Fashion Industry Job Titles Do Not Make Your Career
As fashion professionals enter the job market it is common to think a bit short sided. You first concentrate on getting that first job. Then you worry about getting a promotion or moving to another job in order to make more money. Getting that next job title seems to be all-consuming at times. You worry that if you don’t have this next title it means you are somehow unworthy. You think that if you don’t have this shiny new title you are somehow limited in your abilities to move forward in your career.
We couldn’t cover every possible angle of designing a fashionable career in just one post! This article is part of a 5 part Fashionable Career Planning Series. If you want to learn how you can build a successful career in the fashion industry check out the other articles that are part of this series at the bottom of the page.
In my very first post titled Design Your Career, I encouraged everyone to start thinking about their careers in a different way. I invited readers to start considering themselves free agents instead of employees even if only in a new thought mentality. You see, when you are a free agent you give yourself permission to take actions to move your career forward. If you are not bogged down with a job description or limited to only work on certain projects then you open your mind to new opportunities. When you are a slave to your title you are limiting yourself and your future earnings.
Now let’s break this down. The normally expected trajectory of a fashion designer’s career path might look something like this: Design Assistant –> Associate Designer –> Designer –> Design Director. Unfortunately, our careers are not always in a straight up diagonal line. It may be necessary to move sideways in order to move up.
When you think about your current position ask yourself the following questions?
- Am I being challenged?
- What new skills am I learning?
- Have I mastered the skills in my current position?
- What am I contributing to the design team and to the company?
- What else do I need to learn in order to get to position X?
Before you consider jumping ship at your current company I encourage you to explore what other opportunities might exist. These opportunities could be in the form of mentoring with other team members. It could be getting experience in showroom design or graphics for new trims. Make sure you have fully exhausted the companies available options first. Remember, it is the experience you are looking for; not the title. The experience you can take with you.
Now, at some point, you may decide to move on for various reasons. When you take a look at job postings you will notice that often times the job titles at different companies can have different names. What is the difference between a “Head Designer” and a “Senior Designer”? Don’t worry so much about the title itself. What is important is what the responsibilities are. Does this position offer growth? Does it give you an opportunity to work on new types of products or give you more management experience?
In conclusion, do not put so much weight on a title. Rather strive to learn the skills and get the experience you need to make yourself an invaluable employee. If you do that you will never be out of work and your career will be unlimited.
- Evaluate your current skill set
- Determine what new skills or experiences you can still get from your current company
- Think with the end in mind. What skills will you need to get you to position X. Now make a plan to get there.
Fashionable Career Planning Series
If you, or someone you know, want to learn how to build a successful fashion career you can read the entire series here. Learn how to plan your goals and keep your career on track.
- How To Set SMART Goals For A Career In The Fashion Industry
- How To Write SPRINT Goals For A Career In The Fashion Industry
- Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Career On Track
- How To Find A Mentor
- Top 5 Ways To Build A Great Reputation In The Fashion Industry
- Why A Job Title In The Fashion Industry Is Not Important