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25th February 2015
Why working in retail is not as bad as you think it is



Whilst having a lovely chat with three educated business people, one turns to me and says "so, why do you work in retail? You could do so much more". I was a little bit speechless seeing as all of the opportunities I've had have all come within retail. But there it was, this general snobbish towards retail workers that goes on all the time.

Why is this? Retail is the single biggest employer in the UK. It employs 1 in 10 people; everyone knows someone in retail. Yes, we have to work weekends. Yes, we work long hours. And yes, you might not see us on Boxing Day. Ok, and I might have just had a call out which took up my evening.

But it's really not as bad as you think - and here's 4 reasons why:

It's Flexible
Want a Thursday off for the cinema? Sure, work a Friday instead. Want to get your haircut done on a work day so you can enjoy your day off fully? Maybe you can take some lieu time with your lunch.

Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. But if you have a good relationship with your boss and a good relationship with colleagues too, you can make retail work for you.

It's Indiscriminate
Got no experience? Got no qualifications? Too young? Too old?
Doesn't matter!
Bags of enthusiasm and good people skills?
Good, you're promoted!

The opportunities to get ahead in retail for passionate people is unrivalled. It's hard graft but totally worth it if you want to get ahead.

It's Fun
Every day getting to laugh with colleagues, customers and next door neighbours. Your relationships tend to be more intimate because you're working shoulder to shoulder and unless you work on the returns desk then you get to have some proper banter with customers.

It's Immediate
One of the best things of all is getting to see the results of your actions with immediacy which you just don't get elsewhere. If you change your approach with a customer you can tell if it's working. Re-merchandise the store and you can see if more customers are picking up the stock. Re-organise the stock room and you'll see immediately if it makes the stock room easier to use.

No three month trial periods but an action-and-effect.

Until next time!

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24th February 2015:
Put the CV into your Curriculum Vitae by Creating Value





As a Store Manager, it's come around to that period of time where me and my management team need to start sifting through many CV's to fill a vacancy. There's certainly a lot of people out there looking for a job, and many saying there are no jobs available, but now that there is one why is it so hard to find the right person?

Here's my top 4 tips to make your CV stand out from the crowd:

Honesty
Make sure you are honest with what you are looking for

Within retail, generally speaking, you are looking to fill a pre-existing position of set hours, ideally with flexibility. So, be honest in what you're looking for. If you have a minimum amount of hours you need to pay rent and put food on the table, be confident and say so. Equally, if you are restricted with availability because of circumstance, be honest. Say I am looking for evening or weekend work whilst I pursue my degree. The entire process is about finding a person that is right for the job and a job which is right for the person. And if you're looking for anything, Part Time or Full Time, that's fine too, just be sure to say so. Leaving doubt as to what you are looking for or can do is a sure fire way to let someone else who has be called up first.

Every interview I conduct starts with the phrase: "here is what we are recruiting for.... Now, be honest, if that's what you're after let's spend some valuable time seeing how we can help each other. If that's not what you're looking for then let's shake hands now and let you find somewhere that can offer you what you need. Is that fair?"

The Big Things
Get a family member or a friend to have a quick read

Contrary to all these posts I read, the odd spelling mistake or misplaced comma really isn't the end of the world, it won't even stop me phoning you up for an interview. But the big things like when you scribble out your phone number that is printed on the CV in front of me and say "sorry, I changed it a few months ago", or tell me not to use the address on your CV, I really can't help but think, and sometimes say, "why didn't you just change your CV, then?".

Uniqueness
It's your CV. Make it yours.

After 20 CV's it's great to read a CV that actually tells you a little bit about the person! Sell your self a little but don't just include the top ten key words you see in every job application (think: "I'm a good team player" yada yada") but tell me how you back up those claims, what inspires you, why do you want to work in retail, what exciting things have you done and what makes you tick.

The amount of people we have come in through the doors as a group, who all hand in the exact same CV with only the name and contact details changed is maddening because they can't all be the same person! What's unique about you?

Personal Touch
Make your CV come to life by making contact

The single biggest differentiator in a CV has nothing to do with the CV itself. To really Create Value you need to try to establish a quick connection with someone in the store. Don't just walk in, drop off the CV and walk out. Smile, ask a little bit about the job, show an interest in the people that work there (they're going to be your future colleagues!) and make people remember you when you hand in a CV.

Often, we will ask someone their availability for an interview there on a spot if we can see that the staff want you to be given an opportunity. Because if they want to work with you, it's a good sign you'll fit in well.

Until next time!

N.b. And here's my CV because I think it's only right for you to see if I'm able to keep to my own advice!

CV by James Markey

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Stand Out Give Away

Thank You

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