You already know how to style an outfit - here's how you can style your CV!

As a Fashion Designer, you know all about standing out from the crowd. When you're applying for a position in this highly competitive field, an eye-catching portfolio is a must. However, that's just one side of the story. To land your dream job, you also need a Fashion Designer CV that showcases your education and experience. So, how can you get it right?

There are currently around 555,000 Brits employed in the fashion, textiles, and fashion retail industries. However, the vast majority of workers don't reach the dizzying heights of a Fashion Designer post. If you want to work at leading fashion houses, you need a CV that knocks off the hiring manager's perfectly styled socks. That's where we come in.

In the following guide, we'll take a look at how to write a Fashion Designer CV, the key elements that you should be including, and some of the common mistakes to avoid too. 

What does a Fashion Designer do?

First up, let's talk about what a Fashion Designer does. These creative professionals design clothing, accessories, and shoes. The first phase of this process is often sketching out original designs, enhancing them using software, picking out fabrics, and overseeing the manufacturing process. As you might imagine, the role can vary from team to team. 

You'll need to have your finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest trends. You need to be the person in the know. To make sure that you get ahead, your duties may include: 

  • Keeping up to date with industry news and the latest fashion trends

  • Designing and developing fashion collections by season and theme

  • Attending trade shows to seek out new materials and fabrics

  • Working hand-in-hand with the sales and merchandising teams 

  • Sketching out designs and overseeing the manufacturing of products 

  • Altering designs that already exist so that they appeal to the mass markets 

  • Revealing your designs at trade and fashion shows around the world

The average annual salary for a Fashion Designer in the United Kingdom is £30,000. However, the longer you've held this position, the more money you can expect to make. As you climb the career ladder, you may make as much as £45,500 per year. Once you land your first role, it's important to seek out progression opportunities. That may mean moving from company to company or looking for promotions in-house. 

Why do you need a Fashion Designer CV?

As an established Fashion Designer or even a recent graduate, your portfolio will do the talking. You should have a robust set of designs that you're ready to share with recruiters at the drop of a hat. Your original designs and sketches should be enough to pique their interest. However, you also need a well-written CV that details your professional story.

You don't have very long to make the right first impression. Hiring managers spend a matter of seconds looking at each CV that comes their way. If your application doesn't tick the right boxes, you could end up in the bin. For that reason, ensuring that you get the style, format, and content of your CV right is essential to your success. This document could be the difference between getting that all-important interview and getting a rejection. 

Structuring your Fashion Designer CV

Now that you understand why you need a Fashion Designer CV, let's talk about how you should structure it. Your aim is to make everything easy for a hiring manager. At a glance, they should be able to glean all of the information they need from your professional CV. 

As a general rule, you should use the reverse chronological approach. That means that you start with your most recent work and education at the top. As you move down, you'll need to work back in time. This is the most straightforward CV layout and allows the reader to see quickly whether you have the right experience and qualifications.   

It doesn't end there. It's also important to understand what elements your Fashion Designer CV should include. Recruiters expect a standard layout when it comes to CVs. Deviating from the norm won't do you any favours here. Be sure to include the following: 

The above sections should follow that rigid structure. However, that doesn't mean that there's no room for creativity. As we'll discuss shortly, you'll have the space to flex your creative muscles when you're writing your personal statement. You'll also be able to add some colour to your CV when you're detailing your education and experience too.

How to write a Fashion Designer CV

Ready to whip out your laptop and get to work? Before you can start writing your Fashion Designer CV, you need some expert advice. Luckily, we've got you covered. Let's take a look at exactly what you should be writing for each section of your application. 

1. Contact information

First up, your header or contact information sits at the top of your Fashion Designer CV. When a recruiter takes a look at your application - and ultimately falls head over heels in love - they'll want to reach out to you. List your details clearly at the top of the page. 

Don't make things hard for the recruiter. Ensure that you use a simple font that's easy to read. You should include your full name, phone number, and email address. Don't worry about putting your full home address on your CV. That is an outdated approach. Instead, you can simply list the city or county that you live in, e.g. “London” or “South Yorkshire.”

2. Personal statement 

When you've taken care of that bit of fiddly admin, it's time to move on to your personal statement (also known as a profile summary or professional profile). This is your chance to wow a potential employer with your passion for the sector and anything that makes you unique. Pick one or two things that you want to highlight to the hiring manager. For example, you may have a fashion award or have studied beneath an esteemed Fashion Designer. Pull out those golden nuggets of information. 

Ideally, your personal statement should be no longer than three to four sentences. You don't have a lot space to play with here - make every word count. To keep to that limit, you may want to cut back on certain phrases. You can ditch openers like “I have” and “I am” and simply get straight to the point. The sooner you make your case, the better! 

If you're not a natural wordsmith, don't panic. It may take you a few attempts to perfect your personal statement. The hardest step is often getting started, so don't procrastinate. Write a first draft and know that you can always edit it. Should you need some extra help, ask a trusted friend or family member to read it. They may spot something you've missed.

