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How to be a junior buyer

This week Laura Bedworth, buying consultant at recruitment agency CVUK, tells you how to get your first step on the buying career ladder.

“To start a career in buying at entry level it is imperative you have a degree as well as a minimum of six months’ work experience within a buying environment. Ideally you should give consideration to where you choose for your work placement as this will give you an amazing step ahead for your career. All buyers must be trend aware, commercially minded and forward thinking, because this is pivotal to any business and to your career progression and successes.

For your personal development and growth the best experience and training is working within a buying team. In this environment you will have exposure to a greater number of areas, tasks and to experienced and inspiring people.

It will differ between brands and retailers as to what they seek in a new employee, however the fundamentals remain the same; amazing organisation, strong negotiating skills, trend forecasting and an understanding of the brand’s identity. As a buyer your role is crucial to the success of a product, range, and business. This brings a certain amount of pressure which can be used to your advantage and to energise you in achieving those successes. Travel to source product is a big perk and part of the role, and requires you to continue building relationships with your suppliers abroad.

Salaries for this type of position range from £35,000 to £40,000.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • The opening line of this interview is completely untrue and very misguiding to anyone wishing to pursue a career in Buying. I myself do not have a degree and have started a career, at entry level, in buying. Hard work and determination is the key to gaining an position within a buying office. Relevant retail experience and an understanding of the buying environment is critical but I completely disagree that a degree is a 'must'.

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  • Agree with Jonathan. There is far too much emphasis placed on gaining often irrelevant degrees. Retail experience is far more useful for those looking for a career in buying.

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  • I agree with previous comments, to suggest that you must have a degree is misleading rubbish and I would go to far to say I would prefer to employ someone without a degree.

    Being streetwise with retail and social experience, knowing your local market, a passion for clothing, straight forward hard work and common sense are the things that I look for.

    In my experience, it is only people with degrees that seek people with degrees. Maybe it gives them a false sense of purpose?

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