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Sourcing Manager- Home

Location: Midwest

Category: Home and Textiles

Our client is one of the top direct marketers in the US AND they continue to grow! Work in a fun, face paced, and family oriented work environment.  Enjoy summer hours and work life balance.  

We are looking for an experienced sourcing manager within the home textiles industry with proven global sourcing and supply chain management experience.  

Summary:
As a sourcing manager you’ll report to the divisional sourcing manager and be responsible for successfully sourcing and procuring materials and products that deliver the best possible value in price and quality while balancing risks and regulatory concerns.  You’ll partner with category and brand merchandising, planning and inventory to ensure domestic and international sourcing activities are aligned to meet and adapt to the goals of the organization.  

Job Description: 

  • Conduct general market research and analysis pertaining to industry capabilities, potential suppliers, and product specification and development opportunities
  • Evaluate and cultivate vendor relationships and contribute to the vendor RFP process 
  • Facilitate product development and testing

Qualifications : 

  • 7+ years of experience in global sourcing and supply chain management via vendors/manufacturers both domestically and internationally
  • Proven product costing, pricing and negotiation skills; 3+ years’ specific to home textiles
  • 3 + years leading a team
  • Professional level communication skills
  • Superior analytical and problem-solving skills 
  • A solution-oriented and customer-focused demeanor
  • Exceptional negotiation and conflict management skills
  • Strong organizational and project management skills
  • The ability to travel internationally
  • Proven success in a dynamic, cross-functional, collaborative team environment

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 SMH-MPR0417 in the subject line of all emails.
 

Sourcing Manager- Apparel

Location:Midwest

Category: Apparel Missy

Our client is one of the top direct marketers in the US AND they continue to grow! Work in a fun, face paced, and family oriented work environment.  Enjoy summer hours and work life balance.  

We are looking for an experienced sourcing manager with proven global sourcing and supply chain management experience.  

Summary:
As a sourcing manager you’ll report to the divisional sourcing manager and be responsible for successfully sourcing and procuring materials and products that deliver the best possible value in price and quality while balancing risks and regulatory concerns.  You’ll partner with category and brand merchandising, planning and inventory to ensure domestic and international sourcing activities are aligned to meet and adapt to the goals of the organization.  

Job Description: 

  • Conduct general market research and analysis pertaining to industry capabilities, potential suppliers, and product specification and development opportunities
  • Evaluate and cultivate vendor relationships and contribute to the vendor RFP process 
  • Facilitate product development and testing

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in a Business, Logistics, Supply Chain, or Operations Management discipline a huge plus
  • 10+ years’ experience in global sourcing and supply chain management via vendors/manufacturers both domestically and internationally
  • Proven product costing, pricing and negotiation skills 
  • Professional level communication skills
  • Superior analytical and problem-solving skills 
  • A solution-oriented and customer-focused demeanor
  • Exceptional negotiation and conflict management skills
  • Strong organizational and project management skills
  • The ability to travel internationally
  • Proven success in a dynamic, cross-functional, collaborative team environment

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 SMA-MPR0417 in the subject line of all emails.

Technical Designer

Location: East Coast-Mid Atlantic

Category- outerwear, Men’s, Women’s, and Kid’s

Join a growing organization where you can be a part of a tight knit product development team.  Our client has been adding new team members, and is looking for a strong pattern maker/technical designer with outerwear experience.  You will have a seat at the table where your opinions are welcome, and you are empowered to make decisions.  Sound like fun?  Take a look!

Summary: 
The Technical Designer will be responsible for the development of a style’s fit and construction. They will manage seasonal development from concept through production working alongside cross-functional team members to ensure products are developed in accordance with company goals.  Developing high quality products is of the utmost importance, and fit is key.

Job Description:

  • Develop product patterns on computer from blocks, or develop new blocks, establish specs and grade rules. 
  • Determine garment construction steps ensuring the product adheres to quality standards.
  • Work directly with the manufacturer from concept to final patterns and production, managing the tech pack process and development.
  • Manage the sample prototyping process, evaluate sample, lead fit sessions, and give feedback to the manufacturer.
  • Work cross-functionally with internal team members to meet calendar deadlines and product goals for the season.
  • Maintain detailed and accurate records for each style.
  • Limited travel.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in clothing, textiles, or related field.
  • At least 5-7 years of pattern making experience with strong attention to detail.
  • Must have pattern making experience in outerwear.
  • Illustrator and Photoshop intermediate skills.
  • Team player.
  • Strong critical thinking skills and communication skills.

