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Bicester Village Pt. 3: Temp Work For Transferrable Skills
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Here is a common scenario experienced at Directory. Students meet the team at career fairs, talks given by Younus at various colleges and universities and emails that come in via the website. The candidate needs temp work, is in school, but isn’t necessarily keen on working retail, but also doesn’t want to work late night shifts in a bar or restaurant as it impedes studying.
Directory is reframing retail ‘temp work’ as ‘flexible work’ when it comes to the demographic who is still actively studying. The student temp worker, who is ideal for clients, is an individual who has a set course load, manages their week with great efficiency, keeps 2-3 days a week to earn their extra money and can commit to those days regularly, week by week. The number one reason clients look for consistency with their temp staff is because of the training involved at the luxury brands. The Directory team brief in-house and candidates who pass through rigorous brand screening, receive in-depth product knowledge and protocol training. This comes at a cost to the clients, so a revolving door of faces isn’t ideal. It’s also a sector built on what is known as clienteling, long-term relationship building with key customers built on their behaviours and purchases preferences. A ‘regular’ temp is the ideal temp worker.
When it comes to Bicester Village, many of the surrounding universities have a heavier focus on academia, business, literature and political studies. Whereas in London under the UAL umbrella, there are a lot of courses designed specifically for those pursuing a career in fashion. Where a part-time, temporary, flexible retail job seems more obvious.
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
Regardless of your ultimate career path, if you’re a student looking to make extra money while studying, temp work in retail sales is a perfect place to get some work experience and walk away with your degree and valuable transferable skills.
No matter what sector a student wants to pursue as their career, we all need to learn the art of selling. In an age of social media and texting, not a lot of attention is given to interpersonal skills that require face to face contact and direct communication. Talking has become an art form. Students from surrounding areas who have placed at Bicester Village share some of their top skills from working with luxury retailers.
- Selling - the biggest win as mentioned above is candidates learn how to sell. This is an invaluable skill to learn as everyone needs to know how to sell themselves during interviews. Learning how to approach and frame products and brand stories succinctly to browsing clients without being pushy is a soft skill that will last a lifetime. Candidates have also spoken of how growing up in a screen culture, this has helped them overcome social anxiety.
- Business Awareness - retail is a business at the beginning and end of each day. Team meetings in the morning and reading end of day reports run off POS systems are an essential reminder to students who are working that money has got to be made, otherwise the shop doors are not guaranteed to stay open. A lot of students have dreams of starting their own business one day. How each shift is approached is up to the individual. There are some who make small talk or chit-chat while others forensically tidy up the store during quieter times noticing everything from the quality of hangers, the type of shelving systems used, the number of staff, to the speakers pumping out the on brand music at any given time. Those pursuing business degrees do well when they figure out how to ‘connect the dots’ and all of a sudden, going to your temp job feels like someone is paying you to figure out your own business.
- Communication - customer service focussed jobs mean retail staff are encountering a wide variety of customers as well as negotiating multiple formats of internal communication. Learning appropriate behaviours when it comes to returning a call to HQ with a specific request via old-fashioned telephone, or responding to an email and seeing that luxury brands often have fixed salutations and fonts that must be used (this is part of branding as it establishes voice and tone), or having to communicate a message from a manager to someone in the stock room - the day is filled with communication. Learning multi-level communication tactics is the single most important factor for any individual regardless of what career path they end up in.
- Attention to detail - this is the cornerstone of luxury. Being detail oriented is something all future employers look for in candidates. The level of detail that goes into creating luxury fashion and the level of detail luxury retailers want their retail staff to convey the craft to potential customers will blow away the most cynical fast fashion consumer. Knowing how something is made and how the manufacturing of the piece ties directly into pricing, is another must-have skill for anyone pursuing a career in any other sector. Even for those wanting to pursue careers as consultants or freelancers, this is a great way to learn how much to price your services at. Breaking down skill sets means being able to command a higher income. Learn it for free while working in luxury.
- Motivation - as students who choose temp work those who treat their studies and their flexible jobs with an attitude that is both motivated and well managed, are the ones who succeed. It’s no secret that retail goes through super busy periods then is met with such quiet spells one could hear a pin drop, especially in a luxury retailer. Knowing how to self-motivate is a signal towards leadership. Energy is infectious and those who have it stand out and spread it around. Motivated individuals tend to be less bored and open to opportunity. This is more of a mindset hack that particular personalities lean towards more naturally. However, anyone can learn it!
The Directory team is heading to Buckingham University this week for their career day. If you’re a student or faculty member and want to learn more how to work with the Directory team while studying or how to best advise your students in career options while they study, get in touch with the team today. Email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line ‘Temp Jobs While Studying’.