“What are the key skills that I should highlight when applying to the big retail graduate employers?” we hear you cry. This is a huge dilemma when putting together your first proper CV after University. There are so many skills that could potentially be worthy in your CV, but here we are going to help you identify those skills that come at the top of the pile in the recruiters eyes when specifically trying to get into graduate retail.
Firstly teamwork is vital. Teamwork with those in your own department as well as those across the other functions of the business. Companies want to create a good environment for customers so it is important that you work well with colleagues especially if on the shop floor. To highlight teamwork in your CV and in an Interview you can highlight situations where you have been involved in team work and how it has been effective. In Assessment centres, recruiters will be looking at how you work with others.
Communication. In retail you may need to work with the public, colleagues and even other companies so it is important that you can deal with others on a personal level well. It is not just talking and adapting how you behave to different personalities but also showing good listening skills. In Assessment centres, your communication skills will be assessed, for example, how you can negotiate and persuade others, how you make others feel comfortable etc Think of specific working examples where you can highlight good communication somewhere in your CV.
A lot of retail recruiters will be looking for individuals with commercial awareness and will look at how you will be able to contribute to their organisations success. Think about situations where you have contributed to success, whether you were doing a project, an extra-curricular activity or in a previous job and highlight these examples in your CV. To be more commercially aware you can actively read newspapers, understand the company you are applying to, be aware of competition, read news sites etc.
Finally, leadership skills are important even if you are not going into a leadership role to start with. You need to show that you can be a future leader. Think about times when you have shown some kind of leadership in maybe a team sport or in an extra-curricular activity.
Hopefully this advice will help you when putting together your CV when applying for a graduate retail job. Good luck with your applications.
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