Our Experts | Rachel Page
As a recruiter for office positions, I have a lot of Retail Managers and retail workers connect with me to get out of their current job and start a new career path as an admin, HR generalist or receptionist. I get it – I was a Retail Manager that needed out, too.
Although I still work in retail part-time (I do really love it), I see a growing need for retail workers to change career paths as businesses close their doors and online shopping takes over. Even the stores that remain open require long hours and low morale.
As someone who has been there and recruits for the positions you’re looking for, here are my tips to move from retail to an office position:
- Spin your resume to fit positions outside of retail. Prove to an HR Director that you don’t just fold clothes. Instead of listing your day-to-day responsibilities, include business results. List your accomplishments that increased profit, streamlined processes or helped your store achieve a big goal. Include details of how you helped recruit and develop a team that you also managed. Add whatever you can show your business value.
- Take a step back before you step forward. When you change your career path, you are starting over. You can’t expect to go from being a retail manager to being an executive administrator. Unfortunately, you’ll likely need to take a pay cut and start in a entry-level role to learn the ropes and gain credibility. Be flexible about your options and eventually you’ll gain the experience you need to move up in your new career.
- Take a part-time position. If you can’t quite take the pay cut, consider cutting your hours in retail and taking a part-time office job to learn new skills. Building your experience, even part-time, will make it easier to find full-time work down the road.
- Take classes to improve your skills. In retail, you don’t really need to know how to use the Microsoft Suite. In an office job, you do. These are essential skills for a new office position, so make it a priority to take courses and learn them. You can find courses online and sometimes through your local community.
- Apply directly to a company instead of through a job board. This shows that you aren’t applying for every job you find online. It also gives a better chance that the hiring manager will actually see your resume.
- Build your network. Connect with people in the field you want to be in, and build strong relationships with them. Let them know you’re looking to switch careers and that you’re open to opportunities. You never know who might be hiring or who can teach you the ropes.
On the other hand, if you’re an employer scoffing at retailers who apply to your office positions, you should reconsider. Retailers are extremely hard workers. They wear many hats and have interpersonal skills that can transfer to any role, such as leadership and building relationships with clientele. They are called chameleons because they have to be able to read others and interact with them all day long.
They are creative, goal-oriented and have a high sense of urgency. Not to mention that they are used to working holidays and overtime hours. Does this sound like an employee you’d like to have at your front desk?
If you are a retailer looking for a new career as an admin or in an office, give me a call today to discuss your options.