5 Things to Include in a Resume for a Category Manager
A good employee is the backbone of any organization. Especially in the labor-intensive fashion industry, the organization’s human resource is its biggest asset.
The textile industry worldwide provides jobs to millions of workers in each category, every year. Statistics suggest that the Indian textile industry currently employs over 4.5 crore workers. This number will only increase with the global increase in the demand for Indian textiles.
Right from textile manufacturing to retail sectors, many job roles require people from different educational and technical backgrounds. However, specific managerial positions in the fashion retail industry have always been in great demand among job seekers due to high salaries and various perks.
Retail stores of fashion brands have many job roles that are important for the smooth functioning of the store. One such significant role is that of a Category Manager.
Who is a category manager?
In a fashion retail business, a category manager is the one who takes care of the brand’s various categories of products. He conducts market research to analyze which categories of products are fast-moving, more profitable, and simply creating losses for the firm. He is also responsible for pricing and promotion of products and changing the sales strategy based on changing consumer preferences. A category manager should also be able to source these products from various supply chains at the lowest cost.
A category manager is also responsible for analyzing consumers’ buying patterns and ordering inventory accordingly, thereby using the organization’s capital resources in the most efficient way.
Moreover, the essential functions of a category manager will be product range management of the brand and increasing the sales and profitability of the business to ensure sustainable growth.
Why is a Category Manager important in the retail sector?
The primary role of a category manager is to assess the sales and growth of an organization. Sales and growth are the two parameters that are crucial for a brand’s success. Hence, a category manager will ensure the success and profitability of the brand.
A category manager also acts as a middle man between the organization and different suppliers. He must maintain cordial relationships with various suppliers and strike deals that turn out profitable to the brand in the long run.
A category manager will help the organization become efficient in its products. By assessing which brand of products are preferred by consumers, he can help avoid losses in terms of dead stock and divert the capital to stock up on products currently trending by customers.
What are the roles and responsibilities of a Category Manager?
Nowadays, every major retail brand has an in-house category manager that is responsible for a set of tasks. A category manager may have a team of assistant buyers that help him with the day-to-day tasks. Though a few responsibilities may differ for different brands, the general duties of a typical category manager include:
- Manage and analyze different categories of products within the organization and create detailed reports on the same.
- Lead and manage multiple categories of buying for the brand
- Forecast sales and profits, manage merchandise budget and use information resources to produce the right product mix.
- Submit requests for proposals (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI) during vendor negotiations.
- Take charge during vendor negotiations and help the firm strike the best deals.
- Work with the pricing department to set the right price based on current market conditions.
- Help develop and change sales strategies from time to time based on the changing market trends.
- Coordinate with business analysts to create category metric reports and identify key performance indicators.
- Lead a team of employees and direct them to achieve sales growth.
- Control inventory and manage markdowns most efficiently to minimize losses for the brand.
- Chart out long-term strategies for different products and create an exit plan for products no longer viable to the brand.
- Forecast products demand and ensure inventory of the same.
- Collaborate with buyers and wholesalers to understand current market trends and expand product categories.
What are the qualifications required for the role of a Category Manager?
A category manager is an integral part of a retail store. He is responsible for planning and maintaining inventory, pricing products, keeping good connections with vendors, and helping lead the team to achieve the organization’s goals. His work directly affects the smooth running of the retail store. For such an important job role, employers look for the below-mentioned qualifications.
- A Bachelor’s/ Master’s degree in Accounts, Finance, Marketing, Economics, Administration, Business for any recognized university is an essential requirement to apply for the category manager role in any retail organization.
- Employers also look for experience of 4-5 years in the same or similar job role in the past. The experience required is subject to discretion by the employer and may change for the right candidate.
Employers require a few additional skills for the role of the Category manager. Some of them are-
- In-Depth knowledge of category management and budgeting
- Should be able to use category management software tools
- Should be able to draw and budget, and allocate funds for different categories of products
- Should be well versed in analytical data and forecasting methods
- Excellent communication and negotiation skills
- Should be able to be a team player and lead the team to achieve targets
- Good understanding of the fashion retail business
- A brief understanding of fashion apparel and its different categories
- Should be able to carry out strategic planning in all areas of the job
- Build and maintain a network of suppliers and other supply channels
- Should be customer-centric and empathetic
- Should be able to provide business insights and focus on improving performances
- Should be computer savvy and well versed in Microsoft Office suite.
5 things to include in the Category Manager Resume
A resume is an important document for candidates to secure a good job offer. An impactful resume will not only increase one’s chances of getting hired, but it may also result in better terms of the contract and salary negotiation as well.
Typically, a resume contains basic information about the candidate, such as name and address, educational qualifications, achievements, and skills. However, including specialized skills tailored to the job role applying for can help grab the hiring manager’s attention quite quickly.
Here are the top 5 things to include in the Category Manager resume-
- Good budgeting and financial analytical skills
- Working knowledge of various category management software
- Ability to devise new strategies and programs to achieve the sales target of the organization.
- Develop marketing plans and improve store layout for better engagement and sales
- Excellent leadership and management skills.
Commonly asked questions during an interview for a Category Manager
An interview is always nerve-wracking for a candidate. That is why it is essential to prepare well. A person should come across as confident and intelligent to get the right message across to the employer.
Here are a few commonly asked questions during an interview for a Category Manager-
- What is your working knowledge of the retail industry and the various categories of products it represents?
This is quite a common question in Category manager interviews. Candidates should conduct sufficient research about the brand and its various categories before appearing for the interview. Including answers that include multiple categories of the products along with other details such as different pricing levels, leading competitors, future trends, seasonality, and latest innovation will help create a powerful impact on the interviewers.
- What are your strategies when negotiating with various vendors?
The best strategy during any negotiations should be to get the best possible price, which is precisely what the interviewer wants to hear. Candidates can further elaborate by saying that it is equally important to build a long and cordial relationship with vendors to receive the maximum benefit out of it.
- How will you discover consumer trends in the given category?
This is the most important job role of a category manager, and hence this question should be handled tactfully. Relying on historical data is a way to find trends. Candidates may also mention the reports prepared by the previous category manager, as those may prove to be quite helpful. Other methods such as talking to customers directly or taking polls and opinions can help chart customer trends. Spying on the competitors and studying their strategies and pricing can also help discover trends in the market.
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