In the highly competitive world of fashion journalism, a degree can only take you so far. Editors and publishers receive hundreds of applications from aspiring fashion journalists who attended top schools and paid their dues through internships and entry-level jobs. Your cover letter must immediately grab an employer’s attention by demonstrating that you understand fashion and the needs of fashion editors better than your fellow candidates.
Tailor It to the Position
Running a magazine requires a team effort, with everyone from photographers to stylists to journalists working together to create a stylish and enticing product that will encourage readers to pick up the publication. Just because you have experience in one role or have a love for fashion doesn’t mean you’re qualified for every job you’re interested in. Be clear about which position you’re applying for and how your background has prepared you for success. If you want to work as a fashion writer, for example, discuss major stories you’ve covered for other publications. For a job as a graphic designer, discuss layouts you helped create.
Demonstrate Insider Knowledge
To work at a fashion magazine, you’ll need to know the industry inside and out. This includes everything from which of last season’s hot looks are now passe to the retro trends making a comeback for next season. Mention a historical fashion-related fact or reference something in the news. For example, note that you always admired the colorful, imaginative style of clothing from the 1980s and that you’re excited to see it showing up on the runways again. Emphasize that you’re enthusiastic about working in fashion in a time of innovation and originality.
Fashion magazines want candidates with experience, even if that’s just a summer internship. In fact, the website FashionNet points out that you can’t break into the industry without this experience. Employers might count you out before even reviewing your resume if you don’t showcase your hands-on training and knowledge in your letter. If you just completed an internship at an internationally known fashion magazine, highlight this in your letter and describe what you learned. Mention a few of the most notable projects you worked on if you have several years of experience.
Know the Magazine
Talent and an enthusiasm for the fashion industry are only two of the traits editors consider when evaluating applicants. They also want someone who understands the magazine’s voice, its target audience and how it compares to the competition. Research the publication’s reader demographics and which magazines it competes against. Review several back issues to get a feel for the overall style. Mention these points in your cover letter, elaborating on any experience you have contributing to similar projects or catering to the same readership. Note a recent article or layout that particularly impressed you and discuss how it inspired you to apply for a position with the magazine.