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Production, Product Execution, Sourcing Manager

Location: Midwest

Category: Apparel (ladies, men’s, kids)

Do you work with overseas factories, have a keen sense of timelines and the ability to drive development with cross functional partners, and WIP with vendors, along with great negotiation skills? If so, this is a perfect opportunity for you. You will report to the VP of Sourcing and Production and manage two Production Coordinators.  

Work in a collaborative, forward thinking, consumer-centric environment. This passionate, expanding company offers a fast paced, casual work environment with growth opportunity.    

Summary:

Works closely with and direct the production team and manufacturers in the production process from vendor selection to product delivery.

Job Description:

  • Oversee communication of all order details from vendor selection to delivery

  • Manage the relationship with vendors and mills, spearheading the negotiation and final price confirmation, garment details, factory allocation, and delivery

  • Direct product and fabrication development with vendor base, including sourcing with new suppliers, negotiating the best costs without compromising the brand’s relationship with the supplier.

  • Assist VP of Sourcing & Production in building long term vendor partnerships and alliances as required, cultivating the brand’s relationship worldwide.

  • Develop and execute communication of seasonal time and actions calendar and ensure teams are in compliance with required dates

  • Oversee the Production Coordinator’s time and actions calendar and updates Work In Progress (WIPS) reports

  • Work with sales and product management to adhere to required deadline dates for all vendor/product forecasts or projections, securing supplier and mill capacities to deliver margin and delivery goals

  • Implement and regulate production policy and standard operating processes across vendor base. Balance capacity among vendor base as necessary.

  • Ensure quick resolution of product related issues with appropriate Product Manager, Technical Design and /or Designer, Product Development, or Sales Person, bringing in Sourcing VP when necessary

  • Define and monitor all vendor chargeback’s and/or discount details

  • Recommend and lead growth efforts that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sourcing organization and process

  • ·       Overseas travel required 1-2 times/ year 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, International Business, Retail Merchandising, Apparel Merchandising/ Design or a related field

  • 5 + years’ experience within the apparel industry

  • 5+ years’ experience working with overseas vendors

  • Working knowledge of technical requirements related to testing of knit 80%/woven fabric, trims, and garments preferred

  • Strong computer skills to include Microsoft Office Suite and production tracking software, i.e. BlueCherry or similar PLM systems.

  • Strong analytical skills

  • Ability to speak and understand Spanish, Mandarin, or Cantonese is a plus

  • Ability to follow instructions and take initiative when required

  • Ability to collaborate effectively with other teams and individuals

  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal

  • Highly organized and detail oriented

     

TO APPLY:

Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:

    e mail: sue@mpresource.com

     phone: 262.681.3727

Please include Job Code PPRSM- MPR0418 in the subject line of all emails.

Director eCommerce

Product: Apparel, Accessories, Home Goods

Location: Midwest

Are you a forward thinking, strategic, influential leader who can drive revenue, profit and operational performance in a consumer-centric organization?

Work for an iconic brand where each team member shares a bond, has a passion for the part they play in the organization and strives to provide the best product for their consumer. Quality and the customer experience are paramount.

You will collaborate with cross-functional brand, marketing, business insights, finance, logistics and IT partners to lead innovation and process improvement initiatives across Ecommerce.

Summary:

We are looking for an experienced eCommerce leader, who can step into this newly created role and make an immediate impact on this brands future. To be successful in this role you must be able to lead through ambiguity and collaborate with multiple stakeholders. You must be an excellent communicator and you must be proactive, a self-starter and be able to thrive within a fast-paced environment.

Job Description:

  • Align with the brands omni-channel strategies to deliver a superior digital shopping experience across their owned storefronts as well as in the marketplace.

  • Drive online retail sales performance and commerce experience globally, in both owned storefronts and on marketplaces.

  • Lead all aspects of the eCommerce business, including business planning, content strategy and development, online marketing, website design, customer service, web analytics and web technology.

