The year ahead in retail careers

With the ever impactful threat of European austerity measures and an economy which refuses to settle, those of us involved in the retail recruitment industry are under continual pressure to develop our understanding of the consumer shopping patterns affecting job vacancies and requirements across a wide variety of sectors.

The fashion industry remains as compliscated as any, with UK consumers in particular demonstrating increasingly complex shopping methods as a means of getting what they want in an affordable manner. Simply put, retail itself is being redefined by the European economy and 2013 looks set to continue with this unpredictable transformation.

Value and discount prices are becoming king in all retail industries. From fashion to groceries, entertainment goods to pet products, it seems that no one is willing to avoid a bargain, whilst the complexity of higher spends on ‘luxury’ items makes it even more difficult to predict consumer patterns. This not only affects brand in the high-street, online and at mid-market levels, but also has an impact upon those seeking or actively practicing a career in retail. From store managers to visual merchandisers, wholesale buyers to head office executives, no one is untouched by the actions of the consumer.

Of course, the affect of ecommerce upon the current practices and future practices of retail organisations is undeniable. It is estimated that UK internet users make a third of all purchases online, whilst the British Retail Consortium reported that it was online sales which were responsible for a boost in December’s Christmas shopping activity, up 1.5% in 2012, compared to the previous year. BRC director general Helen Dickinson noted that, “”For the more established retailers, it seems that much of the growth is now coming from online orders, while shop sales are stagnant at best.”

Whilst this affects the number of smaller retail stores opening throughout the UK in recent years, it hasn’t prevented larger retailers from announcing plans to increase job opportunities throughout 2013, with Debenhams preparing to open 17 new stores in the next 5 years. It also provides an incredibly large number of possibilities in regards to e-commerce job positions in retail. In fact, the UK are the world leaders when it comes to taking advantage of online retail channels, with The Centre for Retail Research listing Brits as sharing a 13.2% proportion of European online sales in 2012.

Technological advances in retail mean more than additional office hires who remain sat behind a computer screen all day. The urgency for developing such technologies in store have been spoken of by all of the major supermarkets, with multimedia displays set to have as much impact as any other form of visual merchandising.

It seems clear that the future of retail recruitment and retail careers is dependent upon a rapidly developing landscape; one which is not only affected by technology, but by the economy responsible for technology’s required and inevitable impact upon sales. Whether just starting your first retail job or continuing to develop a prosperous retail career, it seems that all sectors are in for continued excitement in 2013 and beyond.

Of course, at Fashion-Recruit, we are happy to help with both. So, should you need to discuss your next step in your fashion career or any fashion related retail job, please contact one of our expert recruitment team today.

A Career in Fashion Retail

Fashion retail is a thriving and continually growing industry. As with many retail industries, the growth of online purchasing and marketing has allowed new brands to compete alongside the biggest organisations in the world, whilst, as a leading fashion retail recruitment agency, we know that the demand for high quality candidates has never been greater and the desire to work in this competitive field has never been more intense.

One of the major advantages of seeking a career in fashion is that there are such a wide variety of sectors to work in and such a diverse range of skills which are being sought by brands and businesses all over the world. So, whether a creatively minded individual seeking a design job, or a facts and figures man desperate to utilise your analytical skills in a buyers vacancy, the world of fashion may be the ideal place to launch and progress a career in retail.

Of course, if you love fashion, the plus point is that you will be able to develop an entire career skill set whilst being involved in an industry you are passionate and increasingly well-informed about. Fashion Marketing Jobs will allow you direct access to the symbiotic meeting of design and brand awareness; Retail Store Manager Jobs will allow you to develop teams in order to boost profits whilst being at the front line of selling to the customer; creative jobs allow you the chance to drive a career  in design or bring your favourite fashion to light as a visual marketer. Regardless, the world of fashion is a fantastically diverse industry and can present a varied and always exciting retail career opportunity for almost any person.

Thankfully, this also creates many avenues for getting into the fashion industry. Roots are numerous and diverse, whilst fashion recruitment agencies such as Fashion-Recruit are ideally positioned to sell your skills, experience and passion to some of the most exclusive fashion brands around the world. So, just how can you make a difference to finding that ideal retail career?

Firstly, it is imperative that you have a strong awareness of the direction in which you wish to head. Whether seeking an online, mid-market, high street or luxury fashion job, it is important to acknowledge the skills you will need to obtain in order to make the right level of career progression at the right time. As with any job, the right level of training is highly significant. Fortunately, fashion retail courses are wide and varied and, at Fashion-Recruit, we can advise you upon the best roots to learning new skills.

Being passionate about fashion is, of course, vital to your success. At Fashion-Recruit, we pride ourselves on being passionate about people and fashion, and it makes the world of difference to our ability and continued desire to understand our market and operate successfully within it. Potential employers will want to see the same in any individuals they deem strong enough to join their organisation. This passion should translate into everything you do and networking will be vital to your ability to progress and develop a long and successful fashion retail career.

