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meet Mara

Career Q&A

Hey friends! I'm really, really excited and anxious about today's post. I get questions about my job, career advice, and what it is that I do on a daily basis. A lot of the times, it's other women around my age just trying to figure out what it is they want to do and looking for any advice in navigating the corporate world. Over on my Instagram, I opened up a questions forum so that you all could ask me anything you wanted to know. Now, I'm answering them! I truly hope that some of these questions help you and also show you that I don't have it all together. Plus I know some of you are just curious about my job in general. I hope you enjoy!

What exactly do you do?

I'm an Executive Team Leader for Target. This is Target talk for assistant manager. I lead a team of about 100-150 people in multiple departments throughout my store. My job has A LOT of responsibilities and if I were to list out everything I do on a weekly basis, we would be here for a lonnnnngggggg time, haha! Target is a great company and I'm proud to work for them. I highly recommend looking into a career with us if you are looking for something new.

What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened at Target?

Well, if you've worked in retail before, then you know I have some really good stories. It always amazes me! I've worked in more than one store, and during my time at another store, someone brought in a pet monkey. It actually got out in the store and we had to help the owner get it back to it's stroller. Can't make this up y'all!

In a management position, do you come across people who don't respect you or take you seriously?

Absolutely! I want to be straightforward and say that any time you are a leader, you aren't going to have everyone agree with you. And to be even more honest, not everyone is going to like you. There have been many, many times that people haven't shown me "respect." Now, I don't want y'all to picture me standing in front of a crowd of workers and screaming commands. Totally not my leadership style. However, there are times when you will ask people to do things and they basically refuse. The biggest hurdle in my post-grad career has been trying to get people to take me seriously. Being a young woman in a leadership role is not easy. AT ALL. You have to earn every ounce of trust and respect from the people that work for you. This is such a complicated answer that I could deep dive into, but I almost feel like it needs it's own blog post.

What's the most challenging part of your job? Most rewarding?

The most challenging part of my day to day is handling the unexpected. And there's a whole LOT of unexpected every day. With a team that large, a business of that size, and new people in and out every day...there are things changing constantly. I've had to learn (and still continue to learn every day) to think quickly on my feet and make smart decisions. The most rewarding part of my job is absolutely the wonderful people I work with. My team right now is seriously THE BEST. So many of them read my blog (hi guys!) and are so so so good to me. Wouldn't trade them for the world!

What tips do you have for interviews?

First thing: ALWAYS be professional! You would be amazed how many people don't taken interviews seriously. I don't care if you are interviewing for cashier or CEO, professionalism is everything. My best advice for interviews is to practice! Write out some potential questions (Glassdoor and Google are your friends) and come up with some great answers before hand. It's always a good idea to start thinking of some moments in your education or professional career that can be examples for questions you're asked. You can normally use one example for multiple questions (but don't use that same example twice!) and tweak it depending on what you're asked. Be precise. Don't ramble. Engage. I love when people I'm interviewing truly engage in conversation. Last but not least, prepare questions to ask. I want you to really put thought into these questions and ask about factors that will genuinely play a role in your job - company culture, growth opportunities, etc.

Best resume tips?

Keep it simple and straightforward. Most people just glance at a resume and they're looking for key words that stick out. Review job postings and tweak your resume to highlight what they're looking for. You'll be surprised at what you're qualified for! (Please don't lie when you apply for jobs, I'm just suggesting that you change phrasing and key words.) I purchased a resume template from Etsy that comes with a matching Cover Letter, reference page, and portfolio template. This keeps my entire professional documentation clean and on brand. You can purchase my template HERE.

Do you want to stay in retail forever?

Good question! I think clothing and home decor will always play a part in my professional life. My dream is to work in Corporate Visual Merchandising. I try not to hold myself to one path, but am open to whatever my career brings me!

What's your best piece of advice for someone wanting a career in retail?

It's all about EXPERIENCE! If you want to work in retail in any capacity, you have to have experience. There are countless opportunities, and retail can be extremely lucrative. The number one sign of someone I would NOT hire: job jumping. Find a company you love working for and stick with it. Set learning opportunities, promote, and ask for projects. I've been working in retail since 2010 - almost 10 years! My very first job (I was a bridal stylist) I kept for 3 years and I absolutely loved it.

What advice do you have for recent graduates?

Don't be discouraged! You're qualified for more than you think. Don't be afraid to reach out to recruiters. Take advantage of career fairs. Take leaps of faith. Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for advice or guidance from someone you look up to!




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