Explore Your Options

Retail and Apparel

The retail and apparel field is part of a supply chain process that starts with the creation of goods (apparel) and is then sold in large quantities to a retailer that sells smaller quantities to the consumer. The retail industry offers opportunities in merchandising, store management, central management, and buying. Apparel or fashion designers create original clothing, accessories, and footwear while working in wholesale or manufacturing establishments, theater or dance companies, and design firms in large cities.

Learn About the Field

Career exploration is all about research. Use the following information to learn if a career in retail and apparel is for you.

Latest News in the Field

Keep informed about what’s happening in this field by reading what the professionals read. Visit the following sites regularly!

Career Cast Retail Network
Chain Store Age
Retailing Today

Meet People

Now that you've done a little research about the retail and apparel field, it's time to start meeting with industry professionals. It's an easy way to learn more about what your future career path might look like. It's also a great way to network with people who may know about internship or full-time job opportunities.

Networking Resources

IUB Alumni LinkedIn – You can connect with over 186,000 IUB alumni from various programs after you create a LinkedIn profile. Search for alumni based on location, company, industry, and what they studied. To learn more about how to set-up your profile and use this tool, visit these resources.

IU Alumni Directory—Request an account and use it to search for IU Alumni who have graduated from our retail and apparel programs. You can see where they’re working now and email them directly from the site. Contact a dozen people to start with and see where you end up. You may need to contact more in order to get some helpful responses.

Informational Interviewing Guide—Once you know who you’re interested in talking with, use this guide to request and conduct an informational interview.

Social Media Networking

Use social media to network with professionals and their organizations. LinkedIn, a professional networking site, is a great way to connect. Here are a few organizations that have a strong social presence.

Join a Professional Association

National professional associations are valuable sources for a variety of career information. You can learn about certification requirements, job leads, internships, educational opportunities, and more. Many associations offer discounted membership rates for students.

Get Experience
Build Your Skills

Having career-relevant work experience on your resume will give you a big head start when it comes time to landing your post-grad dream job. Now that you’ve researched your career options, take advantage of the opportunities below to build the skills you need to be competitive. Remember: employers also like to see plenty of leadership exerience listed.

Join Student Organizations

There are more than 700 student organizations at IU—which means there are more than 700 ways you can get some really impressive job experience. Below are some groups specific to retail and apparel. Check out BeINvolved to learn about even more student organizations through IU Student Life and Learning.

Get a Part Time Job

Use myJobs to learn about part- and full-time job opportunities. Here are career-relevant jobs that students have participated in.

*Jobs with asterisks are within walking distance from campus.

Volunteer Opportunities

Put your talents to good use and build experience along the way! Off-campus volunteer opportunities exist around every corner. Below are some volunteer opportunities within about an hour’s drive of Bloomington.

Find a job or internship

You've done your research, created a network, and beefed up your resume. Now it's time to hit the job market. The list below shows some organizations that often recruit IU graduates from retail and apparel majors. This list also shows some organizations where recent retail and apparel graduates have gone to work. Remember that an education in these majors can prepare you for a number of careers.

Job Search Sites

These sites post jobs that relate directly to retail and apparel. Remember to use these sites in addition to your network of people to maximize your chance of finding good opportunities. Many of the professional associations listed in the Meet People tab will post industry-specific jobs. Look for a page titled "careers," "jobs," "employment," or "opportunities."

Keywords for Job Searches

As you use the web to search for more opportunities, get creative with the search terms you use. Try the list below to maximize your results.

  • Apparel
  • Retail
  • Sales
  • Management
  • Customer Service
  • Marketing
  • Brands
  • Buying
  • Allocation
  • Merchandising/Merchant
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Clothing
Organization & Company Research Resources

When you’re preparing for a job interview, it pays to do your research. Use the resources here to learn about an organization’s history, business, and culture. Once you have a good understanding of what the company’s about, formulate a list of questions to ask during your interview. This will show your interviewer that you’re genuinely interested in the job and give you a deeper understanding of what to expect if you’re hired.

Common Interview Questions

Interviews can vary from one industry to another. Remember, interviewers are trying to assess your experience and your fit for a specific position, so depending on the position, your questions will vary greatly. This is a small sample of questions designed to help you understand the kind of field-specific questions you might be asked.

  • What would you do if you found someone shoplifting?
  • What does customer service mean to you?
  • What is your experience working with merchandise displays?
  • How do you keep up-to-date on the current fashion trends?
  • What motivates you to achieve results and meet sales goal?
  • What are you wearing from our store/line?
  • What does our brand mean to you?
  • What is the most creative project you’ve worked on?
  • What would you do if a customer was dissatisfied with a product you sold them?
Insider Tips
  • “Retail is all about the detail.” Provide resume proof that you are detail-oriented.
  • Being a retail sales associate is good experience, but you should strive for more leadership opportunities while in school.
  • Many of your classes have projects and assignments that are industry-relevant. Don’t hesitate to include those on your resume.