TO APPLY:
Send your resume with salary requirements to Michelle at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:
     
      e mail: michelle@mpresource.com
               phone: 262.221-3517

Please include Job Code TD-MPR0417 in subject line on all e-mails.
 

Sr Manager Manufacturing

Location: South

Category: Apparel

Our client has a strong brand presence and continues to redefine their business to compete in the global landscape (while proudly still producing in the US). Enjoy a team atmosphere (average employee tenure is in the double digits) and work for a company where quality is paramount.

Summary:

Reporting to the VP of Manufacturing you will head up North American apparel manufacturing (cutting/sewing) leading a team of plant managers in four facilities. Develop manufacturing strategies to maximize profitability and support the company’s strategic direction.

The company is building bench strength. The position has the potential for promotability.

Strong leadership, lean manufacturing, union and bilingual (Spanish) skills will identify you as the perfect candidate for this role!

Job Description:

  • Manage domestic sewing and cutting facility operations, including operating plants, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner to meet planned production, meet quality standards, both outgoing quality level and irregulars, and ensure inventory levels are properly maintained.
  • Work directly with cutting and MU manager and plants to oversee Piece Goods Variance (PGV) for all cutting plants to include: domestic, off-shore and contractors. Travel on as need basis to company owned plants and contractors to find savings and resolve PGV issues.
  • Direct the activities of domestic sewing and cutting facilities including proactively addressing turnover and developing plans to ensure budgeted KPIs are met.
  • Collaborate and communicate cross-functionally with department leaders of Engineering, Quality, Training, Logistics, Distribution, HR, IT, Purchasing & Finance to ensure all manufacturing KPI are being accomplished and clear expectations are set.
  • Plan and manage the budget process for domestic sewing and cutting facilities.
  • Recommend improvements of efficiencies and costs in assigned facilities to meet budgeted KPI goals.
  • Develop leadership skills of subordinates by determining developmental needs and opportunities.
  • Set performance guidelines and goals for managers and key personnel through effective performance appraisals. Provide mentoring and direction as required.
  • Advise the Vice President of Manufacturing on all aspects of operations, including any issues that may affect the success of the assigned facilities or responsibilities.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing or Business or a related field or equivalent years of directly related work experience
  • 10 years of management experience in a manufacturing environment, with apparel manufacturing experience highly preferred
  • Lean Manufacturing experience (5S, Six Sigma, etc.)
  • Outstanding leadership skills, interpersonal relations, and ability to develop other leaders
  • Experience in a union environment (highly preferred but not required)
  • Ability to travel with little or no advanced notice, internationally and domestic, is required. Valid U.S. driver’s license is required.
  • Experience developing and managing a budget is required, preferably for multiple facilities
  • Bilingual in English and Spanish is 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 SMM-LIR0317 on all emails.
 

Sourcing Specialist

Location: East Coast

Category- children’s retail distribution

Join a fast-growing organization where you can be a part of a nimble team.  If you are ready to go after opportunities and challenge yourself this is the role for you.  We are looking for a strong communicator who is an excellent listener and problem solver.  If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and enjoy working independently let’s talk!

Summary: 
The Sourcing Specialist is responsible for driving the day to day communications between the internal and external partners.   You will need strong communication skills and be proficient in English and Mandarin to ensure products are developed and produced accurately and on time.  International and Domestic travel is required.

Job Description:

  • Manage the development and production processes from initial concept samples through delivery adhering to development timeline.
  • Develop and maintain vendor relationship to ensure products are developed and produced on time, accurately, following product specifications and quality standards.
  • Accountable for data integrity of product set up and purchase orders.
  • Ongoing tracking of development and production statuses, while identifying production issues.
  • Partner with the vendor, logistics, and merchant, providing solutions and resolving conflicts to ensure smooth production and shipping.
  • Be the conduit for communication between internal and external partners to support the company goals.
  • Identify opportunities for cost savings, efficiencies, or product improvements, and recommends new alternatives to Manager.
  • Continually expand vendor/supplier diversity, become an expert in all key sourcing regions.
  • Domestic and international travel is required to meet with vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers as necessary.  
  • Attend product shows as necessary.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree plus 1-2 years of experience, or equivalent.
  • Must be fluent in Mandarin and English, oral and written.
  • Proficient computer skills including Microsoft Office Suite, specifically Excel
  • Previous experience in sourcing preferred, hard and/or soft goods.
  • Strong team player able to manage large workloads with shifting priorities.
  • Strong critical thinking skills and communication skills.
  • Ability to travel for extended periods of time domestically and internationally.

