Amy Hamdorff started her career in retail like many others when they’re teenagers: in a customer-facing role at a large fast food company.
But over the years, her career has progressed in a way you might not expect. Amy rose through the ranks quickly, becoming a Store Manager within five years.
She used that experience to become an Assistant Manager at Starbucks, an outside sales rep at another company, and ultimately came back to Starbucks to begin a career in human resources.
“Starbucks had always been a company I wanted to work for.
I knew it had a well-known retail management trainee program which would give me the development I was seeking with a brand I was excited about working for!”
—Amy Hamdorff, Recruiter, Starbucks Coffee Canada
Today, Amy is a Recruiter at Starbucks in Vancouver, where it’s her job to find new people to work in various roles across the country.
She says she thinks more people should consider a career in retail because the opportunities are endless.
“The industry is supposed to grow a substantial amount by 2012, which means there will be an abundance of opportunities available! The retail environment also offers flexibility in terms of working hours, growth potential for those who want to progress into management or corporate positions, variety as everyday is different – but most of all it’s really fun!”
Below, Amy shares her career path in retail so far and, as a recruiter, offers some advice for students and recent grads who are passionate about starting a similar journey.
Q. How did you start your career in retail?
A. I started my career in retail at the age of 15 at a large fast food company. I loved being in front of customers and the pace of the environment! I grew my career with the company over five years until I was a Store Manager taking in all of the learning opportunities that I could! The retail environment offered great flexibility and variety.
Q. How did that experience bring you to Starbucks?
A. Starbucks had always been a company I wanted to work for. I knew it had a well-known retail management trainee program which would give me the development I was seeking with a brand I was excited about working for! Because of my previous management experience in food service, I was able to start as an Assistant Manager at Starbucks and grow from there!
Q. How did you know that you wanted to move from the store into the corporate side of things?
A. I worked as a manager at Starbucks for four years while finishing my sales and marketing diploma at BCIT. When I graduated, I wanted to try something new and made the move to an outside sales position with another company.
I started to work on my marketing degree immediately after BCIT and human resources management was one of my required courses; it was there that I found my passion for HR.
I knew I wanted to make my way back to Starbucks, so I took control of my career and contacted as many people as I could. I put myself out there to learn about the positions that would be available for an entry level professional like myself.
It turns out they had a Human Resources Co-ordinator position open at the time, so I applied and was successful! It was a very quick process, but I have not looked back since!
Q. How did you translate your retail experience into a corporate role?
A. It was a very easy fit for me in regards to the corporate HR role at Starbucks. I had worked as a manager in the stores for four years prior so I was familiar with the company, the policies and how we treat our partners (employees).
Q. How did you balance so many things – school, sales internships, and being an Assistant Store Manager at Starbucks – at one time?
A. I love being busy, but really it’s all about your time management and your organizational skills. If you can manage your time then the rest is easy! I went to BCIT full-time for two years, which means I was doing eight courses at one time with five different groups while working and maintaining my relationships with friends and family. I kept a full agenda, wrote everything down and made sure that I put time aside for the most important things in life, like family.
Q. What do you do in your current role?
A. Currently, I am a Sourcing Specialist (Recruiter) at Starbucks Coffee, which is a very unique role. I am responsible for finding great people to work at Starbucks, so I am constantly networking, meeting new people and sharing information on what it’s like to work at Starbucks!
I meet people who are excited about our company and keep in touch with them for future roles, whether they are in our stores as managers or in our offices working in human resources, store development or loss prevention. You will find me networking and building our brand on LinkedIn, Twitter and many other social media sites to source out the best candidates for our roles!
Q. As someone who has made the transition in the retail industry from the store to the office and who now recruits and hires, what advice do you have for students and new grads who are interested in following a similar path?
A. Connect with those in the industry through LinkedIn. LinkedIn a social media site and is known to be the “Facebook for business.” Once on LinkedIn, connect with people in the industry. Reach out to them to request a 30-minute informational interview. This will allow you to see if the company is right for you! Go to as many informational interviews as you can as this will also enable you to see what’s out there. You never know, there may be a position or company you never knew of before and you could find your perfect role!
Click here to visit Starbucks Coffee Canada’s company profile on TalentEgg to view available career opportunities and learn more about The Starbucks Experience.