How I Got My First Retail Job in Australia

Hey guys,

It’s been a while since last time I wrote here. In case you’re wondering, my WHV ended on 31 January, so right now I am already back in Jakarta. And I am also back to the last company I worked at before leaving for working holiday in Australia.

A lot of people have been texting me through FB and IG message. I answered quite a few of them. Sorry for those whose messages I didn’t answer. So, now I’m here to answer all your FAQ about how I actually got my first retail job in AU πŸ™‚

  1. Kak/Sis, sebelumnya pernah kerja di retail?

Nope! Back in Indonesia and Taiwan, just like most of you guys, I have always worked in the office. Eh, tapi aku selalu kerja di sales function sih. Either B2B or B2C, aku jd selalu banyak kontak dgn customer and work to achieve sales target πŸ˜€ So, maybe that helps a bit?!

2. Sis gimana awalnya koq bisa kerja di Myer/David Jones?

Nah ini jawabannya agak panjang. Karena banyak yang tanya soal proses detailnya jadi saya jelasin step by step nya yah. So, saya apply ke agency yg menyalurkan SPG/SPB, atau kalau di AU nama kerennya itu adalah Brand Ambassador. Nama agency nya adalah Marc Edward Agency (MEA). Nah, si MEA ini ada di seantero negara bagian di AU, terutama di kota2 besarnya spt Sydney, Brisbane dan Melbourne. Untuk lebih jelasnya silakan google sendiri yah guys, soalnya si MEA ini punya website juga dan sering pasang iklan di Gumtree & Seek juga koq.

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Waktu itu MEA pasang iklan di Gumtree. Mereka lagi rekrut orang2 baru untuk jadi brand ambassador new launch fragrance. Tapi mereka juga tidak menutup opportunity utk orang2 yg punya pengalaman atau passion diluar perfumes, misalnya makeup dan skin care. Requirement nya cukup simple: have good communication skills, bubbly, confident, well-groomed, beauty enthusiast, ability to speak Chinese (Mandarin or even Cantonese) is an advantage.

Thus, I sent my resume along with a cover letter. Untuk contoh cover letter nya ga perlu saya tampilin di sini lah ya, silakan kreasikan sesuai dgn pengalaman kalian aja. Tapi yang jelas, saya nggak pake bohong dengan bilang saya punya pengalaman retail bla bla bla. Saya hanya bilang kalau saya sudah biasa kerja dengan target, punya passion di beauty terutama skin care dan perfumes. Saya juga bilang kalau saya bisa bahasa Mandarin dan Indonesia, selain Inggris. Soalnya saya dulu pernah tinggal di Taiwan selama 2 tahun (harus banget ini saya sebut supaya lebih meyakinkan :p ) . Untuk resume, saya buat hanya 1 halaman persis spt resume saya utk melamar kerja sbg waitress. Cuma saya tambahkan dengan pengalaman kerja kantoran juga supaya lebih keren aja sih.. Hehehe..

Within 2 weeks upon sending my application letter, I got an email inviting me for a first round interview.

MEA email 1

So, the golden ticket has arrived. Now is your time to show ’em what you got! Dress to impress! Follow the dress code and do your makeup nicely! Show up on time!

3. Terus kalau udah di-invite utk interview, apa donk yang harus disiapin? Apa aja sih yg ditanyakan di interview?

The interview is very short and simple. Ini cuma group interview aja koq. Jadi nanti kita hanya diminta memperkenalkan diri: nama, tempat tinggal, kuliah/kerja, status visa, pengalaman di bidang beauty/sales, apakah kamu punya sertifikat beauty therapist atau MUA? Apakah kamu punya pengalaman MUA? Apakah kamu tertarik dgn job jualan fragrance? What languages do you speak? What days can you work?

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Self-makeup class from Honey Beauty ❀

So, my best advice is to prepare what you want to talk about yourself! Kamu harus kelihatan PD utk speak up dan pastinya ramah! Waktu saya interview, seperti biasa saya banyak ketemu orang2 Mainlanders, selain Brazilians. Kalau yg Brazilians ato bule2 lain biasanya punya pengalaman MUA/beauty therapists, sedangkan yg Mainlanders biasanya bermodalkan bahasa Mandarin utk “jualan”. So, it would probably be a good idea if you have at least either: makeup artist or Mandarin speaking skill. Kalau kamu nggak bisa Mandarin, coba deh kursus makeup dulu sama MUA Indo yg ada di AU. Kalau saya dulu pernah kursus self-makeup di Honey BeautyΒ . Kenapa Honey Beauty? Soalnya sahabat saya yang satu ini udah terbukti dan berpengalaman jadi BA dan MUA nya Shu Uemura di David Jones Elizabeth Street πŸ™‚

4. Terus, habis interview kapan dikabarin lagi sis?

Di hari yang sama, hasil interview akan diemail oleh team MEA. Kadang kamu akan langsung di-invite untuk second interview. Tapi bisa juga kamu harus menunggu utk jadwal interview berikutnya.

