Interview Ready: Refinery29

March 25, 2014

Graduation is just around the corner, which means the great job hunt is underway. As our inboxes begin to fill with applications of recent grads and aspiring interns, we caught up with three women who are working—and living—the dream at Refinery29. Our three part series begins with invaluable career (and wardrobe!) advice from Editor In Chief Christene Barberich. Be sure to check back for tips from Style Features Editor, Leeann Dugann and Art Director Katelyn Kappel. Happy interviewing!

DVF: For so many women, Refinery29 is a dream job! Tell us more about what you do and how you landed your position.

Christene Barberich: It’s true! I’m the site’s Editor In Chief, and I’ve been with Refinery29 since Day one. My role is all about leading the conception of great, quality content while collaborating with other departments on projects and concepts that really define the R29 brand. They say that work you love isn’t really work at all, and I think that’s pretty true.

What advice do you give recent college graduates and other candidates hoping to make it in fashion? 

It sounds corny but if you can dream it, you can make it happen…with lots of perseverance and networking. Just draft up a list of your dream jobs and start reaching out to anyone and everyone who can help make an introduction. I started out at The New Yorker filling in for an assistant on maternity leave. I must have sent resumes and notes to every single executive there. And then one day, something came up…that’s all it takes.

What is the one key wardrobe piece you recommend for interviewing? 

A classic bag. Working in fashion, people really notice the details, and a great structured bag is not only practical and indispensable in your closet but it’s a metaphor for just having your shit together.

Refinery29 is obviously a creative environment. What would you recommend to women interviewing in a similar environment. In other words, how does one look polished, but not too boring? 

All you need when you’re starting out is really all you need in LIFE…a well-fitting blazer or jacket, flattering tailored black trousers, a good pump, and a timeless bag. Mixed and matched with fun T-shirts, printed blouses, etc. these pieces can be worn for interviews or late-night running around. Just keep replacing them every few years so their shapes are up to date.

How would you describe your work style? How does it differ from your personal style, or what you wear on weekends? 

My work style and everyday style are exactly the same. I always have and always will love a good blazer!

What is the biggest mistake you see applicants make that you can help our (DVF) readers to avoid? 

Sending anonymous emails to me. Any note that starts out as “Hi!” or “Dear Employer” I immediately delete. If you can’t take the time to personally address the person who’s attention you’re after, you’re not the kind of person I’m looking to join my team.

Summer is just around the corner and fashion offices everywhere will be filling up with interns. What advice would you give an intern hoping to make a lasting impression? 

Anticipate needs. It’s what I tell everyone who wants to be successful both in life and at Refinery29. Never wait for someone to ask you to do something, just look around and see what needs to be done to improve the work and your environment…people notice!

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