TO APPLY:

Send your resume with salary requirements to Michelle at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:
     
      e mail: michelle@mpresource.com
               phone: 262.221-3517

Please include Job Code SS-MPR0317 in subject line on all e-mails.

Brand Merchandising Director

Location: Midwest

Category: Branded Apparel

Our client is one of the top direct marketers in the US. AND they continue to grow! Work in a fun, face paced, and family oriented work environment.  Enjoy summer hours and work life balance.  

Summary:
Responsible for supporting the apparel division in various marketing activities that will maximize profit & sales and drive the brands fashion direction.  

You will oversee the entire apparel strategy and guide/mentor a merchandising team.  

If you have experience in apparel merchandising in eCommerce, brick and mortar or catalog, strong design, verbal and analytical skills with merchandise management experience we need to talk.

Job Description: 

  • Develops the merchandising vision for the assigned brand.
  • Responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the merchandising team.
  • Develop catalog spreads and collaborates with catalog managers.
  • Develops merchandise category plans for current and future catalogs or other marketing efforts.  
  • Analyzes product and category performance data.
  • Leads merchandise team to recommend products for selection in current and future catalogs or other marketing efforts. 
  • Researches and creates new product development/ideas. 
  • Understands communicating and selling in various channels, the differences and the similarities
  • Supports new concepts and direction for future catalogs including new categories, new products, and new merchandising strategies.
  • Participates in catalog preparation and creative/layouts.  
  • Determines retail pricing and estimates.  

Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s Degree in business administration, design, product development or related field. Sales/marketing emphasis a plus.
  • Ability to conceptualize merchandising strategies, articulate them and develop product that supports the brand vision.
  • 8+ years’ of strong merchandising, marketing, financial and general business knowledge.
  • A strong aptitude to research and analyze business opportunities.
  • The ability to work with a multiple cross functional partners.
  • An ability to think ahead and plan over a 1 to 5 year planning horizon. 
  • The ability to organize and manage multiple priorities/tasks. Lead complex, multi-department projects to optimal completion. 
  • A demonstrated ability to lead people and achieve positive results through others.
  • Ability to function as a senior member within the merchandising team. Ability to understand that the organization is built on a series of integrated business processes.   Must understand how each process works and how they are interrelated to other processes.     

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 BMD-MPR0317  in the subject line of all emails.
 

Merchandise Manager- Furniture

Location: Midwest

Category: Furniture

Our client is one of the top direct marketers in the US. AND they continue to grow! Work in a fun, face paced, and family oriented work environment.  Enjoy summer hours and work life balance.

We are looking for a merchant who is a strong analytical strategist with a creative ability to conceptualize white space opportunities.  They will drive the brand’s fashion direction and create assortments based on sales analysis and the consumer’s wants and needs. They will work cross functionally to ensure the product is developed according to the seasonal plan.  If you have an entrepreneurial approach to work and can capitalize on trends creating revenue opportunities this position is for you!

Summary: 
The Merchandise Manager will work alongside the DMM and Brand leaders to build cohesive product lines to meet or exceed the financial goals of the company.  You will work directly with the senior leadership discussing high level business strategy and creating short and long term goals to drive business and creatively solve problems.