3. Key skills 

When a hiring manager is reviewing each fashion CV, they will be looking for a mixture of hard and soft skills. Sure, you need to be a talented designer who has a keen eye for style. That in itself is a given. However, you should also have a range of skills. These are the traits that make it easy for you to work as part of the wider company. Not sure where to start? To help you along the way, we've listed some of the key skills you should include: 

  • Design

  • Business acumen 

  • Creativity 

  • Excellent communication 

  • Artistic ability 

  • Fashion trend knowledge 

  • Visualisation skills 

  • Attention to detail

  • Sewing 

  • Industry knowledge 

  • Flexibility 

  • Computer literacy

  • Fabric expertise 

As you can see from our list, you need a truly diverse skill set if you want to make it in the wild world of fashion. Make sure that you tailor your fashion design CV to meet the needs of the employer. One tip you can try is referring back to the original job advert and looking for specific keywords or phrases. You should then pepper your CV with these words. 

The above approach will help you get past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Many employers now use this software to rank incoming CVs. The system uses predetermined keywords to see which applications best match the job criteria. While there is no sure way to know which words the software is looking for, the chances are, they will be in the advert.

4. Employment history 

Having the right connections and experience will get you far. You may have already touched upon this in your personal statement. While your portfolio shows off your work, your employment history backs up everything you have said (and shown!) so far. In this section of your Fashion Designer CV, you should share any experiences you have had. 

Of course, you need to stick to fashion-centric experience. The recruiter is unlikely to be impressed by the nine-month stint you did as a Barista at your local Starbucks. 

List internships and jobs that you've had in the fashion sector. If you've previously worked in retail - say at TopShop or H&M - it may be worth including that detail too. That shows you know and love the retail world from the ground all the way up to the top. 

Once again, you need to use reverse chronological order when listing your experience. Start with your most recent job or placement at the top of the page. Work your way back in time as you move down the page. Keep it simple.

5. Education and qualifications 

Qualifications matter in this sector. If you want to break into the industry, you will likely need a degree in fashion design. You may also be able to land a job armed with an HND or foundation degree. Your education section is the place to showcase these qualifications.

As we've already mentioned, you should use reverse chronological order when writing this part of your Fashion Designer CV. So, your most recent qualification needs to sit at the top of the section. You can also include any training you've completed here. 

6. Optional sections 

If you've covered all of the above, you may be looking for ways to add finishing touches. Yes, it's time to add some bows and whistles. Luckily, there are a few optional extras you can add: 

  • Languages 

Parlez-vous Français? ¿Hablas Español? If the answer is “oui” or “si,” you might want to add these skills to your Fashion Designer CV. These professionals often have to travel the world and meet people from a variety of different countries. With that in mind, the ability to speak another language - or two! - is certain to win you some brownie points. 

  • Internships 

If you lack the experience that other Fashion Designers have, but have completed an internship, be sure to include it on your CV. You will have learnt a wealth of important skills while working beneath an industry professional. Don't be afraid to toot your own horn. 

  • Extra training 

Fashion Designers need to work hard to get ahead. If you've undertaken some training in your spare time, you should list it on your CV. This simple move shows the hiring manager that you take your career seriously and are willing to invest in yourself. Those qualities will put you a step ahead of the competition, giving you a better chance. 

Mistakes to avoid when writing your Fashion Designer CV

By now, you should have a good idea of how to make a slick Fashion Designer CV. You don't want to ruin your chances of getting a foot in the door. Ahead of getting started, there are some common CV mistakes that you need to know about. Here are the ones to avoid:

  • Not proofreading your application

Spelling mistakes and grammatical problems will stick out like sore thumbs. When hiring managers are reviewing applications, they will be looking out for these errors. If your CV is littered with problems, it shows that you lack attention to detail. Make sure that you proofread your Fashion Designer CV and use a checking system, such as Grammarly. 

  • Including headshots or images

Yes, fashion is all about looks. However, including imagery on your CV is a mistake. Save any work examples for your portfolio. Similarly, you should avoid putting any headshots on your CV as this is not typical practice in the United Kingdom. Put simply, the recruiter does not need a picture of you to help them to make their final decision. 

  • Choosing a complex design

While we're on the subject of looks, your Fashion Designer CV needs to be clean and crisp. Choosing an overly complicated design won't increase your chances of landing an interview. If the recruiter can't get the information they need quickly, they will move onto the next CV in their pile. Avoid this problem by selecting a straightforward design.

  • Using the wrong tone and language 

The language you use on your CV needs to be professional. Recruiters are looking for people who can talk the talk as well as being able to walk the walk. You should steer clear of informal or “chatty” language, as that may come across as too casual. Equally, you don't want to use overly-technical jargon, which could put them off. Always use clear language. 

  • Putting referees on the document 

Back in the day, it was common to include two to three referees on your CV. Your parents and teachers may have used this technique when applying for jobs and told you to do the same. However, those days are over. You no longer need to add references to your application. Doing so looks archaic and, put bluntly, is a real waste of space. Similarly, recruiters know that they can request references from you, should they want to. So, you don't need to include the tired old phrase “References available upon request,” either. Cut it out. 

The takeaway 

Creating the perfect, interview-winning Fashion Designer CV doesn't have to be hard. In this guide, we've given you everything you need to know to get it right. Be sure to follow our expert advice when you sit down and get started. When recruiters take a peek at your application, you want to blow them away with your skills, experience, and education. 

Want to get ahead of the crowd? Check out our professional writing services to revamp your CV in no time. Getting an expertly-written CV will give you the competitive edge when you're going for your next Fashion Designer position. 

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