The range of positions available in retail management and the relatively extensive opportunities for personal, career and financial advancement make it an attractive and competitive area. With positions from entry level supervisory roles, graduate schemes and specialist management positions right up to the biggest, most lucrative supermarket store and area manager roles, there is something for anyone passionate about retail – but in a competitive field, having a top notch tailored résumé is essential.
1. Get the format right
Whether you choose to use a résumé building programme or simply write freehand using templates for guidance, you will need to select the right style and format for your current career stage. Have a look at the options below and decide which suits you best.
A chronological résumé is the most commonly used form of résumé for those who are well-established in their careers, with a selection of different roles and experiences listed. By including details, in chronological order, of the positions you have held, the ’story’ of your career is clearly presented, allowing employers to quickly size you up.
Functional or Skills-Based
A functional résumé is more useful if you are early in your career, considering a career change or have significant gaps in the chronology of your working career. By listing out the skills and experiences you have that are relevant to the role in question, an employer is able to assess your fit for the role based on this.
2. Get your facts straight
If you have decided to write a chronological résumé, then the details you need are fairly standard: you will need to lay out your employment history in chronological order, using an online résumé builder if you so wish.
Using bullet points is recommended, detailing the company name, position you held (with dates), and a few key responsibilities. Resume Genius or Resume-Now are great places to find examples and templates to work with. In retail, you will need to pay particular attention to the job title, as there are so many different variations of similar role names. If you held a position with a particularly unusual title, you may consider listing it on your résumé under a more familiar one to help recruiters (and automated key word search programmes) find you. You may need to explain this decision at a later stage, but as long as you use a reasonable equivalent title this should not be an issue.
If you choose to write a skills-based résumé, then your approach is different – start by brainstorming the skills you are proud of and have helped you to succeed in your roles so far. Group similar skills together as you go; great organisation skills and an eye for detail sit neatly together, for example, or teamwork with empathy.
The most important thing is to get something down ’on paper’. Getting started is always tough, and you can always tweak it later.
3. Add in the all important figures
Recruiters in retail like to have hard numbers to use to assess your résumé. They show you can talk their language, and that you understand the business.
Go back to the résumé document you have been working on, and look for opportunities to add in relevant figures. These might be relating to the size of the team you managed, the budgets you dealt with, your personal sales records, the numbers of customer compliments you have received or your personal impact on the business.
For example, ’Managed a team of sales people’ could easily become ’Led and managed a team of 5 salespeople, driving an uplift of 25% in sales and 38% profit over the year’. ’Set up community car wash for school business project’ becomes ’Worked with a team of 5 peers to create and deliver a community business plan which returned 300% on the initial investment made’.
4. Check and check again
One of the most important things about writing your résumé is actually the checking and editing afterwards.
Are you happy with the length of your finished document? Rule of thumb is for a two-page A4-size maximum, outside of academic circles. Reviewing each point you have made to eliminate extra words will tighten the text and take less space.
For example, a sentence reading ’I have managed a team of 5 sales people for a year and improved our results by 25%’ could be made more pithy such as, ’Successfully managed 5 sales people, delivering 25% year-on-year improvements’.
Check your document through an online spellchecker, and scan for any errors the computer won’t pick up (‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, for example!)
Print a few copies and ask trusted friends, colleagues and family to review them for you. Ask them to check the spelling, grammar and how well it reads. Get feedback and be prepared to make a few changes.
And then you’re done!
Congratulations – you have a refreshed retail management résumé to be proud of. Put a date in your diary in 6 months or so to do the whole process again and ensure you always have a fresh résumé to hand out, and get out there on your job hunt!