With Industry Insight by: Kelli Clark, Area Sales Manager
I checked LinkedIn ‘Top Jobs’ today and noticed my local Anthropologie was hiring a customer service associate; I was very tempted. I began to think about what fun a retail job would be at this stage in my life -Hello! Discounts, upgraded wardrobe, well-dressed co-worker friends, complimenting people all day) and wondered if other moms might feel the same way. My friend Kelli is an area manager for Seven for all Mankind and Splendid, two moms that I know I'll always find a nice piece of clothes candy, so I asked for her insights in hiring stay-at-home moms returning to work, not only in her stores but retail overall.
Kelli plays a prominent role in hiring for the stores she oversees in San Diego, CA, and they are hiring NOW. I wanted to know if she had ever hired a return-to-work mom, and the benefits. She said:
“The stay at home moms who have worked for me have had great work ethic. They come to work on time, they work hard, and they are committed for the time they are in the store. They can genuinely connect with customers because they have some life experience and can use that engagement to build their sales and reach their goals.”
Now we know that retail is a viable option for stay-at-home moms, so let's discuss ways to represent yourself in a marketable fashion in your cover letter, resume, and interview. Transferable skills are incredibly instrumental in helping you stand out in the hiring process. I asked Kelli, “What are some key transferable skills stay-at-home moms can use for retail positions?” She stated: “Time management, multi-tasking, event planning, volunteering, handling stressful situations.” You may be thinking you don’t have professional experience in those areas, but I would challenge that most stay-at-home moms have a strong representation of these skills. Here is an example of how it could look on a resume:
Jones Residence 2012-2015
• Planned and facilitated daily schedule for two children involved in over 12 weekly activities exuding strong time management and organization.
• Arranged weekly mom group meetings with over 15 attendees for two years; scheduled location, created activities and oversaw logistics.
• Displayed level-headed problem-solving in stressful situations involving children, teachers, peers, and family.
• Multi-tasked an array of child care, activities, events and daily responsibilities providing a well-run and fun household.
I’ve underlined the keywords, and synonyms, Kelli used to help you to see how you might replicate the use of keywords in a job description with your stay-at-home mom work experience.
I worked in retail for one holiday season my first semester of college at Victoria Secret. Aside from coming into work mildly hung-over most days, I didn’t have the work ethic, respect for the brand or a way to connect with the women I was helping; with all of this said, I was totally unsuccessful. I believe these skills are accrued and refined as a stay-at-home mom. But one aspect of a successful return to the working world is a schedule that allows you to balance all the responsibilities at home with those at work. I asked Kelli about flexible schedules in retail, and she replied: “Yes. If there are special events you know you need to be off work for in advance, like a school play, teacher conference, or field trip you want to attend during the week, all those things can be accommodated without losing pay because you can often make up the hours another day that week.”
I can attest to this as I see Kelli take her children to school most days, and she is always on time.
Lastly, I asked Kelli about upward mobility in retail; she responded there is “almost always” room to grow. Growth is an integral part of your decision to return to work in retail; moving up in the ranks is sure to motivate you. I highly suggest asking about ways to grow with the company when you interview for a position in retail. You aren’t limited to a customer service role, especially if you already have experience in retail or leadership. Check out this list of 47 jobs in retail to include in your next job search.
My favorite question to ask a hiring manager or human resources specialist is “What do you look for in an ideal candidate?” Here’s Kelli’s response: “For any position at 7 or Splendid you need to be able to show passion for the brand, engage with clients and sell, be self-motivated, able to do physical work and be on your feet all day, and be open to giving and receiving coaching and feedback.”
I’m excited to share the option of retail with you! Please send an email if you have further questions, need support with your resume or would like to get connected with Kelli regarding opportunities with 7 or Splendid.
Huge Thanks to Kelli Clark for contributing to this article!