There’s a lot of pressure for students to find their dream job before they graduate, but the reality is you may not stay in your first role – or even with your first employer – for very long.
That’s what Ryerson University Retail Management graduate Daniel Vezer found when the company he had completed an internship with as a student offered him a full-time position upon graduation.
“We work hard as buyers – which includes travelling the world – to deliver our companies’ unique blend of fashion, quality and value.” —Daniel Vezer, Buyer, TJX Canada
“It allowed me to gain some invaluable experiences,” he says. However, “I quickly learned – within a month of graduating – what I valued, what motivated me and what I was really looking for in a company to start my career.” And where he was just wasn’t it.
Meanwhile, one of his friends had done an internship at TJX Canada, the leading global off-price apparel and home fashions retailer that operates Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls stores here in Canada.
“He wouldn’t stop raving about this place,” Daniel says, so he applied to TJX Canada for an Allocation Analyst job. “I figured that I was young and going through any interview process would be great for my development – successful or not.”
Interviewing with TJX Canada
“I’ll never forget the interview process for the Analyst position,” Daniel remembers, adding that he was asked to take personality tests and come in for multiple interviews. “I now understand why completing all of those prerequisites is so important for potential candidates – they really help to identify key character traits that coincide with the company’s values.”
“I really focused on just being myself and allowing my passion to come through during the interview process.”
The interviewers – whom Daniel describes as “very nice” – gave him the opportunity to demonstrate how his education and previous work experience would be an asset to the company.
“Looking back on it now, I think the biggest thing that stands out about the whole process is that the interviewers really allowed me to demonstrate my potential,” he says. “I really focused on just being myself and allowing my passion to come through during the interview process.”
They must have seen a lot of potential in him because TJX Canada hired him! He quickly progressed into a number of different roles, including Associate Planner and Associate Buyer, and has been working as a Buyer in the company’s Decorative Home department for about a year now.
How TJX Canada sets the “PASE” for new hires
All of TJX Canada’s new Allocation Analysts start their careers with the company by going through PASE, which stands for Planning and Allocation School of Excellence.
“The PASE program goes through all of the things you will encounter when first starting out and lets you hit the ground running.”
The program includes classroom training and on-the-job sessions where new analysts learn about the industry and attend classes on everything from implementing shipping strategies to allocating merchandise – all to prepare you to drive millions of dollars in business.
“It’s an awesome program that focuses on making your transition into the company as seamless as possible,” Daniel says. “The PASE program goes through all of the things you will encounter when first starting out and lets you hit the ground running.”
His career development didn’t end with PASE, though – Daniel says TJX Canada supports his goals in a number of ways, including by offering workshops that cover everything from sharpening your Microsoft Excel skills to learning how to lead others, and by fostering collaboration and mentorship between employees.
“People are always willing to help you out with working on your development – whether it is within Planning, HR, the Merchant division or even our sister companies,” he explains. “Someone is always willing to give advice and help you along the way.”
He’s also been allowed to grow through taking calculated risks and learning from his own mistakes. “They really do make you stronger, wiser and better-rounded as a merchant and as a person,” he says. “It’s like I always say at the office, ‘No one bats a thousand!'”
A day in the life of a Buyer at TJX Canada
Wildly fun, rewarding, exciting and challenging are just some of the words Daniel uses to describe his day-to-day experience as a Buyer. “We work hard as buyers – which includes travelling the world – to deliver our companies’ unique blend of fashion, quality and value,” he says.
Much of his time is spent outside of the office travelling to meet with vendors all over Canada, the U.S. or overseas to negotiate and buy the products that will end up in TJX Canada’s Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls stores. He also frequently visits those stores – and their competitors’ – to see his work in action and find ways to improve.
Each week, however, he’ll usually spend one or two days in the office reviewing his business and identifying new opportunities.
The best part of his job, he says, is having the opportunity to meet with and learn from the countless retail experts and merchants who work at TJX Canada: “Participating in strategy and vendor meetings and just absorbing, learning and experiencing how these retail experts identify and drive business or close big deals has truly been amazing for me both personally and professionally.”
A world of opportunity: learn more about student placements and graduate career opportunities in retail with TJX Canada/Winners Merchants International.
Visit TalentEgg’s Retail Career Guide for eggs-clusive student and entry level retail jobs, plus useful articles and videos that will help you hatch your career in the retail industry.