When writing a CV for the retail sector it can be difficult to know what exactly to put on it. What are employers looking to see, what should be included, and what should be left out? When I speak to candidates I always stress that retailers are extremely busy, so the key is to grab the hiring manager’s attention. To do this it is vital to be concise, while also including all the relevant content that makes your CV the strongest it can be. So, text heavy lengthy CV’s are not advised, while facts and figures are what will land you a retail job interview.

Introduction

This is the part of the CV where you have the opportunity to portray the type of person you are.  A survey completed by Cpl Retail last year showed that employers rate attitude as the most important quality of any candidate. 

Essentially this is your highlight reel where you literally write a paragraph about what you bring to the workplace.  Show your ambition and attitude through brief examples and try to provide a summary of any successes you’ve had throughout your career. 

Work Experience

This is without doubt the most important part of a Retail CV. It is the first thing any employer looks for on a Retail CV so there are a few key things to remember.

Make sure your work experience is on the 1st page of your CV so it is easy to find. Ensure your work history is in chronological order i.e. ensure your most recent experience comes first and use bold, italics or underlining to clearly show:

  • Company
  • Job Title
  • Employment dates

This is all to ensure that potential employers can see very quickly if you are the type of candidate they want and it’ll encourage them to then read your whole CV.  Work Experience is known as the “Hot Part” of any CV so make sure yours stands out. 

Skills

A lot of CVs I see provide a list of skills that candidates have, this is fine to include provided it is done correctly.  My advice would be to put this in bullet point form and list skills that are relevant to retail i.e. staff training, merchandising, goal orientated, achieving KPI’s etc. 

Education

There is a perception that education isn’t as important for a Retail CV as it would be for a CV in a different sector, this is completely untrue.  Employers today want to see that people have a strong educational background, this helps them to determine if the candidate is someone who could progress within their company.   

Include every course, institution and grade you have achieved regardless of what level it is at. Like the work experience section keep this in chronological order and if you have any Retail specific courses, such as a degree in retail management, be sure to highlight this. This is also the best place to include any other courses you may have completed throughout your employment such as Train the Trainer/First Aid/HACCP/Stock Management.

Your CV is your first point of contact with any potential employer so keep it concise and put your best foot forward. Give yourself the best opportunity of reaching the next step in your retail career by adapting your CV to suit retail employers by including the key elements outlined above.

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