/ Asked by Kayla
I graduated last year with a management degree. For the past year I have been working retail with hopes of making it into upper management. I love retail, but it is too unpredictable. I'm looking for a corporate job but all I can attract are sales jobs because I have less than 2 years work experience. I am looking to earn a stable income and use my visual merchandising skills. Any advice?
Answered by Suzi, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., on Monday, June 15, 2015
What a great question! You’re wise to consider how your current assets would transfer into the corporate world, as you plan your career!
Many of your visual merchandising skills are very valuable and easily transferable into other professional roles. I suggest creating a custom cover letter for each opportunity you apply for, incorporating these skills, interwoven with the language of the job description to enhance your appeal to recruiters and hiring managers. You will probably be spending more time in the search for your next career move, but putting in the effort now will pay huge dividends when you find the right opportunity!
As a recruiter for a variety of roles in a technology environment, I'm always searching for candidates possessing many of the intangible skills that you’ve likely developed in your current role, including:
• Creative approach to solving problems/attracting customers
•Strong awareness of key trends
•Excellent Customer service awareness
•Confident and assertive approach
•Strong time management skills
•Ability to work within a set budget
•Excellent coaching, communication and organizational skills
You might consider looking into positions in product management, sales operations, program management, recruiting or even transferring your skills into sales roles with other companies. Don’t discount sales as a viable and lucrative career!
Most employers, when sales candidates with the necessary education and soft skills have been identified, are willing to teach the technologies and processes. Many will also have structured/guaranteed compensation plans to provide a steady income to new hires, while learning the new role.
Good luck on your journey!!
Answered by Mike, Hiring Expert at Avery Dennison Corporation, on Monday, June 15, 2015
Hi there!

I've been in your shoes!  I graduated with my management degree back in 2004, and was only able to find a home in retail.  After 5 years I had enough and wanted out.  Unfortunately, there wasn't a huge demand for management majors with 5 years of retail experience.  Despite a number of attempts, I eventually decided to go back to school and get a Masters in HR, which worked out great for me!

A couple of things I would suggest.  As I mentioned, I went back to school and get an advanced degree.  The nice thing about going for more school, is while you are attending classes, you also have the school's career center to leverage for more support.  It's a chance to "reboot" your career search.  

I also recommend looking for internships.  While it may be a step back, it's a great chance to get your foot into an organization and work your way up from there.  My internship from grad school helped me land my full-time position after I graduated, so it went a long way!

Lastly, I'd just find other ways to make yourself more marketable during the job hunt.  Try obtaining a certification such as PMP (Project Management Professional) or a Six Sigma Green/Black Belt.  That would help you get a step above when compared to other candidates.  

I hope this helps!

Mike 
Answered by Charlene, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015
If you love retail, hang in there!  That is the goal of each of us, to get up every day and go to a job that we love, and you are doing that, so let's plan a way to keep you doing what you love.  The retail industry is unique in that it is fast paced, creative and a career where you get results daily from your sales and your customers which can be very rewarding. There are many internet sites specifically for retail positions, groups on LinkedIn, and networking events around the country sponsored by Retailing Network Solutions (RNS) also on LinkedIn.  As you continue to build your skills be sure you have expressed your desire to get into management and see what opportuniities may exist for training or mentoring for individuals with these aspirations.  A great company will take notice of someone that has passion and skill towards what they are doing and will support their growth and development.  Best of Luck and how exciting you have found what you love to do! 
Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Great question!  I think some terrific advice has been offered by the companies who have responded.  Internships! Networking! Masters Degree! You are in a really unique position at this stage of your career, not so far into something that you can't change course, but with some experience so you have an idea of where you want to focus your efforts.  Many college internships are looking for people who are recent graduates.  Consider that any organization with a sales arm is likely going to need people prepared to lead.  Come check us out!  www.att.jobs/b2b

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