I review hundreds of resumes from retail leaders every year and many of them were written by a professional resume writer. Great idea, since hiring a professional should give you a competitive advantage over your peers. However, those resume writers didn't have any expertise or in-depth knowledge of retail, and, unfortunately, it shows.
I don't say that to slag my fellow resume writers, most of whom are remarkably talented and, often, better pure "writers" than I am. I'm merely pointing out the importance of hiring a resume writer who knows your industry, your past employers, and your job function. (After all, I couldn't write a first-class resume for an engineer, nurse, accountant, or mechanic if my life depended on it.)
Here's what I do.
Personally, I only work with people who have a background in retail management in the United States or Canada, such as store managers, assistant store managers, and department managers, as well as multi-unit leaders such as area managers, district managers, and regional managers (regardless of whether they intend to stay in retail or not). I don't work with retail leaders from other countries, nor do I work with top executives or people in corporate roles such as buying, supply chain, HR, marketing, finance, etc.
So why would I limit myself, and the prospects of my business, this way?
Because I focus on what I know and if I don't believe that I'm the best person for the job, I don't offer to take on a client. It's that simple. Their success is more important than me gaining an additional client. And yes, I turn people down pretty much every week.
So why retail?
Let's take a quick look at my background:
I have networked with many recruiters over the years and I use that experience (as well as my own experience as a hiring manager) to create resumes that speak to the needs of employers. The most important aspect of resume writing is knowing what to include and what not to include, and this is where my knowledge of retail is key.
All resume writers use some type of system to gather information, usually a questionnaire (mine is extremely thorough - just ask my clients). In my case, instead of asking generic questions like "What were your achievements?" like other resume writers may do, I may ask questions like "How much did you increase your units-per-transaction (UPT) over last year?" or "Where did your shrink reduction rank in the region and country?" or "How much did you increase your customer conversion rate?" And so on. (Don't worry, I don't expect you to have answers for every single question, but I do dig deep.)
The result of this process is a resume that truly showcases your past success, which is what recruiters want to see.
But what if you want to move to a new industry?
Does it matter if your resume writer specializes in retail, if you plan to leave retail behind? It sure does.
Resumes are all about the past - where you've worked, what you were accountable for, and what achievements you've had. They look back with the goal of showing your work history and other qualifications in the best possible light, so that recruiters will see the impact that you could potentially bring to a new company in the future. Therefore, it's vital that you hire a professional resume writer who really understands the type of work you've done in the past.
If you have a background in retail management in the US or Canada, and you want a competitive advantage in your job search, check out the rest of my website for details on my service (it's very short, don't worry). If your background is in a different field, perhaps a Google or LinkedIn search will help you find a suitable partner.
Either way, I appreciate you reading and I wish you all the best in your career!