Monday, January 27, 2014

“I don’t like working for my boss.”

If you are interviewing for a new role because you are not happy working for your current boss there is a delicate balance about being honest without negatively impacting your candidacy for a new role.  A few samples to consider. 

If you have a mean/unfair boss. 

This one is tough and I hear it A LOT!  It is most professional to keep your statements focused on what you are looking for vs. the risk of sounding like you are badmouthing someone else.   If you feel your boss is mean, address the opposite situation you are seeking.   If your boss speaks cruelly and disrespectfully you can state.  “I am looking for a culture where communication is respectful, questions are welcome and I will have the opportunity to be mentored and mentor others in a positive way.”

Your boss does not give clear direction and is indecisive causing extra work.

“I am seeking an environment where goals are clearly set and progress is supported with timely decisions.”

Your boss demands more time from you than you would like to work.

“I am looking for more work life balance.”  You should give an indication of what hours you are willing to work.  If the company you are interviewing with is going to require more hours than you are going to be happy with… is better to know up front it isn’t a fit than after you get started.  Our industry is also famous for crunch times with long hours.  So make sure you a clear.  I don’t mind working extra before big deadlines but I do not want to be working 11 hour days seven days a week indefinitely. 

Your boss micromanages your work.

“I am looking for an environment where I can fully utilize my skills and expertise to contribute to the growth of a brand.  I enjoy working where there is autonomy and accountability.”

If your interviewer senses there is conflict it is likely they will dig in and try to get specifics and more sensitive information. “Do you feel your current boss is a micromanager?”  It is best to keep redirecting the conversation with a positive statement about your current role and what is optimal for you to make the greatest contribution moving forward.  “I have learned a great deal in my current role and am ready take on new challenges in an environment that encourages independent decision making and accountability.”  Continue to steer the conversation toward your abilities by providing specific examples of your successes.

Sometimes people truly get stuck in a bad situation.  However, if you find yourself leaving more than one job because you don’t “like” working for your boss it is important to make sure you have realistic expectations and that you have tried approaching the relationship directly to make improvements.  Too much job movement, for the wrong reasons will have a negative impact on your career growth. 

Have you had a “mean/unfair” boss?  Have you been in an interview where you have been asked what you don’t like about your current role?  Have you left a job because you no longer wanted to work with a specific person?  Career coaches like Kate can help you evaluate these situations and identify options.  At Apparel Resource we will help you fine tune how to articulate these challenges if you have decided to make a job change.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breaking into the fashion industry

OK, so now that you know what you are asking for, how can you break into the fashion industry? First, what do you want to do in the fashion industry? There are many options so consider where you want to be: planning, merchandising, buying, FP&A, real estate, design, production, sourcing, product development, human resources, etc. There are many more functions to consider. After you decide the function, what’s your story? How come you are looking to break into the fashion industry? What drove you to this place?

Once you have that nailed down, what relevant skills do you have? If you are a human resources director for a pharmaceutical company, it is easier to get a job in fashion as a director of human resources rather than a fashion designer. Consider how those industries may align. Marketing is a critical function at both. How could you write your resume to focus on these areas that overlap? What kind of value could you add to the fashion industry?

If you are considering both an industry and function switch, prepare yourself for a pay cut. Even if you go back to school to facilitate the change and earn an MBA or a fashion merchandising degree, you will still have to start at the bottom despite experience from a different industry. It just doesn’t count. The experience may help you advance quicker once you move into a new role as you will most likely outperform an employee with no work experience, but you will need to be patient.

So you know what you want to do, you have your resume ready to go, your expectations for pay and title are in line with reality, now what? Start networking. Who do you know who works in fashion (even a 2nd connection on LinkedIn)? What networking groups could you join to give you exposure? Sending your resume in through an online submission tool is challenging enough when you have all the right experience in the right industries. Face time with a potential employee will get you a lot further.

If you are interested in fashion, what can you do today to begin the transition? What is one thing you can do every day to bring you closer to your goal? How will you start networking? Who can help support you in reaching your goal?

To learn more about career coach Kate Kibler, go to

Monday, January 6, 2014

A boss who limits your career

While the ideal would be a boss who is open and excited to have you move up in the corporation, there are those bosses out there who become offended or annoyed that you may want to make a move. How can you open the door to the conversation without putting your current job in jeopardy? Obviously, you need to understand your boss’ mindset. If you have a boss who is limiting your career it may seem risky to start that conversation with him/her, but the reality is you could be doing significant damage to your career by stagnating in a role. Sometimes people find it easier to look outside of their current company for a new position rather than pushing to advance their career from within. Before doing something drastic, think about it. How could you in a new role add value to your boss or your boss’ career?

What would be a good strategy for dealing with a boss who doesn’t get it? How could you in a new role add value to your boss or your boss’ career? Once you make that determination, there will be many more opportunities at your feet.

To learn more about career coaching, go to