’s easy to coast, but good for you for trying to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I’m sure it resulted in more than you think!

      • I went to law school mostly because I knew I didn’t have a future, financial or otherwise, in what I actually wanted to do, going into academia after getting a PhD in history – I was still young and foolish, I don’t think I’d even have enjoyed PhD level study of history if I’d gone into it. Law seemed like a field that valued research/writing, and well, it was something society sort of stereotypes as a good “default” field (that’s totally not true and a bad reason to go to law school in most cases, yikes, but it worked out for me).

        • I’m someone who refused to write a thesis in college, so I’m amazed by people who love to continue the academic work post-college! I’m glad you found a field that matches your interests, even if the PhD didn’t work out.

  • Allie Cleve

    Such a well written post, and it’s so interesting to hear about how you started your career in fashion! I moved back to Germany after university but couldn’t find a job (Master’s degrees aren’t worth anything apparently) so I bit the bullet and took an unpaid internship a family friend offered at her advertising agency. I treated it like I would any other paid job, worked hard and that unpaid internship turned into a paid internship and then a junior position! It really is just a matter of somehow getting your foot in the door and then working your way up.

    • Thanks for sharing your story! It’s so awesome that you networked, worked your butt off at that unpaid internship, and turned into a paid job. And 100% agree about just getting your foot in the door. I would have been a janitor if it was my dream company 🙂 Sometimes you have to have faith in yourself that your situation is just temporary, and it can change. Maybe you’re not doing your dream job now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be later.

  • Erin @ Reaching for FI

    Damn, Luxe, this is super inspiring! It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that I should probably be looking for a new job, but my excuse is always that I don’t know what I want to do. Yet here you are reminding me that my excuses are worthless and I just need to go ahead and put myself out there!

    • Thanks, Erin! I’ve been in the same boat where I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I discovered that finding a new job definitely takes some soul searching. For me, I thought about all the jobs I had, what I liked and what I didn’t like, what made me really proud of myself, and then I started to see common threads. I even thought about things I liked doing when I was a kid. Good luck!

  • Femme Cents

    I think this is really great advice for anyone looking for a job or considering a career change in any industry! You have an inspiring story, and I laughed out loud, when you said you ultimately went back to your old industry. But at least you will never ask, “what if?”.
    My Dad always told me, the only thing you’re guaranteed is you won’t get the job if you don’t apply.

    • Yeah, exactly. Who wants to live a life of “What if?” Not me! And it was a fairly low-risk test that had little impact on my career and finances. If that’s the case, why WOULDN’T you try it out?

      And your dad is a smart man 🙂 Thankfully, I’ve gotten to so much rejection from when I was a teenager that ‘no’ is like a ‘soft yes’ when it comes to careers. Maybe it’s ‘no’ now, but I can convince them to change their mind later.

  • You go girl! That’s what I ALWAYS say to people who ask about career paths and how I ended up where I am… you don’t know what you want to do until you do it. I interned at a law office in high school because I thought I wanted to go into patent law… that’s how I know 100% for sure I do not want to be a lawyer!

    However, I was that 17-year-old who KNEW what they wanted (to get a PhD and be a science professor and run a lab and save the world duh). But ironically, after 4 years of undergrad, 2 years of masters, and 3 years of PhD, turns out it wasn’t actually for me…

    So I followed pretty much your exact formula of: research, brainstorm companies, send targeted applications, follow up, boom get into new career! Good thing I totally loved it and have been happy doing that ever since 🙂 I’m glad you made the jump and took the risk, at least now you know.

    • Thanks! And I just read your article. 100% agree with everything you said. If you want to take risks in life, it’s a lot easier if you set yourself up to be OK financially. And YES, you do not have to cash out your 401k for business school if you’re not sure (something a friend of mine did). There are plenty of low-risk things you can at least start to test without spending a ton of money and time.

      OK, so we were OPPOSITE 17-year-olds, because I was just floating around. I also have a ton of interests and think I could do OK in a lot of different careers. That always made choosing just one kind of hard. But I’m in a spot now that basically engages all my interests and my personality, so I figured it out through process of elimination. Like you said, just trying stuff and see if I liked it and was good at it.

      I’ve always felt that all the things that are worth it in life require a little bit of risk. No risk, no reward!

  • Hey, thanks! And what did you tell me so??? Yes, I definitely think there’s more we can do for our careers than simply applying, getting rejected once, and then moving on.

  • Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

  • Eddie

    Hey Luxe! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Funny you blog about this particular topic because, although I’m not in a rut, I do work in an industry I never dreamt of working in. I recently graduated from college and with little experience, I began applying to tons of places. One of them being my current job where I can’t even remember applying for. I thoroughly enjoy my job but I cannot see myself working here longer than a year or so.

