Keen to work in retail but not sure where to start?

I constantly have candidates approach me and ask how they can go about getting into retail. It turns out that the Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm office job is not the lifestyle dream everyone imagined. In fact, retail, with it's high energy, high pace and exciting environment is more and more appealing as a career choice. Gone are the days where retail was looked down on as a "temporary" job - retail offers a smorgasbord of executive management opportunities that all come with equally attractive salaries. 

The only problem is: how do you transfer your career across to retail, without having to start at the bottom and work your way up?

There are several key transferable skills that are desirable in retail roles. I have outlined these below and encourage you to look at the areas in your current role where you are doing these and then highlight them in your resume. Ensure that you provide examples of when and how you deliver the key skills in your field.

Customer service:

Have you worked in a customer service environment? Perhaps worked as an account manager, receptionist or in hospitality? Look at the areas in your current role where you provide excellent customer service and highlight these in your resume. Ensure that you provide examples of when and how you deliver excellent service in your field.

Time management:

Retail is not hard...but it is demanding! A day in the life of a retailer is unpredictable, fast paced and the to-do list is never ending. You will need excellent time management skills in order to prioritise your day along with the ability to remain calm under pressure.

People management:

If you get into retail management, you could find yourself leading a team of anywhere from five to two hundred people. You will need to know how to inspire, coach, develop and train your team..... and get them to deliver results. It is also essential as you get to the more senior level roles, that you have ER experience and can handle any disciplinary discussions effectively. 

Once you have highlighted these ares in your resume, it's now time to think about where you are positioned in the market.

If you are just starting out in your career, identify the brands you want to work for and then apply in store (the old fashion way and hand in your resume!) or on their website. Most brands will have an "expression of interest" section for you to upload your availability. The best tip I can give you as a casual, part-timer or full-timer is to have FULL AVAILABILITY and be willing and ready to pick up any shifts the manager needs help with.

At the other end of the scale, if you are a regional manager or national manager in your chosen field but wish to get into retail, you will need to be willing to take a step back in salary and responsibility, in order to get into retail. The top tip I have for you is to meet with a specialised retail recruiter and they can present you to the business you want to work for and effectively pitch your transferable skills. The recruiter will have a trusted relationship with the client and therefore have more of a chance of opening a door for you than you would have independently. Additionally, look for a brand that is expanding -  you may start as a store manager but once you have learned the ropes and shown how you can apply your existing skills to the retail environment, you will have more of a chance of progression than if you were to work for a brand where the regional managers have been in their roles forever!

Good luck!

Rachel Wilson.

 

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