TIMING IS EVERYTHING.

September is the month of opportunity. IN RETAIL EVERYONE IS HIRING .  Internal candidates are being interviewed for promotions to build the foundation for the 4th quarter.  How to break through the clutter of interviews and be remembered?

“Make them love you”, has always been my mantra, whether the job is for you or not.  Make an impression. Make a connection. You want an offer!

J Crew‘s CEO recently wrote an article to college graduates.  He is fed up with manufactured resumes who make a point to brag about touring the world and studying abroad and tackling humanitarian issues.  What he looks for is number one:

DRIVE AND AMBITION +TANGIBLE QUALITIES (THAT CANNOT BE CAPTURED ON PAPER)

A friend received an offer from Zappos. He applied on line,  a ‘video’ for an interview, a ‘culture fit’ phone call, a phone interview with a manager, then ‘skyped’ with 2 team members, a skill test in excel, then an in-person interview and got an offer.

Another friend received an offer from Wayfair.  She applied on line, a phone interview with HR, an in-person  interview with a manager, was offered the job and turned it down.  A few weeks later they called back for another higher level position,  (she made an impression) and scheduled an interview with 6 people  from manager to team member to Sr Executive.  After a skill test, was offered the position.

I am not looking for a job, however I am presenting myself every day to new people, and attended a seminar from New Directions on presenting my value proposition.  This was daunting.  We video’d each other on our phones with critique.   We created a short opening and introduced yourselves in 60 seconds.  We selected 3 things we wanted people to remember  and keep their attention. We practiced and kept each video to show improvement.

One of our achievements was a short story format.  Presence,  smile,  voice and tone were considered.  Dress like you belong, scarf  to hide  nervous red blotches.  Where are your hands? What skills set you apart from others?

I needed to smile more, look straight at the person, condense my thoughts, make the interaction flow naturally.  (one member of the group was a CPA  and became animated only when she talked about the non-profit she founded. She adjusted her presentation so that she told the story of her non profit first, expressing her passion and personality before talking about her obvious financial skills.)

This weekend I met the CEO of New Balance. He talked about his great company and opportunities for the future.  New Balance is primarily a wholesaler, and is beginning to expand retail stores around the world. Finding associates and leaders that know store retail, and are flexible to travel the world is their greatest challenge.  The New Balance website  showcases a video of employees, culture, core values and when you click on it you will want to apply.  It’s good.  Their new store in Korea is beating all sales projections.  As Ron said, “Let’s make excellence happen,”  the opportunities for team members that know brick and mortar retail and love it,  are immense.

At times we underestimate what we know in our experience with customers, merchandising, and our value as in-store retailers. There is a whole world out there to explore…opportunity galore.  Your personality is what sets you apart.  Isn’t believing in yourself and your value the first step?  Good luck!