MEA email 2

Actually, if you’re already invited to the second interview, you basically have passed! In the so-called second interview, sebenarnya mereka sudah memberikan induction on how everything works in the agency: mulai dari grooming guidelines, cara mengisi form ini-itu, sampai mekanisme penggajian (yayyy!!!).

5. Oh begitu.. Jadi kalau sudah keterima, kapan kita bisa mulai kerja sis?

Nah, yg ini beda2 sih, tergantung amal dan perbuatan juga :p Hehehe.. Gini, pertama kamu harus isi online form dulu yg isinya biodata, foto dan dokumen2 kamu. Kemudian kita akan tunggu panggilan job. YES! Panggilan job! Sama seperti agency lainnya, kita baru akan dapat job kalau ada brand yg butuh casual staff. Kadang kita dipanggil utk cover shift SPG full-timer di brand/toko tertentu. Kadang kita juga dipanggil utk promosi new product launch/event misalnya di depan Westfield Pitt Street.

Cepat atau lambatnya kita dapat job juga tergantung dari pengalaman kita di beauty. Contohnya: teman saya, MUA Honey Beauty, dapat shift pertamanya dari MEA hanya dalam waktu less than a week sejak dia interview. Sedangkan saya join MEA di Maret, tapi baru dapat shift pertama di Juni. Btw, shift pertama saya malah cuma bagi2 flyer di dalam Myer Sydney city selama one full day. Untungnya rate utk semua jenis pekerjaan dari MEA sama aja, jadi saya happy2 aja sih πŸ˜€

Jadi, walaupun kamu udah sign kontrak kerja dengan MEA, please jangan quit dulu dari kerjaan di resto/kafe yang sekarang. Karena kerja di retail itu walaupun santai dan rate nya bagus tapi bener2 musiman, guys. Kalo pas deket2 Christmas pastinya banyak shift, tapi kalau udah lewat tahun baru yah udah sepi lagi deh 😦

6. Jadi kalau kerja di MEA, 1 minggu bisa dapat shift berapa jam yah, Sis?

Ini juga beda2 sih ya, tergantung amal dan perbuatan juga πŸ˜€ Kalo aku sendiri dapatnya sekitar 15-30an jam per-week (5 hour/shift). Biasanya hari kerjanya sekitar Rabu sampai Sabtu. Sunday shift is very rare soalnya rate nya kan super mahal yah. However, my suggestion is to keep your Thursday and Saturday free, since most retail jobs will need you to work on those 2 days.

By the time I’m writing this post, some of you and my friends have been invited or even worked with MEA or even in retails. I am very happy to learn that since I wrote my retail experience in AU, there are more Indonesians coming out to try working in this industry as well πŸ™‚ Please write your comment or story if you are also working in retail in AU. I’d be excited to know if my stories have helped you landing an exciting job in this industry πŸ˜€

Happy weekend and cheers!

Ariesa

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Working in Retail as a Casual in Australia

Hey guys,

Merry Christmas and happy new year! 2017 has finally passed and I can’t be more than excited to welcome 2018! ^_^ By the time I’m writing this post, I still have a mixed feeling towards 2017. I feel like last year was such the toughest period of my life so far. I went through a lot of difficult, yet invaluable experiences throughout my working holiday journey in Australia. Even though it was difficult, I was blessed that I finally secured my so-called temporary career in retail. I absolutely love what I’m doing since I’m always surrounded by makeups, perfumes and now clothing plus handbags ❀

Kalau kalian pernah baca postingan saya sebelumnya, mungkin kalian ingat kalau saya mulai masuk ke dunia retail lewat agency yg provide brand ambassadors (atau biasa kita sebut SPG/SPB) ke David Jones, Myer, Sephora, Priceline bahkan Woolworths dan Coles di seluruh Australia. Kalau belum baca, coba dibaca dan di-like dulu donk postingan saya sebelumnya πŸ˜€ . Setelah saya join di agency ini selama 6 bulan, akhirnya di pertengahan Desember kemarin saya harus lepas dari agency ini 😦 Nama agency nya adalah Marc Edward Agency (MEA). Untuk info lebih lanjut silakan Google atau search di Seek/Indeed. Mereka sering recruit new hire utk brand ambassadors utk promote new product launch di dept stores di seluruh Australia (sesuai lokasi preference kita).

Setelah punya cukup pengalaman di David Jones (DJ) & Myer, bisa dibilang perjalan saya mencari pekerjaan berikutnya di retail termasuk lancar. Karena saya sudah memperhitungkan kalau saya harus lepas dari MEA di mid-December sedangkan visa saya baru akan selesai di akhir Januari, di bulan September saya mulai aktif mencari Christmas Casual job di retail, mulai dari beauty sampai ke fashion. Sampai pada akhirnya, saya cukup beruntung bisa dapat 2 Christmas Casual jobs di Hugo Boss dan Coach.