  • Partner with digital marketing, brand marketing, channel marketing, marketing communications and IT to explore and develop new online initiatives and opportunities designed to meet and exceed the needs of the customer and eCommerce revenue goals.

  • Establish web metrics to ensure best practices and measurability of digital channels, design reporting processes, and drive performance improvements through testing, tracking and analysis of data.

  • Provide direction, manage, motivate and coach your team.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Technology or related field

  • Ten years of Ecommerce experience with Five years leading an E-Commerce team.

  • Curious and entrepreneurial leader that stays abreast of industry trends, able to set a vision, orchestrate a process to execute on that plan, and influence and inspire others to believe.

  • Demonstrated track record of increasing eCommerce revenues in an omni-channels business model

  • Strong website and consumer analytic skills, including the ability to link site design and features to strategic objectives and the ability to use the data and metrics to back up assumptions and recommendations.

  • Strong communications skills, with the ability to communicate across the entire organization

  • Creative, with an eye to develop new and innovative solutions

  • Strong team player, able to work successfully across multiple business functions.

TO APPLY:

Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:

E-mail: sue@mpresource.com

phone: 262.681-3727

Please include Job Code DE-MPR0418 in the subject line of all emails.

E-Commerce Manager

Product: Apparel, Accessories, Homegoods

Location: Midwest

Do you have proven experience growing a brand on-line?

Work for an iconic brand where each team member shares a bond, has a passion for the part they play in the organization and strives to provide the best product for their consumer. Quality and the consumer experience are paramount.

We are looking for an experienced e-commerce leader with direct Amazon experience, who can step into this newly created role and make an immediate impact on the brands future. To be successful in this role you must be able to lead through ambiguity and collaborate with multiple stakeholders. You must be an excellent communicator and you must be proactive, a self-starter and be able to thrive within a fast-paced environment.

Summary:

The role is primary responsible for the delivery of revenue and performance of targets to the brands business via Amazon and other 3rd party platforms. This role will be responsible for forecast accuracy, supply meeting Amazon requirements (in partnership with supply chain) and KPI optimization (traffic, conversion, basket, retention, profitability).

Building a deep understanding of Amazon’s business model and organization, this position will articulate the key needs and opportunities of Amazon back to the broader organization, as well as translate the brand and product strategies into winning Amazon plans.

Job Description:

  • Own the delivery of all Amazon targets

  • Serve as a key contact for all Amazon related activity and lead daily operations of the Amazon business to maintain profitability, sales growth and customer satisfaction.

  • Develop and maintain product pages and sales forecast, manage the customer service relationship and monitor seller rating.

  • Articulate the key needs of Amazon back to the broader business unit and organization

  • Plan, and manage the execution of Amazon sponsored products campaigns and Amazon promotions

  • Identify promotional opportunities and develop promotional calendars

  • Provide direction, manage, motivate and coach your team

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Technology or related field

  • Five years of eCommerce experience; Amazon experience required

  • Curious and entrepreneurial leader that stays abreast of industry trends, able to set a vision, orchestrate a process to execute on that plan, and influence and inspire others to believe.

  • Demonstrated track record of increasing e-Commerce revenues via Amazon in an Omni-channel business model

  • Strong website and consumer analytic skills, including the ability to link site design and features to strategic objectives and the ability to use the data and metrics to back up assumptions and recommendations.

  • Strong communications skills, with the ability to communicate across the entire organization

  • Creative, with an eye to develop new and innovative solutions

  • Strong team player, able to work successfully across multiple business functions.

TO APPLY:

Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:

E-mail: sue@mpresource.com

phone: 262.681-3727

Please include Job Code EM-MPR0418 in the subject line of all emails.

Assistant Technical Designer

Location: Midwest

Category: Missy/Plus Apparel

Our client has a rich history, great tenure and continues to grow! Work in a fun, face paced, and family oriented work environment. Enjoy summer hours and work life balance.

Summary:

They are looking for a team oriented technical designer who has solid technical design, fit (on models) and construction experience.  This person will help improve garment construction standards and effectively work with overseas manufacturers who own the pattern.

