I’m looking for a job in fashion editorial, it can hardly be said I’ve taken the easy route. What girl doesn’t want to work for Vogue. But since I’m far from well connected, and during a recession? I have to be mental. After graduating this June from Sussex with a 2:1 in Philosophy and English, I have nevertheless been trying to carve out the beginnings of my longed-for career in fashion.
I find it hard to believe the help and lucky breaks I’ve had through WEXO; at times I’ve had to pinch myself. I first spotted them on a Google ad and followed the link, but when I realised it was £10 to apply, I have to admit I was put off. I talked about all the amazing opportunities on there with my boyfriend and he said it was definitely worth it. I knew there’s no way I could get to those high profile companies otherwise – they must get hundreds of phone calls. This would be a great way of getting noticed.
So I did, and it’s like having a well connected uncle in just about every industry. I even met the boys working at WEXO (nice guys) and they pointed out to me a placement with women’s lifestyle website, Toptips.com. Although it wasn’t directly fashion related, it was Editorial experience and would look great on my CV. Plus, I just hate being out of work – I would much rather be out there learning new things and making connections than waiting for replies to applications that never come.
I was working under the Founding Editor of the website, Kate Reardon, who also, just so happens to be the Contributing Editor of Vanity Fair. On my first day I was obviously nervous, but she was lovely, even taking me out for lunch. I went on to realise that the ‘Christa’ who shared the office with us was none other than Christa D’Souza, one of my personal heroes and Contributing Editor of Vogue! Only a few months ago I actually cried when my boyfriend’s mum recycled the Vogue ‘Body Special’ with a fantastic article by Christa as the centre piece. It was such a help to talk to them both about my career and learn a million exciting things about theirs.
But my best work experience experience so far has to be one morning when Christa had popped out and I was editing the site for Kate. Christa called to say she’d forgotten her notes for a speech she was giving and asked if I would mind jumping in a cab and bringing them to her at Louis Vuitton. I didn’t need to think about it, I was out of my seat and in the cab before I hung up the phone. I ended up helping her work on the speech that afternoon with none other than Kim Hersov, Editor-at-Large of Harpers Bazaar! I was mixing with Louis Vuitton’s top buyers while Vuitton-clad models milled around – around me, a scruffy little intern (with a big grin). My worst work experience experience? Cleaning a dirty wall. The life of an intern is full of ups and downs!
When I first heard of WEXO in the winter of 2008 I was an unemployed ex-student whose decision to study Egyptian Archaeology at University had sorely damaged his hope of finding a job in a recession. It was not a happy time. This was a point when I had signed up to the huge array of job websites on the internet all promising the impossible and almost always resulting in jobs in sales and recruitment, not my idea of a future!
As I filled in my WEXO profile I was quietly pessimistic that it would be like all the others but how wrong I was to be…
Within a week I had three interviews for internships and three very different companies that all appealed to me. After being accepted by two I chose to work for SUPERchick, a women’s personal training and fitness company, which not only provided me with a great holistic approach to a start up company but also filled my CV with some great skills for future employers to mull over. I was once told by a highly influential CEO in London that unpaid work experience was one of the key qualities he looked for in candidates and so I valued it highly. SUPERchick is run by Sky Sports presenter Georgie Thompson and I met some very interesting people on the job. My time was largely spent helping out with day to day office duties.
After this very successful internship I actually went on to work for WEXO itself in Business Development. I spent 7 months involved in all aspects of the business which involved everything from developing a Client Relationship Management tool to helping market WEXO at The Guardian Graduate Career Fair. My time at WEXO has now inspired me to go it alone and build my own start-up. My company, Alexandria Bespoke Libraries (www.alexandria-bespoke.com), builds collections of literature as well as dealing in rare and antiquarian books. This is something I had always wanted to do and working with and through WEXO I not only gained some indispensible skills and contacts but also the inspiration to go it alone!
I am truly grateful to WEXO for everything they have done for me and would recommend them to anyone that was in a similar position to me after university!
Thinking about the future can be daunting, especially if you are undecided about which path to follow. When I graduated from Edinburgh University early this year, reality kicked in that I needed to immerse myself in the job market. Constant reminders of bleak employment statistics proved discouraging for my future.
Although I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the media and entertainment sector, there are very few recruitment agencies that specialize in this field. A friend mentioned she had signed up to WEXO and managed to secure interviews at a number of great places.
As soon as I searched in the media column, a range of work experience, internships and jobs came up for the most fantastic companies. I applied straight away to a portfolio of companies to broaden my chances but my heart was really set on one company in particular – Platinum Rye Entertainment – to work as a celebrity and music intern!
It seemed luck was on my side, and after an interview with the MD of the company I was given the opportunity to work with Platinum Rye. I was made to feel one of the team straight away and was given the responsibility to focus on research for commercial deals between brands and celebrities. Platinum Rye source the best celebrity for an advertising or PR campaign, as well as securing the rights to hit songs for a commercials – we have worked with a number of high-profile celebrities, including Sienna Miller for the Hugo Boss advertising and Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, and Claudia Schiffer for the Dolce and Gabbana campaign.
I have worked in a number of companies over the last 7 years and Platinum Rye has been by far the most exciting and enjoyable business I have been involved with. Without the help of WEXO I would have never been given this incredible opportunity……