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Banyak orang mengira, kerja di retail gajinya super tinggi dsb. Sigh! 😦 So, in order to manage your expectations on working in retail, here I’d like to share with you that there are also some pros and cons or loves and hates of working in retail AS a CASUAL.

Loves ❀ :

  1. Pastinya hourly rate! Antara rate weekdays, sabtu dan minggu angkanya beda. Apalagi public holiday! Tapi jangan lupa dipotong pajak yah πŸ˜› (disclaimer: tidak menjawab pertanyaan berapa gaji di retail perjamnya kak? Tanya aja sama temen kamu atau om Google πŸ˜€ )
  2. Karena kita CUMA casual, biasanya sales target nggak akan terlalu strict dipush ke kita. Karena mereka jg mostly cuma expect kita utk tau product knowledge secara general aja, tapi yang penting adalah kita harus bisa serve customer dengan ramah dan professional.
  3. Staff discount! Biasanya retail memberlakukan discount khusus karyawan utk produk2 di tokonya. Policy staff discount bisa beda2 tergantung retail itu sendiri. Tapi gak usah berpikir utk menyalah gunakan staff discount kalian utk keuntungan pribadi yah, karena selain kemungkinan besar akan ketahuan, kalian jg bisa mencoreng nama bangsa dan negara Endonesah!
  4. Karena saya emang CINTAAAA sama kosmetik, parfum, baju dan aksesoris, pastinya kalau lagi sepi saya suka colekin warna2 makeup atau skin care di tangan saya, semprotin parfum yg wangi2 di baju, atau megang2 dan icip2in tas kulit di toko ❀
  5. Friendly coworkers. Sekitar 95% staff di DJ & Myer tempat saya kerja termasuk friendly & helpful, terutama di toko2 yg letaknya di pelosok2 Sydney. The only thing you need to remember is to politely introduce yourself on your first day, they will gladly help you as much as they can.
  6. You get to speak a few languages. Well, at least for me, that’s what I love about working in retail here. I get coworkers and of course customers from different backgrounds, so I get to speak in any language I can speak (mostly English and Mandarin Chinese).
  7. You learn how to actually communicate with customers: listen to what they want/need and like first before you recommend and persuade/convince customers to buy a product.
  8. Dan yang seperti yg mungkin sudah kalian duga, kerjanya ga sesibuk dan seberat hospitality πŸ˜€

But of course, there are some challenges that come along with those perks I mentioned above. Here’s some downsides or the things I dislike about it:

  1. If your job contract writes: CASUAL, that means they don’t guarantee how many hours you work in a week. For one shift, they only have to give you at least 3 hour work. Some weeks when it’s too quiet, they might not give you any shift, AT ALL! Karena alasan inilah makanya saya ambil 2 Christmas Casual positions di 2 brand yg berbeda. This can be a little tricky especially during busy period like Christmas, but with a good time management, you should be able to sort it out. Or you can also keep another part-time job in cafe, just in case!
  2. I don’t actually hate this part at all, but working as a brand ambassador from an agency means you get to work for multi brands. For some people who don’t have passion in beauty, this can be a bit challenging. Misalkan hari ini kita dapat shift di brand A kosmetik, besok kemungkinan kita dapat shift utk brand B fragrance. For the sake of professionalism, seringkali kita harus belajar tentang brand dan product knowledge secara otodidak dari internet. Karena nggak lucu aja kalau customernya nanya bedanya moisturiser sama serum terus kitanya gelagapan saking nggak paham fungsi produknya.
  3. Selain itu, kalau kita join dengan agency seperti MEA, kita harus siap dialokasikan utk kerja di seantero Sydney. Saya tinggal di Chatswood dan so far saya udah pernah traveling sampai ke Liverpool, Bankstown dan Miranda. It’s not something to hate, but sometimes it can be a bit tiring if you have to travel for more than an hour (for a single trip) just to work for 5 hour shift.
  4. Sebagai casual, biasanya kita dapat shift lebih pendek daripada permanent staff (mostly during 11AM to 4PM). Dan kita bakal jarang dapat shift hari Minggu, jadi jangan over excited dulu sama Sunday rate :p
  5. Β Of course, you don’t get free meals and coffee 😦

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I realise that my point of view in this job can be a little subjective, that’s just because I’m happy doing this kind of job. I’m pretty confident in my ability in selling and also I love beauty and fashion. I feel like I’ve learned a few things in higher end fashion brands and also some basic things about fabrics and of course market and retail conditions in Australia. I would also say that this is NOT the best job for people who want to focus their working holiday objective in earning and saving as much money as possible, since working in retail requires you to always maintain your appearance and you usually get to spend some every now and then.

I hope you guys find this post helpful and last but not least, wish you an amazing 2018! πŸ™‚

Cheers,

Ariesa