Experience working with overseas vendors, the plus size category and extensive fit responsibility (as in a lot of fitting in a short amount of time) on live models required to expedite approved fit.

Job Description:

  • Responsible for the technical design process from initial development to final fit against defined specs. Work closely with production/quality team as needed to troubleshoot production issues.

  • Create and maintain garment construction standards; establish grading

  • Develop and communicate all necessary specs and relay to vendors to secure fit ready samples.

  • Work with vendor patternmakers to correct patterns and improve fit

  • Develop library of specs to be used for future product development for each product category & fabric style.

  • Attend development hand-off meetings and own all technical design responsibilities for assigned products.

  • Identify problem items early in the spec development phase so that corrective action can be taken prior to problems occurring.

  • Works closely with specification assistant to ensure all standards are input into the system.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Design or Manufacturing

  • 1-2+ years of apparel technical design, product and pattern development experience in missy/plus apparel

  • Proficient in MS Word, Excel, and Windows applications

  • Strong Adobe Illustrator skills

  • Strong oral and written communication skills

  • Strong organization skills

  • Able to work independently with limited supervision

NOTE: They will consider hiring an associate technical designer with 3-5 years of experience or a technical designer with 5-7 years of experience.

TO APPLY:

Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC

      e mail: sue@mpresource.com

     phone: 262.681.3727

Please include Job Code ATD-MPR0318 in the subject line of all emails.

Product Manager

Category: Kids outdoor active (STEM/STEAM a huge plus)

Location: Mid-Atlantic

Join a fast growing organization where you can be a part of a nimble team.  Are you a creative, “out of the box” thinker who has a passion for children’s products; particularly products that focus on active and imaginative play? If you have proven experience in product development/management and are ready for your next career move, we should talk. If you are naturally curious, have great initiative and enjoy working cross functionally this is a perfect environment for you.

Summary: 

As a Product Manager you will identify, develop and source innovative and unique products. You will be responsible for the product from idealization to liquidation including the business management of your category/categories including ownership of gross margin, sales, profitability, vendor management, and sourcing.  Maximize the development of the brand, sales, profits and concepts along with building cross functional relationships with Creative, Product Safety & Quality Control, Inventory Control, and Sourcing.

Job Description: 

  • Source both domestically and internationally products within designated categories that fit brand merchandising strategy.    

  • Apply professional knowledge of merchandising principles in order to meet sales, gross margin, and contribution objectives.  

  • Develop exclusive proprietary products with IP protection potential.

  • Manage product collateral, creative work requests for all exclusive product and support needs of creative services team

  • Responsible for full life cycle of product management from conception and sourcing to supporting customer service and online managing online reviews.

  • Communicate and develop partnerships with all vendors.                                                               

  • Keep abreast of current industry and design trends.

  • Sample, test and evaluate prospective new products to ensure compliance with all applicable standards.    

  • Negotiate and confirm pricing, packaging, delivery, terms and advertising with catalog vendors.    

  • Monitor and evaluate vendor performance and determine key strategic partnerships.              

  • Prepare data and material for product presentation to Vice President and Merchandising Team members.                             

  • Analyze product performance.                                                                                                     

  • Provide supporting materials for catalog and web design, layout, photography, and copy writing.  Proofing same at various stages of production.                                         

  • Participate in weekly merchandise meetings with all departments.                                            

  • Work closely with PSQC to ensure quality and safety testing conformity. 

  • Project sales by item.  Assist Inventory Control with recommendations for initial buys and reorder quantities and reducing overstocks.                                                                                                 

  • Monitor back order report and assist Inventory Control in resolving any related issues.

  • Participate in the development of the annual trade show schedule and work within budget.           

  • Attend trade shows according to product line responsibility.                                                             

  • Support corporate business plan.                                                                                     

  • Responsible for the management and development of support staff. 

  • Ability to manage a high volume of work, multiple priorities and deadlines in a dynamic work environment

  • Collaborate with creative and marketing teams to ensure products within categories of responsibilities are marketed to planned objectives.