  • Responsible for initiating consumer research, conducting market research including competitive analysis, and stay abreast of fashion and industry trends. 
  • Develop new items and update existing items to share with the DMM and cross functional partners showing fashion direction.
  • Develop seasonal and long term line architecture and assortments that meets and exceeds consumer’s expectations using sales data and the white space opportunities you’ve identified to positively impact category growth and financial profitability.
  • Be the category expert with all cross functional partners to ensure product execution aligns with your seasonal line plan and brand direction.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design, Sales, Marketing, or Business Administration.
  • Must have over five years of experience with eCommerce, brick and mortar, or catalog business in a merchandising capacity for furniture.
  • Must have furniture or hard home experience.
  • Must have a strong eye for design and ability to identify opportunities that align with brand direction.
  • Be a leader within the organization and create opportunities for positive results.
  • Must be able to analyze data and create action plans to drive business.
  • Able to identify business opportunities for seasonal strategies, as well as, three to five-year long term strategies in line direction and business growth.
  • Must be able to manage multiple projects and priorities at one time effectively.

TO APPLY: 
Send your resume with salary requirements to Michelle at Midwest Personnel Resource, LLC:
   
     E-mail: michelle@mpresource.com
     phone: 262.221.3517
Please include Job Code MMF-MPR0317 in the subject line of all emails.
 

Print Designer

Location: Midwest

Category: accessories, home goods, SLG

Work for a medium sized company, in a team environment, where employees share in each success and work together to accomplish their goals. This employer prides itself in low employee turnover and offers a great work environment. If this environment sounds like “home” and you are an artistic print designer, we need to talk. 

Summary: 
Create prints that meet design objectives and contribute to achieving brand vision.  Develop CAD artwork derived from own as well as other print designers’ work for use across all product categories.

Work through entire design process, to design on-brand, commercial and trend driven prints. 
You will be part of a new in-house print design team. Get the best experiences/training/development in the industry.

This is an innovative/creative role vs. computer generated print design role. Design aesthetic needs to represent a high end to luxury taste level to inspire and captivate the targeted consumer! 

Job Description:

  • Create prints for core cotton line from own original or company purchased artwork or inspiration reference
  • Present original artworks and inspiration references to Design Management at the onset of each season, in accordance with the Product Development calendar
  • Fully develop prints selected by Design management, complete CAD artwork in AI and develop coordinating lining and border patterns. Adapt all artwork to fit printer’s repeat requirements 
  • Develop CAD artwork for prints on textiles and other substrates including PVC, PU and leather. Design work may include development of original patterns (coordinates to core line in other materials) as well as adaptation of existing print for specific products (towels, phone cases, etc.)
  • Release copyrights of own artwork to company before sending files to printing mill
  • Stay current on industry trends. Attend relevant textile color and trend shows
  • Participate in proofing of files provided by textile designers for color, size, repeat and overall accuracy
  • Prepare Print Design calendar and help all internal and external groups meet calendar deadlines
  • Prepare specifications related to produced CAD (size, colors, placement, repeat, etc.) and communicate to appropriate vendors accordingly
  • Work closely with fabric designers to provide color matching when printing artwork in house. Provide design input and support through manipulation of layout, size, color selection and position.
  • Update and maintain record of all CAD designs submitted by textile designers and created in house
  • Manage the request and receipt of CAD revisions from external print designers and prepare  new submits for review by the Design team
  • Communicate with textile designers and vendors to ensure materials prepared are issued in proper format
  • Review strike-offs against artwork and comment on screen accuracy
  • Provide flat sketches and illustrations of new products for line lists, technical renderings and presentation boards
  • Participate in evaluation of all product line concepts along with other product development team members
  • Manage operation of CAD machine and printer
  • Responsible for the keeping and recording of the original artwork in archival safe boxes and the registering of the names with legal
  • Provide assistance to design team by creating and updating technical sketches, as needed
  • Provide creative input and suggestions for own work

Qualifications:

  • High school graduate. Bachelor’s degree in textile design, graphic design, or related field preferred
  • 5+ years experience in designing, managing and manipulating print designs on textiles
  • Demonstrated artistic ability to draw, sketch and illustrate
  • Advanced Knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop required
  • Experience in the fashion industry strongly preferred
  • Creative eye for color
  • Superior score (>16) on Farnsworth-Munsell 100 hue test
  • Knowledge of textile printing industry
  • Ability to create and think outside the box
  • Ability to create product specs
  • Good PC and/or Mac skills utilizing Microsoft Office software
  • Detail oriented with strong organizational skills
  • Excellent interpersonal, written and verbal communication skills
  • Proactive, adaptable with the ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines in a fast paced environment
  • Strong team player

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 PCD-MPR0317 in subject line on all e-mails.
 

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!