Jessica McConnell

Diary of a Shopgirl

In Diary, Diary of a Shop Girl, fashion on September 21, 2009 at 10:14 pm

My quest for a new job literally caused me to have writer’s block. On top of that, I gained a cat…

My days as a shop girl, splitting my time between two different stores, one high end, one consignment, haven’t quite ended yet though. I write to you now, as an officially hired Saks Fifth Avenue girl…based out of shoes and handbags, of course. My search for a full-time position while I continue to finish my degree/decide what I want to be when I grow up has ended in a job that most people my age in the retail sector would kill for. Despite the daunting interview process and criminal background checks, I’m elated. SAKS FIFTH AVENUE!

There is, however, one drawback: Business Attire.

What does that mean? I did not sign on for an office job where cookie cutter black suits and standard computer job pumps were a part of my daily selling routine. So, I suppose I need a new wardrobe. I didn’t sign on for that either…at least not for one that I plan to change out of immediately after my last client leaves.

We’re not required to purchase clothing from Saks, leaving only business-like apparel to be the most appropriate option, I suppose.

Interview outfits, cover letters, resumes and job hunting have pretty much left me exhausted and at a loss for words. A full-time job (that I actually like) with benefits is difficult to come by these days and I was prepared to take what I could get it. I’m so lucky and thankful it was Saks…and to top it off, shoes and handbags. But it got me thinking, I had the resume and experience but with so many people to compete with, is all of the extra stuff necessary?

For each interview, I made absolutely certain that my resume was polished and presented in the most perfect way. My cover letters were thought out but creative, and my outfits were professional. I was in need of a job but in order to set myself apart, I realized I should save the skimping for later.

As I said before, I lucked out. And despite the business attire dress code, I am able to skimp now. A few, essential key pieces are necessary in order to start the job right but with a conservative dress code, I am able to mix and match those particular basics to create a classic look. While I noticed other employee’s frumpy trouser looks, I realized that I can manage the professional look with a few great jackets, white button downs, and an amazing pair of black pants.

I learned that a simple suit is always right and you can never go wrong. Don’t go for trendy, you’ll look over done and employers may only get one shot at finding the right employee. They want to know your creative AND professional. So go with the suit and kill them with an innovative cover letter and interview. It worked for me.

I work at Saks Fifth Avenue, frumpy is not a part of my vocabulary, in fact, I’m scratching it out of my Webster’s as we speak.

(A friend once told me you can never go wrong with a suit. He helped me get through my magazine internship interview, which I got, by the way. I was wearing a suit…he prepared me in every possible way, down to the presentation of my portfolio. I took all his advice and used it to get this job. So here’s to you, Christopher, even though you’re gone you’re still a part of my ‘every day.’)

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  1. Thats very good to know… thanks

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