  • Evaluate trends within categories/sub-categories and recommend seasonal strategies.

  • Work with purchasing and QA to guarantee on time ship dates and in stock goals.

Qualifications:

  • A minimum of five years related experience in merchandising, purchasing, catalog pagination, web merchandising, product development international sourcing and manufacturing for a multichannel retailer preferably within Toy Industry.

  • Bachelor's Degree (four-year college or university)

  • Analytical Skills - Ability to use thinking and reasoning to solve a problem.

  • Strong communication skills (orally and written)

  • Detail Oriented - Ability to pay attention to the minute details of a project or task.

  • Negotiating - Proven record of win-win negotiations.

  • Organized - Possessing the trait of being organized or following a systematic method of performing a task.

  • Team Player - Ability to work within a team of performers each skilled in her/her own specialty.

  • Computer Skills - Required:  Excel, Word, Publisher, Outlook; Preferred:  Access; Understanding of POS systems

  • Valid/current U.S. Passport; ability and willingness to travel as required.

  • Understanding of market conditions as it relates to merchandising.

  • Previous experience in new product design and development preferred. 

TO APPLY: 
Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:
   
     E-mail: sue@mpresource.com
     phone: 262.681-3727

Please include Job Code PMC-MPR0418 in the subject line of all emails.

Sr. Product Developer (second position)

Location: Northwest

Category: Workwear

A small established growing organization is looking for a stellar sr. product developer to help them disrupt the market and create excitement for their customers.  You will play a key role in product strategy to develop a product mix that positions the company for their next phase of growth. As the workwear category expert your voice will be heard!  

Work in a creative, fun and productive work environment. If you work hard but play hard too this culture is for you.  

Summary:
The sr. product developer is an essential member of the product development team who is responsible for researching the market, designing and executing product along with maintaining effective production processes that bring innovative workwear apparel to the company’s global market. 

Job Description:  

Product Development:

  • Accountable for executing all aspects of the product development process from concept through production.

  • Accountable for all aspects of design from researching trends, analyzing competition to sketching. Next steps include design adoption, gaining consensus and further advancing design details as needed.

  • Responsible for concept and line architecture, engineering of prototypes through product ready. Effectively collaborates with various teams: Sales, graphic design, China office, Marketing and production. Drives the PD process and ensures all products meet or exceed expectations.

  • Partner and collaborate with overseas partners to ensure product execution including close collaboration with China office workwear assistant who is responsible for reviewing samples, evaluating production and approving for all carry-over styles.

  • Executing the testing requirements for workwear assortment. This includes establishing the testing, monitoring and capturing results. Making determinations for assortment based on results.

  • Ensure that designs are manufacturable, meet cost and quality objectives.

  • Travel to Asia to work with manufacturers and our China office on current and future development projects.

  • Create and manage tech packs assuring documentation is current and production ready.

  • Establish expertise in fabric development including gathering knowledge around future technologies. Be the product development source for new, innovative fabrics and their capabilities.

  • Responsible for negotiating cost and aligning cost capabilities.

Product Line Management:

  • Initiate and manage consumer, market industry and competition research to identify business opportunities; keep pulse on existing distributors/customers and understand needs and expectations of prospective distributors.

  • Responsible for identifying trends and opportunities based on analysis of product performance and competitors.

  • Manage and monitor new product introductions as well as carry-overs. Balance brand and business ensuring apparel assortment and color/sku offering deliver on product goals.

  • Establish year-round margin and analytics review of categories to ensure profitability.

  • Act as a product evangelist presenting product and POV at pre-lines, sales meetings and meetings with key distributors.

  • Effectively collaborate with distributor partners in both the US and EU markets ensuring open communication and a solid understanding of the unique aspects of the market.

  • Partner with key cross-functional partners (marketing, ecommerce, sourcing, finance, operations) to ensure category execution is on brand and delivers business objectives.

  • Be the category expert with all cross-functional partners to ensure product execution aligns with your seasonal line plan and brand direction.

