Joining GFW for the second year running, American heritage label Ralph Lauren will be sharing their career tips at GFW Live!, as well as a stand on the exhibition space for graduates to visit with their portfolios and obtain advice and insight into what it takes to run a globally successful designer brand. In addition, senior members of Ralph Lauren’s design team will join the judging panels for both the Womenswear and Menswear Awards that hold a top cash prize!

To celebrate, we asked Kim Giangiuli, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition at Ralph Lauren, to share some of her best tips for creating a CV and portfolio, what she looks out for, common mistakes and how to score your first job out of university.

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

What are the first things you notice about a CV and portfolio that give you an impression of the applicant?

The overall aesthetic, layout and visual elements for both a CV and a portfolio need to organised and impactful! Attention to detail is key. Pay attention to even the smallest details that might be otherwise overlooked such as fonts, paper quality and the exterior appearance of the portfolio. Attention to detail is what will set your work apart.

What are common mistakes you see with CVs and portfolios?

On a CV, the most common mistakes are spelling errors – always use spell check and proofread. Visually, it should be concise, cohesive and clean. Ensure you have a link to your portfolio or sample of your work and your name - I cannot stress this enough!

In design portfolios, a common, yet critical mistake is that the flat sketches are missing accurate topstitching details. Another common mistake is when the concept is missing a title and mood images so that their collection “tells a story.”

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

What skills do you look for in a young person who perhaps has limited experience?

We look for candidates that are passionate, hard-working, well-spoken and adaptable. Self-confidence and creativity are critical and strong computer skills are a must!

What advice would you give a graduate beginning their career in regards to applying and interviewing? 

Do your research and be specific! Always prepare and conduct research on the company prior to going in for the interview. Research the company online and if they have a store, visit the store. When you go to the store do not only look at the clothes. Look at everything. Look at the fixtures, listen to the music that is playing, look at the branding on the bags, look at the people that are shopping, and most importantly look at what people are buying.

By doing research on the company that you are interviewing with, it shows that you are genuinely interested in the brand and it will help to give you a clear understanding of their customer. It is imperative to understand who the customer is that you are designing for in order to be a successful designer at any company.

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

Photo by Lawri Cooper at GFW18

“We look for candidates that are passionate, hard-working, well-spoken and adaptable. Self-confidence and creativity are critical and strong computer skills are a must!”

What advice would you give to a graduate who is interested in working in the US?

Consider working for a company that has offices in both your native country and the US. This will help you to gain a better understanding of the company’s culture and the product prior to working for the brand in the US.

Also, focus on design competitions and getting as much press as possible regarding your work. Documentation that demonstrates that you have extraordinary abilities will be required to help obtain necessary work authorisation.