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Should I Go Back to School for Additional Training?

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Dear Experts,

I am interested in working in the fashion industry, ideally as a buyer or merchandiser.

However, from what I’ve been seeing so far, some of these positions (and others I’ve looked into as well) require some specific skills and knowledge even at entry level. I already have my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing, and extensive work experience in sales, retail, and customer service. I feel my background, plus my interest and passion for the industry should be enough to open a door for me somewhere, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

At this point, I am considering enrolling in a program at the fashion college in my area to get some additional skills to be more marketable. But the time (I won’t be able to get in until Sept. ’10, and the program is a year) and the expense (at least $5,000 most likely from loans) has me questioning if this is a good idea.

So my question is this: Do you think I should go back to school for the additional training or keep trying to make inroads in the industry with my current qualifications?

Here is how our CAREEREALISM-Approved Experts answered this question on Twitter:

Q#406 Gather more info from pple in industry; use LinkedIn, web. Explain ud appreciate 20 mins, info/advice. (@juliaerickson)

Q#406 Agree w others. Try informational interviews w.in your new field to be real clear on what is really required. (@CareerBranches)

Q#406 I would try to get an internship or volunteer. At this point, that type of experience is better than more school. (@gradversity)

Q#406 If you’re 200% sure this is next career move, spend the $$$. BUT, pick school w/good internship placement. (@jtodonnell)

Q#406 Have you vied for internships? Gain practical experience via short-term &/or unpaid role (win-win for u/company). (@ValueIntoWords)

Q#406 Clients I’ve helped into buyer/merch positions interestingly transitioned from management – (Un)usual? (@teenarose)

Q#406 If you have exp in sales/retail/cust service, I think you’re plenty qualified. Go for it! (@beneubanks)

Q#406 B4 U decide, do exhaustive research on college at placement office; who recruits, # of hires, etc. Get RECENT stats! (@lauralabovich)

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