Being newly thrust into the professional theatre world (one year is still new) I am constantly looking for my next gig. The number of costuming jobs is not large, but they exist. The only drawback I constantly run up against is "the phrase of terror":
Must have 3 years professional experience
Like I said, being newly thrust into the professional theatre world, I do not have three years in a specific area of costuming. I have equivalency in some areas thanks to internships, my class work, and workshops; but not the honest three years in a specific area some positions require.
As I sit there staring down my computer screen I think, "How am I supposed to get three years experience professionally if almost all the professional places require three years of experience?" I then think it through a little more and realize starting out I can get equivalence in areas and more internships offer more experience, but it's never the honest to goodness three years in say Cutting/Draping or Costume Crafts. I know how to do it, but I haven't spent three years doing it because not every job I apply for and get is in Costume Crafts.
Many "job help" or "resume aid" sites prompt a new candidate to tailor their non related experiences towards the job they are applying for. This can be helpful in most areas, but is a bit more problematic in theatre. If you do not know how to work with leather, you do not know how to work with leather. You may have worked with "pleather" or cork leather once, but it does not act the same as leather.
And who came up with this magic three number? Who's to say that three years makes someone qualified for a job? I picture a university based study in which little data was collected and of the data collected most of it was skewed. Likewise, who's to say that someone isn't proficient with a skill after only six months of hard study? This three number is a rather grey area if you ask me.