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Work Placement Buying Jobs

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          Helping you find a career in the buying industry

          Buying is an important business function in the retail sector. Any company that sells products needs someone to get those products before they can be sold. If you're interested in working in the buying industry, that's exactly what you're be doing: finding and purchasing products that can be sold by a particular brand. And this covers everything from clothes, to food, to electronics. It will be down to you to choose where those products come from, how many of them you need and how much the company pays for them.

          This means everything we can buy from a particular retailer is decided by buyers. You get to choose what fills our shops and so you get to decide the products we choose from. You'll need knowledge of customer psychology, buying habits and shifts in the market. You'll have to assess data trends concerning not only what kinds of things customers are currently buying, but also things that they might want to buy soon. If you spot a trend before anyone else, you could bolster your company's profits and increase its market share!

          You'll get to go to trade fairs and visit stores around the country. You'll be judging the quality of a product versus its affordability, trying to find the right balance to maximise profits. You'll get to choose which products are stocked and negotiate prices with suppliers. You'll also be spending a lot of time analysing data and thinking about what it might indicate for the future.

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          Skills & interests you'll need

          A buyer needs to have keen insight into consumer psychology, so make sure you develop skills that can demonstrate how well you understand people and their buying habits. You're also going to be interacting with a lot of different people, so diplomacy and interpersonal skills are crucial.

          Mathematical and logical skills will be important for working in buying. You'll need to know how businesses work, and how best to balance spending versus profits.

          How to get Buying internships, work experience or placements

          You don't need a specific degree to work in buying, although a degree can be useful in securing a graduate position. Many people move into the fashion buying industry after studying a fashion-related course, but degrees such as business, marketing, retail or advertising can also be beneficial.

          A qualification from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) will help you get your foot in the door. You'll have to start at a junior level, but with hard work and dedication, you'll be able to work your way up through the industry.

          Some companies offer management training programs which can be useful for gaining relevant experience for the industry.

          Many larger retail businesses will offer a range of different work placement schemes aimed at university students or sixth formers. These can range from a year-long, paid placement during your degree (a ‘sandwich year' or industrial placement), to a summer internship (usually 2-3 months), to a short 2-3 weeks of work shadowing.

          A ‘sandwich' year is usually taken between the penultimate and final years of your degree course, and many people who undertake placements during their degrees report that the experience they received was highly beneficial for their career search after graduating (many employers will also give hiring preference in their graduate schemes to people who have completed placements with them and made a good impression!) Industrial placements can also be a great way to earn a year's salary and ease students' financial worries ahead of their final years. Most work placements are recruited during the first term of your penultimate year.

          Many degree courses in business-related subjects will have a ‘sandwich year' as part of the degree's structure, so you might be able to find out details about placements in buying from your department. If you are particularly interested in buying, it might also be worthwhile speaking to your university's careers department to see whether they have links to particular businesses. Even if your degree does not have a ‘sandwich' year in its structure, many universities will allow you to take a year out for a placement, so if you are interested in undertaking a placement, speak to your department.

          Most summer internships and work experience programmes will be advertised on employers' websites, so you should identify a range of businesses which interest you and look for details of various programmes. Most employers will expect summer intern to be going into their final year of a degree, while work experience programmes are aimed at college students.

          Read more about the Buying industry

          Retail Choice
          British Retail Consortium (BRC)