Life, Work

New Beginnings

As my time working in retail draws to a close, excitement and nervousness draws in as I am about to embark on the latest chapter of my life since leaving university.

After working hard to build my portfolio over the past few months, I was recently offered the opportunity to become a Junior Copywriter at a health and fitness company based in Leeds. This would mean facilitating a relocation from Manchester, but I felt that accepting the job offer was the correct decision for me to make in order to further my career.

In spite of enjoying working in retail over the years, it became apparent that this was a career I didn’t see myself continuing in for the long term, having gone to university for three years in order to enhance my career prospects.

Upon realising that writing was my passion, this is when I decided to take the necessary steps after taking on board some greatly helpful advice at a careers fair to build my portfolio and gain some hands on, self taught experience that I could showcase to employers.

Throughout the duration of my time at university, I spent my days not knowing what I wanted to do upon graduating, and soon enough the end of my final year had arrived. I began to apply for a multitude of jobs including various graduate schemes, but to no avail, either a lack of experience was cited or my application simply turned away or ignored.

Despite this, I remained motivated and focused in my job search, something which can understandably be difficult for many people, and I took any rejections with my head held high, and continued to move forward in my search.

Rewind to the end of my second year at university, I was offered a job at the company I had worked for on two occasions previous, having known a workmate of mine who advised me of an upcoming vacancy.

I decided to accept the position so I was in a position to supplement my income, prove my time management skills as well as being able to travel home at weekends to see friends and family.

I quickly became accustomed to the role having worked for the company in the past, and carried on being employed there upon graduating so that I had a source of income whilst looking for another job.

To this day I am currently employed by them as my final shift draws ever closer. It will be hard to say goodbye to the close friends I had made that will forever be a part of me and I will never forget them (no matter how annoying some of them may or may not have been!)

However the time was right for me to accept my new position in order to further my career and pursue my dream. My current workmates will no doubt understand the sheer hard work I have put in particularly over the past few months, where I took on two voluntary jobs in order to build my portfolio of work to supplement my personal blog.

My new position will offer me the chance to take my writing career to the next level in an area I am passionate about, that being health and fitness.

I am truly excited and looking forward to furthering my career and embarking on a new journey that will without a doubt take my writing skills to the next level. My hard work has paid off and been recognised, and as soon as the opportunity arose, I knew I would be a fool not to embrace it.

As the old saying goes, onwards and upwards from here on out!


How to Prepare for a Job Interview

So you have applied for a job, if not several and have reached the next step in the recruitment process, having been offered an interview at the company you strive to work for. Congratulations! But remember you haven’t got the job yet, so effective preparation is key. The age old saying: ‘If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail’ certainly comes into play.

When it comes to preparing for interviews, this is a task that takes time and can be a tedious process. However, it is essential to prepare to give yourself the best shot of getting the role, and to make your personality shine through, as well as making you stand out from the crowd. The following post shares some essential tips to effectively prepare for any future interviews, what to do during the interview and once the interview is over.

Prior To the Interview

Ensure You Work Around Your Other Commitments

  • It might not be the best of ideas to tell your current boss that you need time off to attend an interview, so ensure you book time off in advance. Do not call in sick as this can sever ties or lead to disciplinary action with your current company if they were to find out. When contacting your potential new employer, arrange a mutually convenient time, but give yourself enough time to prepare.

Practice Common Interview Questions.

  • Make use of online sources such as YouTube or perform a Google search to find common interview questions and good answers for them. Ensure you have plenty of examples at hand so you won’t be left stumped when you are asked any questions, in particular, difficult ones that are made to try to catch you off guard.
  • Do not use the same example more than once as this can backfire and show that you have not prepared effectively.

Research the Company and the Role Itself.

  • Perform some research on the company you are applying for, know their locations, departments, who their competitors are, as well as trying to find out their future plans, and recent news regarding the company that may have appeared in local newspapers etc. This will really pay off and shows you are keen, pro-active and highly interested in working for that particular company. The interviewer will know if you have done this so really do your research!
  • Get to know the job description like the back of your hand, and have examples that demonstrates your ability to perform the daily tasks required of the role, as well as the essential skills that are needed.
  • If the salary has not been stated, you will be asked your requirements, so try to do some research on the typical salary range for that particular role in the company, if not a similar role in another company. Use websites such as Glassdooror Indeed in order to find out this information.

On the Day

Dress To Impress.

  • Ensure you make an extra effort, and show that you take care in your appearance, this will really pay off as it shows you will represent their company professionally by conforming to their dress code. Don’t overdo it though, this is not the time to wear your favourite tuxedo!

