Joe Zee Knows the Secret to Landing Your Dream Job

by Stephanie Chon

I feel like almost every college kid’s nightmare is to return back home, jobless after at least four years of expensive education. I remember I swore to myself that I would be employed after graduation, but surely enough, I wasn’t. I wish I could go back in time and apply some of the expert career advice Yahoo Style ’s Joe Zee doled out recently. It would've been so helpful for when I was applying to jobs like crazy!

In a recent interview with Fashionista, Joe Zee talked about everything from how to get into the fashion industry to what you should do at your first job. His first piece of advice? “Reach out to people who inspire you."

Zee continued by saying, "I finished school in 1992 and I remember getting all my favorite magazines and looking through all the mastheads and literally writing letters to everybody whose work I admired....It wasn’t like, ‘I need this job from you,’ but it was, ‘I just want to write you because I really liked that story and you inspire me to do this, and I thought that was really great and I’m graduating and I love to...’ — and all those things. I think that sort of connected with people better than the generic, ‘I’m writing you a cover letter for this, I’m applying for a job and this,’ because they must get those every day. I sent out maybe 17 letters and I got 16 job interviews. I mean, some of them didn’t have jobs, some of them just wanted to meet me.”

Zee also had great advice for people starting their first job — say yes to everything! Zee told Fashionista, "When I was an assistant at Allure, I literally sat outside the closet. My whole life, I have been Tracy Flick. You guys are too young to know, but that Reese Witherspoon movie, "Election," she would raise her hand and say 'Yes, I can do that,' and I was doing that at Allure and saying, 'Yes, I can assist on that photo shoot,' 'Yes, I can come down to this, I can do that.'"

In addition to saying yes, he also made sure to never leave before his boss. "And [my boss] Polly Mellen was always the first one in the office and the last one to leave and I remember I always stayed with her."

Zee told Fashionista that he ended up getting a job with ELLE in 2007 after the interview he had with them back in 1992. The managing editor ended up telling Zee that he really made an impactful impression on her and that she always followed up on his career path.

If you're seriously considering pursuing a career in fashion or a career at all, do yourself a favor and read the entire interview over at Fashionista . You will not regret it!

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Image: Getty