On hand to provide resume evaluation services to the graduating cohort at the Raffles College Career Fair last month, The Resume Builder took the opportunity to suss out some fresh graduate resume writing and interview tips from various lifestyle, apparel and retail brand representative, who were present to scout for talents.
Asked what makes an applicant stand out, Chen Xiaojun from Robinsons says, “We look at the way they talk, their expressions … to see if they have a passion for the fashion industry.”
Present to conduct interviews for roles in merchandising and marketing, Chen adds that prior internship or work experience is preferable, though not compulsory. “It shows that they really know what they want, and that they know what the industry requirements are.”
And how should such experience ideally be conveyed on a resume? Besides just a brief job description stating the obvious (for example: “Marketing Assistant”- Provided marketing support to sales & marketing team), Chen advised that job seekers provide:
- Specific details of their scope of responsibilities
- Skills they learned / applied in the role
- How it affected their decision to further pursue this industry.
According to another spokesperson from an established local brand, someone who is committed, passionate, willing to learn and explore beyond his or her designated role, is preferable to one with merely a high IQ but not willing exercise some versatility in taking on responsibilities.
While it is not easy to capture all these attributes on paper, a phone interview prior to in-person meetings will quickly help to filter out those who are not very enthusiastic or unresponsive.
Tip: be prepared with a simple pitch in case hiring managers call up for screening purposes. Keep a spreadsheet of the companies you have applied to and the corresponding job descriptions.
Those from the creative industries will benefit from incorporating thoughtful usage of color into their resumes, along with a well-taken profile picture. Big no-nos: pictures with inappropriate backgrounds or where the subject is not suitably dressed. “A single picture can tell a lot,” she says.
One common mistake candidates make is attaching their academic transcripts/ testimonials to their resumes, creating an unnecessarily cumbersome document suffering from information overload; at this point, a one-page document that is “eye-catching, with bullet points spelling out the key essentials,” will suffice.