Whatever your background or experience, a dedication towards fashion is at the root of your ability to thrive in this competitive industry. We have placed candidates with all kinds of backgrounds, skill sets and experiences. But, the one thing which has always shone through with any successful placement has been the individuals desire to enjoy a lengthy career in fashion. Perhaps you are the next candidate we will work with who shares that exact same ambition.

Top 10 CV Mistakes

Welcome back to Fashion-Recruit’s guide to the top 10 CV Mistakes we most commonly come across as a retail recruitment agency. Let’s continue our countdown, as we look at the top 5 errors of writing your CV:

5. Negativity – A CV is about selling your skills. Despite this, we have come across many individuals who make the mistake of pointing towards reasons for leaving their job, having gaps in their career or failing to achieve desired qualifications. We have a simple phrase which works when writing and formatting a CV: hide the negatives and accentuate the positives!

4. Lack of attention to keywords – Placing keywords throughout is a vital component of a well written CV. Whether marketing your skills to a specific job or to a recruitment agency, the majority of readers will be scanning for particular phrases which demonstrate your personality, experience and achievements. This common CV writing error is based upon the misapprehension that your CV will be read thoroughly with great consideration over the full level of content you provide. The reality is that your CV should be capable of immediately highlighting whether you are an appropriate candidate for the job. Furthermore, technological advances mean that your CV sits in a large digital database and, without relevant keywords for recruiters and employers to search for, your skills may remain hidden from their gaze.

3. Unfocussed content – We always advice our retail candidates to speak to the job they are applying for. If you are looking to obtain a career in fashion, then your CV should tell at story of the skills, personality and experience you will be able to bring to that particular job within that particular industry. It is said that prospective employers simply glance at a CV for a few seconds. So, writing a resume requires you to highlight the skills they will be scanning for. Use keywords, embolden relevant job titles and skills and ensure that your key relevant accomplishments are instantly clear.

2. Failure to detail accomplishments – We all have duties in our job and it is important when writing a CV that you are able to bring attention to the responsibilities placed upon you in your previous employment. Sadly, many people do this without ever giving any real attention to what they were able to achieve as part of these duties. This is one of the leading CV writing mistakes we see commonly at Fashion-Recruit. Prospective employers want to know that you can deliver results. If you were asked to rearrange the displays in your assistant store manager job, speak of how the range went on to sell; if you were charged with leading a team of staff, point towards the achievements they made as part of your motivation and leadership techniques. Don’t let this simple CV writing error be the reason you miss out on that next dream job.

1. Grammatical/ Spelling Errors – No matter how many CVs we see from our retail candidates, we are always amazed at the number of individuals who still seem to make the number 1 CV writing mistake: failing to properly proof read. Whether leaving an awkwardly phrased sentence, an innocent typo or a completely erroneous piece of information, proof reading is vital to ensuring that you write a great CV. Errors on a CV highlight a lack of dedication towards beginning a career and worse still, they can be easily rectified thanks to word processor spell checks and the assistance of a friend or relative. This is our number 1 CV writing faux pas – there really is no reason your CV shouldn’t be grammatically perfect from start to finish.

Top 10 CV Mistakes

As an industry leading retail fashion recruitment agency, Fashion-Recruit are used to seeing thousands of CVs pass through out offices each and every year. Whilst we are dedicated to only selecting from the very best candidates, we are also privy to seeing a wide range of errors and miscomprehensions regarding the process of writing a CV. Now, in this two part guide, we will share with you our CV writing expertise in highlighting the top 10 CV mistakes we are most commonly presented with. Let’s begin by counting down from 10 to 6:

10. Incorrect contact information – It may seem like a simple one, but this is a CV writing mistake which could be the difference between being contacted by a prospective employer or never hearing from them again. If your details are wrong, you certainly can’t expect anyone to be in touch about your dream job.

9. Don’t be too imaginative – Granted, if you are applying for creative jobs, you may wish to stretch the imaginations of your prospective employers. However, for the majority of readers, it is vital that you don’t consider your CV writing process to be an opportunity to demonstrate your creative spark. Of course, we are not advising that your CV fall in line with the rest of the world. But, if you are applying for a store managers position, it is probably best not to present your CV as if it were a menu from the local restaurant (we have seen it done, and it didn’t impress).

8. Ill considered formatting – When formatting a CV, keep things consistent. It may seem like a nice idea to use a variety of colours, fonts and headings, but this is one of the most commonly seen CV writing mistakes we come across. So, it should go without saying, when it comes to formatting, keep things simple.

7. Complicated Structure – Your CV is as much about the manner in which it is presented as it is about the content you choose to include within. We have seen thousands of CVs at Fashion-Recruit and come across all kinds of presentation formats. However, nothing is more off-putting than a CV which appears to have no planned structure, is packed with lengthy paragraphs and is simply a pain to read. When writing a CV, consider the fact that there is someone on the other end that will want to read it and read it quickly. CV formatting is about bringing clarity to the points you want highlighting and a clear structure will do just that.

