It is a proven fact that recruiters spend up to only 6 seconds per resume, quickly assessing whether a candidate’s resume is worth reading in more detail.  It then ends up in the YES, the NO, or the dreaded MAY BE pile.

Thinking about how documents open and present on a computer screen, that makes the top half of the first page of the resume, the most important piece of real estate on the whole document.

You can either make an IMPACT! Or have the recruiter yawning and opening the next candidate’s resume as fast as they can click their mouse.

The most common use of the top half of the first page (after the PERSONAL DETAILS) section, is a SUMMARY section, which usually and unfortunately goes something like this:

Highly motivated and experienced sales management professional, with an extensive background and proven track record across many leadership roles within large, iconic organisations. My ability to lead and inspire the people I work with is one my biggest assets, always bringing energy, positivity and determination to any situation. I am committed to delivering exceptional sales results always striving to provide a strong commercial outcome whilst always pursuing new and improved ways to achieve value-driven, innovative, customer-centric solutions.

Firstly, congratulations on making it to this sentence without falling asleep.

Secondly, having read the above summary, what do we now know about this candidate that makes them stand out from the other hundred resumes, and what do we now know about this candidate that helps determine their suitability to the role they applied to? NOTHING!

At a minimum, a retail resume needs to show the reader what scope of responsibility the candidate has held in past positions. It should also give an indication of the size of the roles, the core functions, the type of environments, and also the key products. The theory being, “if you’ve done it before for someone else, you’ll be able to do it again for me.” To expand further, the resume must include things like:

  • Scope of role (store, area, state, country)
  • Size of role (sales volume, number of stores, number of direct reports)
  • Function of role (operations, visual merchandising, loss prevention, franchise development)
  • Type of retail environment (large format, department store, discount department store, specialty)
  • Product (fashion, hardware, homewares, health and beauty)

Imagine the impact of powerfully presenting this information on the first half of the first page of the resume!  BOOM! You’ll have my attention!

With this in mind, consider the following SUMMARY statements:

Large format Store Manager with 15 years’ experience managing stores with sales volumes of $20M to $50M and with team sizes of 150 to 250. In 2018, won Store Manager of the Year for performance against KPIs including Sales, Wages, Safety and Team Member feedback.  Experienced in supermarkets, discount department stores, and sporting goods. 

Regional Manager with 10 years’ multi-site experience, most recently overseeing the operations of 12 A-grade fashion stores in Melbourne’s prominent shopping centres (including Chadstone, Bourke Street Mall, and Highpoint) with total sales volume of $35M and team size of 300.  Responsible for successfully opening the national flagship at The Emporium, Melbourne.

National Visual Merchandise Manager with 15 years’ experience at one of Australia’s major department stores.  Oversaw 70 stores across all states and territories, with a team of 5 Regional VM Managers and an in-store VM team of 150.  In 2019, was responsible for designing and rolling out the new women’s fashion department, which lead to a sales increase of 28% versus previous year.

When presented with powerful SUMMARY statements such as these, the reader immediately gets a great sense of what the candidate is about.

If suitable for the role, I will definitely spend more than 6 seconds reading the resume.