  • Ensure timely delivery of all projects and processes within timelines.

  • Attends photo shoots, initiating shot lists and coordinating outfit pairings that drive product marketing stories. Partners with Mktg on catalog lay-outs and features.

  • Partner with VP of merchandising to continuously strive for process improvement, making solid recommendations on ways in which the organization can gain additional efficiencies.

Leadership competencies:

  • Inspiring others/leading by example

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to communicate new ideas, concepts and expertise within internal product development team and to external partners.

  • Effectively communicate design presentation, line validity to CEO and leaders of organization.

  • Ability to share your vision for your area and shepherd your strategy through the development process.

  • Decision making

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Conflict resolution management

  • Collaboration and innovation

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree with 5-7+ years of experience in the lifestyle apparel industry

  • Leadership role working with product design and development teams

  • Strategic thinker with proven results

  • Ability to develop, inspire, and empower a team

  • Creative, innovative, with the ability to identify key design elements to increase sales

  • Strong sense of trend, fabric, style, color and print direction

  • Strong interpersonal skills, willing and able to work with people at all levels

  • Technologically savvy, proficient in PLM systems

  • Excellent public speaking skills, able to tell a story

  • Exceptional financial acumen and business planning skills

  • Ability to perform in a fast paced, dynamic, entrepreneurial environment

  • Ability to travel internationally and domestically, 20-25%

  • Excellent at building relationships internally and externally

  • Strong negotiator

  • Experience effectively conducting business in Asia a must

  • Detail oriented and highly organized, maintain clear priorities

TO APPLY: 

Send your resume with salary requirements to Sue at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:
   
     E-mail: sue@mpresource.com
     phone: 262.681-3727

Please include Job Code SPDWW-MPR0417 in the subject line of all emails.
 

10 Job Interview Tips to Land the Career of Your Dreams

Great perspective from Caren Merrick. Many of things she covers in the article we address in our interview prep! The interview is not about saying all the right things, it is about knowing yourself and articulating to the employer why you are the right fit! 

 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-job-interview-tips-land-career-your-dreams-caren-merrick

Will Your Resume Get Into the Database?

 
Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape.jpg

Many companies are utilizing applicant tracking software to upload resumes, organize & track applicants in the hiring process and to access qualified candidates (via keywords) quickly.  

Do you want to make sure your resume is uploaded and searchable?  Here are a few tips:

  • Use a universal program like Microsoft Word to save and send your document. We often get PDF files that are nicely formatted but, on average 1 in 5 cannot be uploaded into our database. Google docs can sometimes create a problem too. 
  • Keep your resume keyword focused by using common industry terms to explain what you do. This eliminates the need to include a string of industry terms.
    • Common search criteria includes job title, key software systems, industry buzz words (example: "Apparel Designer" AND Illustrator AND trend)
  • Don't create a header with your contact information in it. When the resume is uploaded that information won't be included because it is NOT a part of the main document. You are requiring the company to manually enter important information.
  • Apply for jobs that are relevant to your skills. If you don't have the minimum requirements DON'T apply for that specific job. You are better to send a resume when the right opportunity becomes available. 

For additional information on this topic check out the article link below: "Resumes built for today's database-driven recruitment" by Martin Yate, CPC (career expert blogs from careercast.com) :

http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2014/07/resume-tips-overcoming-inexperience-on-a-resume.html

 

Excellent tips to help you prepare for an interview (on your own or through a recruiter)!

Are you thinking... "I have sent out 100's of resumes why haven't I gotten a job...."

 If you are an A player you will give 120% on the job. Why would you do any less to land your dream job.

If you are an A player you will give 120% on the job. Why would you do any less to land your dream job.

LinkedIn Top Influencer Jeff Haden wrote a great article - "A Resume Will Never Get You The Job You Really Want."

Here is a link to that article:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140512122551-20017018-a-resume-will-never-get-you-the-job-you-really-want?trk=eml-mktg-inf-w-top-p1

Summary of article:

The article discusses how hard the job seeker needs to work to land their dream as opposed to sending out 100's of resumes and hoping a miracle will happen.  