    Before interviewing at my current job, I had interviewed at several others. They were all very generic and bland and I hated them all. When my employer reached out I was hooked. The HR rep was so nice and it was like having a conversation with, not an old friend, but a new one that I had just befriended at a bar.

    When I interviewed for my current job, I was very transparent about my intentions. Whilst interviewing I told my boss that I do not have a two year plan. Instead I told him what I could offer and he liked that. He said my honesty stood out and that although he wanted an employee that would be committed for more than a year, he preferred an honest one. I started the following Monday.

    I’m not totally fretting about my next career path but I have a feeling it will be Mr. Porter -esque except smaller and American. Although I wouldn’t be surprised, nor do I mind, if I change my mind.

    Thanks for sharing Luxe!

    • Hey Eddie,

      I had a pretty chill Thanksgiving here in New York. It’s nice to enjoy the city when no one’s around.

      “The HR rep was so nice and it was like having a conversation with, not an old friend, but a new one that I had just befriended at a bar.” One of my main requirements for a job is if my boss gets me and if my coworkers are the types I’d actually want to hang with outside of work. I mean, you spend so much time at work, and I’ve found I’ve been my happiest when I had a BFF coworker to joke around with all day 🙂

      I love how self-assured you were with how you presented yourself to potential employers. I actually think that it’s a sign of a high-functioning, confident person, and I’m sure that’s one reason why they hired you. Thanks for sharing your story!

      Oh, a Mr. Porter-esque place is exciting! If they have size XS women’s stuff, you know who to give it to 🙂

      • Eddie

        Oh having the city to yourself sounds so nice !

        I totally agree that work environment/culture is very important. Speaking of which, here’s a fun gift exchange idea! My immediate team and I are having a sock exchange. Doesn’t it sound fun?! My coworker suggested it and I was sold! Super festive yet frugal a la Luxe !

        Mr. Porter caters to men, but I’m sure you can rock XXS men’s stuff! I can see the sea of Camel Bomber’s already! I’ll be hitting you up for tips on NYC apartment hunting !

        Ciao Luxe !

        • Frugal Luxe, I love it! Yes, I would love socks as a gift. But only ones that come from Barneys 🙂

          Of course I know Mr. Porter! You know, I always thought oversized men’s clothes looked pretty cute on ladies.

          • Eddie

            True, men’s button ups look so nice on ladies when worn billowy or layered. Very Sunday casual, especially if paired with some lazy loafers and light washed skinnies !

            Sadly, I’m not holding my breathe for some socks from Barneys. I’m just hoping I don’t get a 6-pack of white above-the-ankle Hanes. LOL

  • People are lazy – so true! As someone who sits on the other side of the equation – the interviewing, resume-and-cover-letter-reading side – I can see clearly how you got the job. If a letter like that passed over my desk I would have sat up and taken notice. Especially in the pile of badly written cut-and-paste jargon type applications that often come in instead.

    Also, that reminds me of how my sister ended up running shoe stores for her favorite shoe brand. She buys shoes from that brand all the time, and when she mentioned how she was thinking of working in retail even without the work experience, they went “Why not? We know you’re already passionate about the brand – let’s see if it’s a good fit!” Like you said, thinking outside of the box works cause so few people do it.

    • That’s so nice to know I’m a Daisy-approved candidate! But yeah, I have hired some people, and I think it’s made me much more attuned as to what to do myself. So many people just blatantly ignore directions. If they are not detail oriented, then they cannot work for me, because I’ll go crazy. It’s that simple.

      I love that story about your sister! Just goes to show, that sometimes you just have to ask, because you never know what will happen. Reminds me of my friend who used to work in retail. She had a coworker who got a job at the corporate marketing level somehow. So, just because you work as a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret doesn’t mean you can’t parlay that into corporate.

  • While not job wise, I’ve had the similar experiences with contacting people in academic fields. It really isn’t that hard to stand out when you know everyone else’s letter says something extremely generic… all you have to do is show a genuine interest in whatever their research is and talk to them in a “person to person” relatable tone, rather than as another student who Is sending out mass emails

    • You’re so right on about the “person to person” relatable tone. I’ve seen too many letters with stilted tons and business jargon. The cover letter is your time to show your personality and tell a story. And yes, this is all super basic, but I think the reason why generic cover letters exist is because many think it’s all a numbers game. If I send out 100 someone’s bound to bite. That may be true, but I’d rather take a more strategic approach.