Darth

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

Over the past 5 years, Retail has had a torrid time navigating through one of the longest and hardest economic downturns. Rising costs of living, low pay awards and a bleak economic outlook have led to consumer spending being put under a huge amount of pressure.  Sadly, as we have all seen, a number of retailers have been unable to survive due to a whole host of reasons whether that be structural changes in their market sector or indeed the growth of online. As I discussed in my recent blog about the future of retail, there is a bright future but businesses need to continue to evolve.

One debate I have had recently was around the impact this has on the retailer’s resourcing needs. Over the last few years, cost cutting has been central to most retailers’ tactics as they fight to survive and prosper  in such challenging conditions.  The question is, how long can you just continue to cut controllable costs, what happens when you reach the end of this road and what impact does this have on the skills you need in your business?

WH Smith are a great example. Kate Swann has, without doubt, done a phenomenal job. The results released in in January were typical of those over the last few years – i.e. sales are declining but profits are up.  But, like most retailers over the last few years this has impacted the look and feel of the stores, and has come at a price. A lack of investment and aggressive cuts will ultimately have a negative impact on both the quality of your estate and the resource you have to manage the business. At some point, once you have driven your costs down as low as they can feasibly go, the strategy will need to refocus on really driving sales growth.  Look at the appointment of Matt Davies at Halfords – having been through a sustained period of cost cutting, clearly part of the attraction was his track record at Pets at Home in driving sales growth.

From a leadership point of view this requires a different skill set and arguably, a different profile of individual.  As we look towards recovery and with little cost cutting opportunities left, many businesses will be seeking those individuals with a track record and strength in driving top line sales. The only way to prosper for most businesses is by driving these top line sales.

As I discussed in my blog last week – the market in retail recruitment continues to be very challenging and setting yourself apart from those around you is critical if you are to be successful in your job search. Part of this must be around how you present yourself both on CV and at interview. 

So how can you ensure your CV remains on trend with these changing market conditions?

Assuming you have a well written CV, then you have a great starting point however you do need to consider what your current CV says about you. Do you come across as a sales driver or a cost cutter?  What does your executive summary say about you and your style? Look at the key statements – is the language you use positive, does it indicate the ability to spot commercial opportunities and realise genuine sales growth?

Your executive summary is important to describe and characterise you in the right way however this must be supported by your achievements. Go through your bullet points – do they show your strengths in the right area, is it balanced? Are your opening bullet points cost focused or opportunity focused? Have you described how you have utilised Social Media to drive footfall? Have you highlighted your ability to recognise and motivate talent in your team that is focused on growth? Have you led development initiatives that encourage commerciality? Many middle to senior managers will have been promoted and cut their teeth in times of austerity, how have you developed their capability to move their business units forward? Do you mention KPIs concerned with waste, loss, payroll reductions…or do you highlight footfall increases, £ per Sq Ft increases, Top line L4L sales, new product development, design initiatives etc.

Don’t rip your CV up and start again…just ensure it is in line with the market trend.

By Russell Adams, AdMore Recruitment– Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.

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