Transferable Skills

Deb Headshot square GradientHi Deb:

I am a somewhat recent college graduate, having completed my degree in marketing three years ago. While I was going to school, I worked part-time at a local retailer. After I completed my degree, I was promoted to assistant store manager, and have been in that role for about 2 ½ years now. The district manager recently approached me about the opportunity to be the senior store manager at another location. I know that’s a good opportunity, but at the same time, it clarifies for me that I’m not interested in a career in retail. I would like to get off the floor of the store and into corporate marketing, but I’m unsure as to how to proceed, and I also don’t know what I should do about this possible promotion.



Dear Julia:

Thanks for your note, and congratulations on your impending promotion. The fact that you’ve been tapped for the promotion speaks volumes about what you’re able to accomplish and your leadership skills.

suit-2When you say you’re not interested in a career in retail, do you mean you aren’t interested in a career in store management, or that you want to get out of the retail sector altogether? Store management is a rough gig—there’s no doubt about that. But it is also a great way to learn about the business and to gain experience in the major facets of running a business. I can’t think of very many other jobs where you manage staffing, payroll, scheduling, cash flow, inventory, floor sets, customer service, margin, and goal. I’m sure I forgot some things, but my point is that store management is really a function of running a business from soup to nuts.

You’ve been managing all aspects of a profitable business for nearly three years. That is a significant accomplishment. You are clearly good at it, as is evidenced by the fact that you’re being vetted for a promotion. What you need to do is to sit down and think about the achievements you’ve had across multiple areas. For instance, do you consistently beat plan? Does your store come in best in the district? Do you have low turnover? How is your payroll to sales ratio?

Once you identify these accomplishments, craft your resume around them. Everyone knows what a store manager does on daily, so instead of focusing on the mundane tasks of the job, exploit the examples of where you’ve gone above and beyond. All of these accomplishments come together to create the story of you, and your story is one that is filled with highly valued, highly transferrable skills, which are prized by any industry. This is the story you want to tell on your resume, your online profile, and in your discussions with people.

All my best,


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