Many retail companies talk about 'the war for talent', and stress the importance of recruiting and retaining key individuals in order to meet their business objectives. If you are currently searching for retail jobs in the UK, it is imperative that you understand how to sell your key strengths and achievements, at the same time specifically relating them to the company to whom you are applying. An excellent way of doing this is to outline the major achievements of your previous retail career.
Personal achievements not only demonstrate your strengths, they also draw attention to the skills and behavioural competencies you have developed throughout your retail career. Companies seek out individuals who can demonstrate examples of successfully using a variety of skills, both 'soft' and 'functional', to accomplish key objectives. Understanding and writing out your key achievements will help you in your search for retail jobs by:
- Identifying the skills and traits that make you valuable and attractive as an employee
- Forming the basis of a strong CV
- Becoming the centrepiece of your personal sales pitch
- Differentiating you from the crowd
- Identifying personal and career-based achievements
So what is an achievement?
An achievement is something tangible that you have accomplished, either in your experience of retail work or in your personal life. An easy way of identifying your achievements is to consider the following in relation to both your working and private life:
- O stands for 'Objective', or a problem that you were given
- A stands for the 'Action' you took to reach the objective
- R stands for the 'Result' you achieved
- S stands for the 'Statement' you are going to write on your CV
When trying to decide what sorts of activities could be considered achievements, refer to the following. Did the activity:
- Achieve more with the same resources?
- Achieve the same results with fewer resources?
- Organise an event
- Improve operations or make things easier and better? (quantify whenever possible)
- Resolve a critical problem or situation with little or no increase in time, money, people etc.
- Involve a new undertaking, such as computerising a new inventory?
- Surpass accepted standards for quality and/or quantity of performance?
- Did you take the initiative in confronting problems, opportunities, or challenges?
- Did you develop something?
- Did you create or design a program, procedure or plan?
- Did you identify a need for a plan, programme, product, service etc?
- Did you repair any original reports, papers or documents?
- Did you participate in any technical contributions?
- Did you implement (directly or indirectly) any administrative or procedural recommendations?
- Did you implement or participate in any sales, profit, and or/cost saving recommendations?
- Did you receive any award or letter of commendation?
When you have identified your achievements in your previous retail jobs, any alternate careers and your personal life, you need to put these into clear statements. Here are some guidelines designed to help you in this task:
- Statements should highlight the action you took to improve a situation.
- They must express how that action benefited the organisation in one of 3 ways:
- Cost savings, actual money or percentage of money saved
- Improved efficiencies: time saved, better procedures, reduction in staff
- Increased Revenues: new business generated, increased sales or profits
- They should state the result of your action in numerical or % terms whenever possible
- They should begin with an action verb
- They should be limited to one sentence
Demonstrate your retail work skills to potential employers
Your CV should include at least six achievement statements, and it is best if these statements demonstrate the skills and competencies required by the retail job for which you are applying. If you are returning to work after a career break, think about including achievements you have accomplished during this time and how these achievements demonstrate strong, transferable skills and competencies.
Remember key achievements help sell you and demonstrate to a future employer that you have used a variety of skills and competencies to achieve definable objectives. Achievement stories can also help you answer questions at your interview.
We hope the above advice will help you secure a fantastic retail career – if you would like to find out more about retail jobs in London, Manchester or anywhere else in the UK, contact one of our experienced recruitment consultants today on 0845 274 3444. Alternatively, submit your CV and we will get back to you.