/ Asked by megan
I graduated with a degree in Fashion merchandising and have 7 years experience working in retail stores. Every merchandising position I apply for, I get told I don't have enough experience in the corporate setting. What can I do to gain more experience, and should I move to a city with more corporate retail position available to better my chances?
Answered by Ellen, Hiring Expert at Hospira, on Monday, March 9, 2015
Fashion merchandising have many exciting career options but their industry is competitive.  Work experience of any kind in a design studio is highly desirable.  New graduates could look at possible work in Europe.  Europe is a haven for designers which could provide you options back in the states.  Of course, NYC is always another option to consider.  You might want to consider starting as an intern (paid or unpaid). An internship can get your foot in the door.  You can then gain experience that could be leveraged elsewhere.  Keep positive.  Fashion as I mentioned is competitive so keep networking for your career options.  You might even consider retail and work with the buyers to gain experience in that area.  You could be introduced to key individuals that might take you in. 

Best of luck!   
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Congrats on graduating! That is great! The fashion and merchandising industry is very competitive. I have a couple of recommendations for you:
1) Moving to a bigger city or a city will help your odds greatly. I would recommend it! Once in the new city look for an internship or ways to get into a company  to get direct experience. Make sure to have a backup plan for your move as well. Create a list of contacts, alternative job opportunities, etc. Consider applying for retail management positions as well. If you end up getting a retail position, you can do that while applying to merchandising positions. Plan on finding the right position to take time. If you have another position that you can do in the meantime, that will help ease your stress.
2) I would recommend retail management as a great way to help you continue to break into merchandising. If you are having trouble getting into merchandising. Apply to retail positions at companies that are known for really well branded merchandise. Being able to get a high end brand on your resume can really help give you the exposure and experience that you need. Luxury brands are a great target.
I wish you all the best in your search!
Answered by Rachel, Hiring Expert at Eaton, on Thursday, March 12, 2015
If the only hindrance in your quest for career progression is a lack of corporate experience, I would encourage you to look at opportunities with your current company's corporate structure.  This is beneficial for a few reasons; (1) you already have experience within the company, (2) you understand the culture & structure, (3) you can leverage your existing internal network, and (4) many companies like to focus on promoting from within in order to continue to grow a strong talent pipeline.   Moving without having a new job in hand an be very expensive and too many moves from company to company within too short a period of time and/or without showing upward progression can negatively impact the perception recruiters and hiring managers have of your capability to be successful within their organization.
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