 

Additional application of his content:

Use these tips to prepare for the interview! You have already done a lot of legwork to get your foot in the door (or your search firm has gotten you in).

Use that information to communicate your value proposition in the interview!

"Preparation up front gains you so much mileage along the journey!" - me

 

If you read my article "Do You Need A Cover Letter"...

Here is an interesting perspective on the cover letter from a recent hiring manager and LinkedIn top influencer Marina Glogovac, Digital, eCommerce, Media, Marketing and Social Enterprise CEO:

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140509213747-2471478-slacking-on-your-cover-letter-i-wouldn-t-hire-you?trk=eml-mktg-inf-w-top-p5

Why Work with An Executive Search Firm?

Why should a company work with an executive search firm?

  • An executive search firm/head hunter/agency typically has a broader reaching network and an on-going pulse on who is confidentially looking. They also have an understanding of your competition and which companies have happy/unhappy employees. Timing is everything. An executive search firm can typically tap into qualified/employed candidates at critical times and entice them to make a change when the right opportunity comes along. Hint: It is critical that you work with a firm who values the candidate relationship and builds long term partnerships with their candidates.
  • A firm can actively market your opening(s) to a potential employee (often a company does not want to gain a reputation of stealing talent from their industry partners or competition- remember that golden rule: do on to others as U want done on to U)
  • A firm can get to the root of why an employee is really looking to make a change and define what is the next best career move for them
  • A good firm partners with the right candidate to engage them in the process, gets them prepared to tell you why they are a good fit for your specific position, culture, company (what are they going to do for your company) and help them successfully relay their value proposition to you.
  • A firm will work with you to understand the key skills/objectives that the right candidate needs to bring to the job/and expected accomplishments required of them
  • A firm will help you to close the deal. A good firm is partnering with you to understand your critical salary range. They are partnering with the final candidate from the beginning of the process to understand their salary history and future requirements, bonus/sign on needs, relocation expense expectations, benefits needs, etc. The recruiter has on going conversations during each stage of the interview process to make sure the company needs and the candidate's requirements are in line, thus ensuring acceptance of the offer by the candidate once an offer is extended. Additionally, the recruiter is gaining full visibility to other opportunities that the candidate is pursuing to determine the viability of your opportunity against your competition. A successful recruiter will help you to stop the candidate's search process and accept your offer when the right fit/connection has been made!
  • A firm who understands your culture can find you the right talent before you have the need. This is often the best time to hire. A company often waits until they have an opening (I understand the need to manage head count) and then they make a selection from the available candidate pool at the time. Is that really the best candidate for the position/organization or does the company settle based on a need to fill an urgent position so as to not continue to tax existing staff? A successful company will not miss the opportunity to hire the right culture fit/strong talent when they become motivated to make a change! The sweet spot!
  • A firm will expedite your hiring process and find you the right candidate for your specific needs!

Why should a candidate work with an executive search firm?

  • An executive search firm can educate you on your marketability. Do you know how you compare to the candidate pool whom you are competing with? Do you know what your strengths/weakness are compared to your competition? How valuable are you to a potential employer?
  • A firm can get your resume noticed and to the top of the pile. That is priceless in a saturated market!
  • A firm can get you prepared for the interview. We review our interview notes with you, prepare you for the interview in terms of helping you uncover specific skills, relative to the position, and how to communicate those to the future employer, we give you a sense for what to expect in the interview process, we share relevant interview feedback and educate you on your monetary market value!

How do you qualify an executive search firm?