Be On Time.

  • Ensure you plan in advance how you are getting to the interview, arrive in plenty of time, if you are early you can always go for a coffee somewhere and go over your notes.
  • Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early to show you are a good timekeeper, and so the interview process runs smoothly and on time, they may have many other interviews to get through that day.

Show Enthusiasm.

  • Ensure positive body language, show your interest by maintaining eye contact and when answering questions, really let your personality shine through and make sure to smile!

Be Professional.

  • Don’t badmouth past or current employers, this will make you look bad. Also, back up any weaknesses you may have with a positive for example, you might come across as a shy character, but that is only because you like to assess the information you have been presented with and pay attention to detail.

Ask Questions.

  • An interview is not only the employer assessing your suitability for the role and getting to know you, but also you finding out everything you want to know and seeing if the role is ideal for you.
  • Prepare a list of questions so you don’t walk out of the interview having not found out something you wanted to know. By asking questions, you can find out any information you wanted to know that perhaps you weren’t aware of, and it is useful to be smart by asking questions relevant to the company. This will show further just how interested you are in working for them. Perhaps don’t ask about the benefits such as holiday entitlement just yet though, unless they tell you first.

After The Interview

Take Notes.

  • As soon as you walk out of the interview, quickly write down any questions that they asked before you forget, especially any difficult ones you might have struggled with. This can help you to prepare if you don’t get offered the job, and you will be able to utilise this information in any future interviews you may have and continually improve your interview technique. Also take note of any information you might want to remember such as holiday entitlement, working hours and salary.

Be Patient.

  • Some employers might get back to you straight away, others may take a while longer depending on how many interviews have taken place, and how many candidates they have to assess. Be patient and get on with your daily life and don’t be waiting around for an email or phone call, you will drive yourself crazy through anxiousness. Keep yourself busy to pass the time and take your mind off whether or not you have got the job. When you receive the call, if you have got the job, congratulations! your efforts have truly paid off and you can give yourself a pat on the back, embarking on the latest chapter of your life. If not, don’t get yourself down, as this will make you fall off track going forward in your job search. Keep applying for jobs, this one just wasn’t meant to be, you will find your ideal role eventually through perseverance and determination.


Working in Retail

Five Ways to Work Successfully in the Retail Industry

It doesn’t take a genius to recognise that one of the key aspects to running a successful business in the retail industry is to provide a high level of customer service, and to maintain this in order to ensure customer satisfaction and retention. This blog post shares five important aspects to ensure excellent customer service is provided, and that staff morale remains as high as possible.

1. Team work

Working effectively as part of a team allows for tasks to be completed in an efficient manner, as each of you can use each other’s strengths. Daily tasks such as facing up and general cleaning and tidying need to be performed to ensure the store remains in a presentable condition at all times. Working hard as part of a team boosts morale, and ensures everyone plays their part in completing all required tasks.

2. Going the extra mile

Going the extra mile means that you go one step further in providing a high level of service to customers. This is a sure fire way to ensure your customers remain happy with the service you have provided them with. They will appreciate the level of effort you have gone to by being polite, courteous and patient, whilst seeing to their every need efficiently, effectively and professionally.

3. Using initiative

Using initiative is something that will not usually go unnoticed by members of the management team. It shows you are willing to go above and beyond the tasks that are typically required in your role, and sometimes these acts will be rewarded and will often save time and money in the long run. Using initiative shows you are proactive, which is an important attribute for any staff member to have when working in retail. Those who use initiative are likely to be shown appreciation, and often complete tasks without being asked to do so by management.

4. Working under pressure

There will be times where things just don’t go to plan. It is not necessarily enjoyable but it can happen often in a retail based environment. It is important to anticipate such issues and when they arise, act upon them accordingly and as quickly as possible. On occasion, there will be customers who will become irate for a number of reasons, including being refused the sale of age restricted products, or perhaps being refused a refund due to lack of proof of purchase. In situations such as this, as easy as it can be to lose your temper, it is crucial to try not to escalate the situation and remain calm and collected. Try to diffuse the situation yourself and if this fails, then call your manager who will be able to assist you.

5. Positive, Can-do Attitude

Working in retail, it is important to remain positive when completing required tasks. Sometimes things can happen unexpectedly that can make you fall off track or feel unmotivated, such as when your store is short staffed. If the store is down on staff members it can be rather stressful for those who are working on that day, especially if the store is particularly busy. Daily tasks will be expected to have been completed but it is not always possible to do so. So in situations such as this, offering support to colleagues will go a long way, and your fellow team members and management will appreciate your efforts.