6. Is your CV too long? – It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that it is a mistake to leave any content off of your CV. However, as we will note, CVs are usually a jumping off point for recruitment agents and employers to locate a set of key skills via keywords and highlighted job achievements. Simply put, if it isn’t relevant to the job or career you are applying for, it shouldn’t be in your CV. Keep it succinct and to the point. If in doubt, consider two pages to be the limit.

Find out more of the resume errors you can avoid, in our Top 10 CV Writing Mistakes: Part 2

How to write a CV: Top 10 Tips for writing a CV

We have already detailed some great advice for making your CV work for you. Now, let’s continue the countdown with our top 5 tips for writing a great CV:

5 – Be personable – You may think that knowing how to write a good CV is all about qualifications and experience. But, you can never underestimate the fact that a person will be viewing the content you include. Simple information such as your hobbies and interests could be the difference between your CV appealing to your potential future employer or getting lost in the pile. You should keep this section short and to the point, but this is one surprising CV writing tip which may get you an interview you would otherwise have missed out on.

4 – Sell yourself with your words – Whether writing a CV which will go straight to a prospective employer or one which you will send to the best recruitment agencies available, you will find that the majority of its readers will be looking for significant terminology and keywords. Particular phrases can demonstrate achievement and point instantly towards your value as an employee. So, whether ‘implementing’, ‘increasing’, ‘spearheading’ or ‘liaising’, let your words speak for everything you can provide as the very best job candidate available.

3 – Present an organised CV structure – CV structure may seem like a minor quibble. But, a neatly structured CV makes for easier reading and demonstrates you as an individual who cares about the manner in which they present themselves to others.

2 – Highlight your achievements – Successful CV writing is all about selling yourself as a potential employer. Obviously, the more you can demonstrate your worth, the more likely it is that you will gain an interview for the job you desire. Our retail recruitment agents always look for individuals who demonstrate an ability to continually achieve throughout their career. When a prospective employer checks out your CV, they will be looking for the exact same thing in order to feel comfortable that you will bring this kind of success to their organisation.

1 – Know who you are speaking to – When writing a CV, it is important to understand the person you are speaking to. This means understanding their needs in finding the ideal applicant for the job vacancy. If you are seeking a career in fashion or a retail job, it is likely that you have a particular role in mind. As such, your CV should highlight the skills you posses which relate directly to the job you are applying for.

So, these are our top 10 tips for writing a CV. At Fashion-Recruit, we browse through thousands of CVs every year and, with tips such as these, we have ensured that everyone of our candidates is ideally positioned to take the next step in their career and now you can to. Good Luck!

How to write a CV: Top 10 Tips for writing a CV

Knowing how to write a CV that will impress any potential future employer is vital to your ability to land a job in retail and begin a long and prosperous career in fashion. As one of the country’s leading fashion recruitment agencies, Fashion-Recruit understand the difference between writing a great CV and the top CV writing mistakes so many candidates can fall into. In this two part guide, I would like to take the opportunity to share our CV writing expertise with you and ensure that you are top of the list of candidates for your next retail job application.

10 – Be honest – Everyone lies on their CV, isn’t that what they say? The truth is that we are all open to embellishment and it can be difficult to avoid hyperbole when selling our abilities and talents. However, it is important that when writing a curriculum vitae, you are honest about your abilities and what you can offer to any prospective employer. Eventually, you will have to come face to face with an interviewer and ideally, you will end up obtaining the job. Don’t let this CV writing mistake be the reason you feel overwhelmed in your future career.

9 – Referees – This may seem like an obvious top CV writing tip. It may however surprise you that many people believe that referees are rarely sought for their advice. Even if this were the case, a referee demonstrates your confidence and belief that the information provided on your CV is true and that there are others who are willing to substantiate this information on your behalf. Refraining from offering to provide references could be the biggest CV writing mistake you make. You don’t need full contact details, just be sure to inform any potential employer that they are instantly available upon request.

8 – Avoid CV writing errors – Proof read and proof read again! No matter the job vacancy, simple mistakes on a CV can take away from the achievements contained within it. Be sure to spell check every word, make sure no typos have slipped through the gaps and safeguard your employment future by asking a friend to read over everything you have written. Our experienced recruitment agents understand just how much the little things matter and this is one top CV writing tip you simply can’t underestimate.

7 – Results – There is no point using every adjective under the sun to sell yourself unless you have the facts to back it up. Writing a great CV is as much about the proof as it is the pudding. If you increased profits, let your CV speak of the value of that increase. If you implemented a new range to a retail brand, let your CV speak of the success of the range. Results are essentially what make you employable. Don’t be afraid to scream yours from the rooftops.

6 – Keep your CV up to date – There is no more consistently made CV writing mistake than failing to keep your provided information relevant. Whether this means ensuring that you aren’t still detailing the earliest steps of your lengthy career or whether it means ensuring that you have included your very latest work based achievements, an up-to-date CV will allow you to sell the person you are today, to the company who may want to employ you the next.