After completing a placement with Calvin Klein, Fashion Buying and Merchandising student Louise McHale has secured a graduate role as an Assistant Merchandiser with the company. Here, Louise talks to us about the importance of placements and work experience when applying for graduate-level positions.

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Why did you decide to apply for this role?

I had interned at the European Headquarters for Calvin Klein whilst on my placement year. It was there that I made key contacts, and so was lucky enough to be contacted by the European merchandising team in January 2016. They asked me if I would like to join the team once again, this time in a permanent graduate job role.

Where was the role advertised and what was the application/interview process?

The role was not advertised, I was extremely lucky to be the first and only person to be offered the job. I fully attribute this to the fact I interned with them for nine months.

Looking back, what advice would you give to our new students to better prepare themselves for their graduate job search?

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to choose to do a placement year. I would not be in the position I am today if I did not intern at Calvin Klein, and gain the valuable experience I did. Interning is probably the longest job interview in your life, but totally worth it!

What advice would you give to other final year students who are starting to plan their next steps for after graduation

I would say that if you haven’t had the opportunity to do a placement year, then finding some work experience is really helpful for then finding a graduate job role. A few of my friends have been doing this, and they have said it gives you the opportunity to see if you would like to work in the area you have chosen, or if there is something else which is a better fit for you.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In 5 years time I hope to be Merchandising Manager of a segment of Calvin Klein’s business. Possibly still in Europe, however I would also love to have the opportunity to take care of the Asia market as well.

If you are a final year student considering further study or still searching for your first graduate job, you can access a range of events and support from Careers and Employability to help you with your next steps! Attend Focus on Your Future Week (6 – 10 June) to develop your skills and explore the options available to you after graduation or check out our website for further information about what we can offer.