  • You need to find out what the firm's process is. How do they screen their candidates? How do they build relationships with their candidate's to ensure they are getting the true picture of their skill set/personality/capabilities? When and how are they reference checking their candidates? How detailed is the reference? Are they calling only the listed references or are they digging to talk to past supervisors/peers to get the real scoop. The quality executive search firm is uncovering all the facts to ensure a LONG TERM placement!
  • What credentials do they have in the industry that they are recruiting for
  • Do they have an HR perspective and an understanding of employment law to keep the process unbiased
  • How did they train/study to get good at what they do
  • Ask them for references of other satisfied clients
  • Ask them how much information they are going to provide on the candidates they submit. Warning, those firms who are submitting an attached resume and limited information (only salary requirements and ability to relocate) have probably not thoroughly screened the candidate for your specific need!
  • Ask them why you should be working with them over another firm- do they know their strengths relative to their competition?

I hope this gives you food for thought.

You are paying a fee if you hire a candidate from an executive search firm. Know what you are paying for. A good recruiter is worth their weight in gold, but you need to know who you are working with!

If you are a company looking for quality fashion industry professionals we would welcome the opportunity to expedite your hiring process!

From a candidate perspective, you need to be working with a firm who values the candidate relationship as much as the company/client relationship.

If you are an fashion industry professional we would love to partner with you in your search!
 

Do You Need A Cover Letter?

The cover letter is a controversial thing. I hesitate to communicate my thoughts on this topic because I am sure that many people labor over the cover letter and spend an enormous amount of time on it.

First, what should the cover letter include:

  • The title of the position that you are applying for
  • List how or where you learned about the position (if there is a job code include it)
  • Parallel your background/experience and how you can be of value to the future employer based on what "they" are looking for
  • Your availability to talk to the hiring authority and the best way to reach you
  • Your contact information

Now, do you need a cover letter?

Answer: it depends.

No if,

  • Someone who is already connected to the company/position is putting forth your information
  • You are applying for a specific position
  • You have the direct contact name for the person overseeing the hiring process

Yes if,

  • You are not applying for a specific position
  • You are seeking an informational interview
  • Have a unique aspect of your resume that needs to be explained
  • Are applying for a position where your skills are not current in the specific field (the cover letter will allow you to explain why you feel you are a fit)
  • You are applying for a marketing, communications, sales position- often your written style will be a assessed as a part of the interview process!
  • They are asking for one

My experience with cover letters:

When I was hiring (as a Manager of HR) I typically went straight to the resume to get to the meat of what the person could do/bring to the company/position. If the resume had positive attributes (longevity in positions, growth/advancement, relevant experience) but, they were not a direct fit, I would reference the cover letter to get a sense for why they felt that they were a good fit.

Cover letters can be valuable for showing your ability to communicate via writing, which is critical in many professional level positions. It can also "sell" your background differently than a resume.

When the top 5% bubble to the top, the cover letter may become a deciding factor relative to who a company brings in for an interview. Especially if the position is in marketing, sales or communications!

My thoughts on the cover letter:

Given a saturated market you may be laboring over a cover letter that is never read! Recruiters/hiring managers are so busy trying to get through the resumes that reviewing every cover letter can become very time consuming. Keep in mind that cover letters are often poorly written and are done in a lot of different formats which requires more time for the "reviewer"!

According to data released in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in '09; there were 5.4 job hunters for every advertised opening in April. This was up from 4.8 in March and up dramatically from 1.7 in December 2007, when the recession began. Note: As of April '14, the BLS had not published updated information.    

How to Get Your Resume Noticed!

A little foreground before I give you tips on how to get an employer or recruiter to read your resume:

Why do you need a resume?

  • The resume is the tool that will typically get your foot in the door
  • If it is done correctly it will land you the interview
  • The resume is the "first impression" of you to an employer. Remember the old saying "you only get one chance to make a good first impression"!

Important Note: You should consider LinkedIn and other social media as a resume of sorts.
Do your social networking sites represent you appropriately to your future employer? Even if you are not looking, your next employer might be passively looking for you! Caution, keep profile pictures "employer" appropriate!

