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Looking for a Retail Job? How to Write a Great Resume for Any Retail Position

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In the following article, the author provides some resume-writing tips aimed at helping you land a great retail job. With guidance, for example, on chronological resumes, functional resumes, and how to format resumes for online transmission, the article has a number of useful pointers to help you craft the best resume you can for all kinds of retail jobs.

So, you're looking to land that perfect job in retail, huh? Well, news on the retail front has not been good lately. The Commerce Department reported on March 13, 2008, that retail sales tumbled 0.6% in February. This decline reflects a considerable slowdown in consumer spending due to many factors. These include high gasoline prices and a drop in home values and other asset prices. With the bottom line getting smaller and smaller for many retailers, potential employees need to make themselves look like assets worth having.

When applying for a job opportunity in the present economic climate, you must put your best foot forward. As a potential employee, you should research the career track that interests you within the retail market. Keep your options open to jobs like human resources, merchandising, and information systems within the retail field.



Employers usually lose their largest numbers of retail employees when the summer season is over and fall begins. This is the best time to get your resume in, because that’s when retailers will be hiring. To beat out other applicants, send your resume approximately one month before the major season change. This ensures that your resume won't get lost among all the other resumes that will arrive on their doorsteps at this time. Always be sure to mention that you will be available to work during that all-important holiday season. So, even if there are no job openings when you apply, the potential employer will be aware that you are willing to work at their busiest time of year.

When selecting the job you want, your resume needs to market you for the job. For example, if you already hold a sales clerk position and are looking to advance within a company, a reverse chronological resume would work best for you. This type of resume would also work if you have recent retail experience at one or more companies or have no gaps in your employment history. A reverse chronological resume begins with a name and address header. This is followed by your contact information. Be sure to include your email address. Next on the resume page is a statement of your objective. Here, you specify the retail job that you are applying for. next, you will summarize your qualifications for the retail position. This should read like a profile of your work experience. List some of your successes and self-motivation skills here.

The main body of this type of resume is the professional summary section. Most employers are only interested in your most recent work experience. A position that you held twenty years ago does not have as much impact as the position you currently have. Therefore, only go into detail about your most recent positions. For this professional summary section, list your most recent job title first. You would also list the company name and the city and state in which the company resides. Then list your responsibilities and achievements within this job. Do this same process for all of the recent jobs you have held. Remember to list them in reverse chronological order, and don't forget to include the dates that you held each position. Finally, be sure to include your education and training.

Another type of resume that an applicant could submit is called a functional resume. A functional resume takes focus away from the dates of employment. This is beneficial because the potential employer is forced to focus on your experiences, not gaps in employment history. It allows the applicant to include volunteer work as experience. There are many cases in which using a functional resume for a retail job would be beneficial. A homemaker returning to work or a veteran returning to a civilian job would use this type of resume. An applicant who has little or no job experience, or is switching to a totally different job than his present or most recent position, needs to use a functional resume. If there are gaps in your work history and you would prefer to list your work skills and accomplishments rather than describe your job duties, a functional resume could be a good choice.

A functional resume begins with a name, address, and contact information in the header. Next, list your employment objective. This is where you specify the retail job that you are applying for. Then list your work experiences. Contrary to the reverse chronological resume, do not list the dates you held previous jobs. Excluding dates prevents potential employers from concentrating on gaps in employment. In this experience area, any volunteer work and political campaign committee work can also be listed. Any organizations that you have been involved with would be listed next. An example of this would be the girl scouts or boy scouts. The dates that you belonged to these organizations would be included in this area. Your educational history would end the resume.

High school and college students who have no previous work experience should also consider using a functional resume. In this case, education should be placed after the employment objective. This will show that you are just entering the work force after receiving an education. Any volunteer work or work study should be listed under experience. Any organizations that you belong to should also be listed. References are now not required on a resume. Listing references can be saved for the application process. It is acceptable, however, to remind employers that references are available upon request.

When the general type of resume to be submitted is selected, be sure to be as brief as possible with your information. Try to say as much about yourself as you can using the least amount of space on the page. One page is adequate, unless you have a considerable work history. Employers do not have the time to sort through pages and pages of information. Long resumes run the risk of being put aside and never read. Since your goal is to be hired, make your resume short and sweet. Always proofread your resume. Do not include the use of the word "I." Using "I" could lead employers to think that you are not a team player. Getting along well with others is vital in any retail job. Action words such as “sold” and “organized” show that you are a person who wants to get things done. Meanwhile, misspelled words and sloppy grammar raise a red flag for potential employers. These errors give a poor impression, no matter what experience you bring to the table, and your resume would simply be ignored. Use a spell-checker or a dictionary every time you submit a resume.

The appearance of your resume is critical. Don't forget, this will be your potential employers first impression of you. He or she cannot physically see you, so how you present your resume gives a first “glimpse” of you. If information is disorganized, then you, too, are seen as disorganized. Not a good trait to put forward if you are trying to land a job in retail. Divide your pertinent information into categories with headings such as "Employment Objectives" and "Experience." Leave plenty of space between categories. This allows your resume to be easily scanned and read. The consistency of these headings is also important. If you decide to capitalize the letters for the first heading, make sure to follow through and capitalize all of the other headings.

If you have access to a computer to prepare your resume, use it. A computer allows you to be flexible when arranging a copy on the page. Making spelling corrections and deletions also becomes far easier. Each copy that is generated on a computer appears fresh and clean. However, if your only option is to use a typewriter, be sure to check for spelling and typographical errors. Do not correct and retype an original copy of a resume. Start over from the beginning to make sure your original copy is perfect before it is sent to an employer. If you photocopy your resume to be sent out, double check copies for any smudges or marks on the page. A resume should not be sent out with these imperfections. Also, make sure all of the words on the page are aligned properly. Nothing should appear crooked. If your intention is to apply for more than a couple of retail jobs, it may be beneficial to you to have your resume printed by a local commercial or instant printer. Their rates are generally quite reasonable. If you have more than one local printer, be sure to compare prices to get the best deal.

Another option that potential employees may want to consider is posting a resume on the Internet. In this case, always think simple. Keep your resume free of fancy fonts and graphics. Word processing documents on a computer can be processed as plain text documents under the "Same As" feature. Indent using the spacebar because the Tab key can be unreliable. It is best to have all of your text beginning at the left margin.

When you email your resume, you should cut and paste an ASCII text resume into the body of your email. Sending your resume as an attached file is not recommended because you do not know what type of software will be used to read your attached document. Also, a recipient may not have the time to open an attachment. Once you have created an ASCII resume, cut and paste it to an email that you have access to. This way you can actually see what it looks like after transmission.

When sending a resume to a company, you should also include a cover letter with it. When you email a resume, the cover letter would be placed before the text of your resume. When sending it by regular mail, the cover letter is placed on top of the resume. It should not be stapled to the resume. In a cover letter, you would state the position or type of job you are applying for. If you are responding to an add that was placed in the newspaper or online, that information should be included. You want to give a brief summary of training or skills that relate to the position. Highlight your strengths and tell the potential employer what is most valuable about you.

Even though our economy may be in a recession, being a prepared and organized applicant will help you get that perfect retail job. Using the resume skills discussed here can help you to apply for any job. Just remember to keep your resume short and to the point. Good luck with that new job!
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 resumes  sales training  listings  work experience  job openings  cover letters  summers  organizations  summary  qualifications


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