Recent graduate soars in job search

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: August 10, 2012 at 2:27 pm •  Published: August 10, 2012
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Meet Sarah!

Sarah, a senior in college, came to me seeking to differentiate herself on paper and gain entry into the highly competitive fashion, apparel, and merchandising business.

Sarah’s original résumé, despite her having significant retail experience, did nothing to set her apart from the hundreds of other soon-to-be graduates seeking the same competitive internships.

With Sarah’s ideal job being an assistant buyer or merchandiser with a leading area retailer, my goal was set — to help Sarah see how qualified she was by developing a unique presentation on paper that would surely differentiate her from her peers.

Through a discussion with Sarah, I pressed her on the challenges she had faced in each of her retail roles, asking her to expound on the ever-so-brief bullet points she had presented in her original résumé.

Being sure to focus on what she had done in the past that related to what she wanted to do in the future, I took three pages of notes to fuel the content of Sarah’s new résumé.

While Sarah was seeking entry into a fashion-forward field, I recognized that she needed a professional and somewhat conservative résumé, in order to show her targeted audience she was a serious candidate.

To do this I created a clean, crisp, and highly structured presentation of Sarah’s candidacy which, at face value, had some “meat” behind each of her roles.

Opening Sarah’s new résumé with a professional title of “Assistant Buyer/Merchant Candidate,” I immediately positioned her candidacy in the appropriate light.

Moving then to include the tagline “Upcoming graduate with retail experience with leading brands including … ,” and the presentation of the logos for the brands with which she had worked, Sarah’s new résumé had life, personality, and pizzazz!

The qualifications summary which followed presented her merchandising, branding, and visual styling experience while working in retail settings, and again, leveraged the power of the brands with which she had worked.

Sarah’s education was presented next, an appropriate placement given she was a soon-to-be graduate with an undergraduate degree in fashion and retail studies.

Next, I presented Sarah’s recently received merchandising internship, an internship she was about to start but that she wanted on her résumé as she was about to apply for her “dream job.”

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