Keys to getting your resume noticed:

  • Create a resume that is easy to read - bullet point format is typically best- it allows you to concisely relay your KSAA's (knowledge, skills, abilities, accomplishments)/paragraph form is NOT an effective way to relay your KSAA's...(it is overwhelming to read this type of format). Imagine yourself, for a moment, as a recruiter or hiring manager and you are up against a large stack of resumes...Would you want to read a labor intensive paragraph- even with good sentence structure!?
  • Make sure your resume succinctly relays your KSAA's- you should spend the most time on your accomplishments and the least amount of time on skills- although they are important and should be mentioned!
  • Be consistent in your format throughout the resume
  • Flow it similar to a book (you read left to right) use that same format in your resume...requiring them to read the resume in another flow is confusing and takes precious time that they do not have!
  • Create a tag line with appropriate buzz words in your industry or key skills that you are looking to incorporate in your next position (list skills that you possess not desire to gain). This will get your resume to come up when employers/recruiters "search" databases or surf the web
  • Keep your resume length to two pages (1 page for 5 or less years of experience)

I could spend a whole day on this topic, but hopefully these initial tips will get you off to a good start!

Appropriate Follow Up on Submitted Resume

What does this economy mean for a candidate/job seeker?

You are now competing with many more candidates (not necessarily more qualified candidates) than you were several years ago. This means that the hiring process may be slower. HR/Hiring Managers have to filter through a lot more resumes to find the "diamond in the rough". Additionally, they may be taking on multiple job responsibilities (due to downsizing) leaving them less time to focus solely on recruitment.

Appropriate follow up on your resume status includes:

  • An e-mail to HR or the Hiring Manager (whom ever was listed in the job posting) to clarify that they received your resume NOTE: If you do not get a response from your e-mail it would be appropriate to follow up with a phone call, but wait several days to give them a chance to respond!
  • A telephone call to HR/Hiring Manager to confirm receipt of your resume. NOTE: If they do not answer please leave a message. People are extremely busy and leaving a message will still get you the same results: your resume to the top of the pile.

A word of caution (coming from in house recruitment for 9+ years) if your follow up is too aggressive, it may hurt your chances of getting an interview.

How To Prepare For An Interview!

Your frame of mind is really key to a successful interview. To put things in perspective: Think of the interview as a conversation. Nothing more. The interview is NOT a test, it is NOT an interrogation, it should NOT be a stress test and you do NOT pass or fail.

You are talking to the employer to learn more about their needs (relative to the position that they are trying to fill) and to determine if the position, location, environment and employees are a match with what you are looking for. The employer is doing the same thing! If the two align an offer is typically extended.

How do you best prepare for an interview?

I recommend that you use the following strategy to answer the employers questions. The concept is taken from the behavioral based interviewing method/model.

Behavioral based interviews are formatted to get specific examples of your past experience so an employer can determine if you can be successful in their open position in the future. The interviewee's answers give the employer insight into how they performed the process/job/responsibilities in a prior role.

Use the job description as a key reference point. The objective of the interview is to relay, to the employer, how you can be of value based on their specific need/open position.

The following strategy can be used by candidates to prepare for an interview.

  1. Review the job description.
  2. Review each action point on the job description and come up with 1 or 2 examples (use your past performance/job experience) where you have done what they are looking for.
  3. Then use the following tool to get your toughs in order prior to the interview:

On the right hand margin of the job description write BAR or STAR vertically and fill in the blanks horizontally. Think of the acronym BAR, B= Behavior, A= Action, R= Result
or STAR, S=Situation, T= Task, A= Action, R= Result.

EXAMPLE:

Job Description:

  • Work with Sales and Marketing to develop season’s themes, promotional items and marketing campaigns

B= As Director of Men's and Boys Product

A= I worked with Design, Sales, Marketing & Key Accounts to research and develop seasonal marketing strategies (which included: POS, GWP, promotional kits, packaging, hang tags and advertising spots)

R= I had full accountability for the revenue in my assigned categories. My efforts resulted in a 30% increase in sales year over year, a 5 pt margin increase and a successful launch (and line extension) for the Men's and Boys product category.

This preparation should position you to communicate your strengths, relative to the employer's needs, and ultimately land the job- providing you have the KSAA's (knowledge, skills, ability, accomplishments) that they are looking for!