How I Landed a Job Styling Beyoncé

Photo courtesy of Inslee Haynes

Photo courtesy of Inslee Haynes

So to address the question I’m sure many of you are asking: Yes, I work at one of the top PR fashion showrooms where we dress celebrities, including the Queen herself. No, I don’t get to keep any of the clothes. *sad face emoji* But rest assured, my job is much better than Anne Hathaway’s in The Devil Wears Prada. Now, the question you may be left asking is “how in the world did I come to be in such a position?”

I could go on about how if you put in the effort, you’ll see results, but the truth is sometimes it takes more than just “werk werk werk” to land your dream job. If you ask anyone in this town especially, they’ll tell you it’s all about who you know. I happen to be a very charismatic, “folksy” kind of chick, but if you aren’t lucky enough to have met the right person on that flight back to L.A. after Thanksgiving Break or know someone that knows someone, I’m gonna tell you how you can get your resume in the hands of the decision-maker (AKA the one that matters).

As a communication major, I learned early on that everything we do is an act of communicating. What you say, how you say it, who you say it to, and even what you’re wearing when you say it. Tip #1: Dressing the part is next to being the part – especially in industries such as fashion, music, or film where image is everything. As our workplaces become more and more casual, that doesn’t mean that your blazer should be replaced by that sweatshirt. Putting a well-dressed foot forward can get you further than you think. I can’t count how many times a compliment on an interview outfit has landed me in a conversation with the right person. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me that being over-dressed is always far better than being underdressed.

Now that you’re looking A1 on the outside, major key number two is what some would refer to as having that “je ne sais quoi.” And like Annie said, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.” So be charismatic, be friendly, and when someone extends that “keep in touch” or “let’s get lunch” – DO IT! Simply put, people want to hire people they like. Take the time to invest in relationships, to learn from people in your classes, clubs, and industry who offer their help and then see how many of those people are willing to do you a favor when hiring time comes. The Grinch might have stolen Christmas, but he won’t be able to steal that job from you if the whole office actually likes you as a person.  

Last but certainly not least, is knowing what special sauce you bring to the burger. Maybe I’m just really hungry while writing this, but it makes perfect sense. Each of us have our strengths; you know, those things you probably list as “skills.” I didn’t end up putting together outfits for Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, or Zendaya because I would wear a paper bag to class. I have a passion for fashion so working with clothes is actually something I enjoy and am good at. Stay authentic to your interests, and a job that interests you will follow.

On the other hand, know what you can’t or more accurately won’t do. We all want to get our checks up, but being taken advantage of is not worth the coin. I’m not saying you won’t have to make a few coffee runs before becoming CEO, but actually read your contract, know what your time is worth, and realize that just because you might be the “lowest on the totem pole” doesn’t mean you can’t say “no.” I’ve had my fair share of jobs where I was the new girl and got walked all over, but I’ve learned that standing up for yourself makes for better opportunities and also shows that you are a boss no matter what your actual job title is. So, put some respecK on your name.

I’ll leave you with one more key to success: The only side chick you should have is one named hustle.

Samantha Johnson is a senior majoring in communication. Her blog column, Sips Tea, runs every Friday.