Visual merchandising is a creative career that puts an individual at the forefront of the retail world.
A store display is often the first thing a person sees and can influence whether they feel enticed to step into the store or not. A visual merchandiser’s role is to complete compelling and eye-catching displays to attract customers.
Visual merchandisers need to have an understanding of current events, social demographics, and the interests of their core customers.
Visual merchandising is a fast-paced, ever changing and dynamic career.
Resume objective for visual merchandiser
After reading over fifteen resumes, it is evident that a visual merchandiser objective should contain details on your ability to create stunning and interesting displays.
The Balance Small Business summarizes the main skills that a visual merchandiser should be able to accomplish. The focus of a display should revolve around a focal point using color and space to tell a story.
A strong visual merchandiser will keep their eye on the competition and be in touch with what customers want.
Your ultimate goal as a visual merchandiser is to boost company sales.
Visual merchandiser who is successful at representing customer needs and preferences in the ever-changing market. Ability to create effective and dynamic displays that boost company sales and draw customers into the store. Strong management and teamwork skills and possesses an excellent eye for detail.
Resume skills for visual merchandiser
Beyond the surface of the eye-catching displays comes the nitty gritty part of being a visual merchandiser. Visual merchandisers need to know what to sell and when to sell it.
A visual merchandiser needs working knowledge of when prices should be reduced, how much of a product needs to move to make room for new merchandise, and how to best organize merchandise throughout the store to push sales.
In addition to numbers and trends, visual merchandisers also need some technical skills. Knowledge of how to set up lights, stands, mannequins and other features of displays are needed as well.
As we read through several resources and resumes it was mentioned by Better Team and other sources that strong graphic skills are a plus in this career.
Knowledge of programs like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and other graphic design tools should be included in your skills section.
Campaign planning | Set design | Stock management | On-top of up to date trends | Visual marketing and window displays | Skilled in Photoshop, InDesign & InkScape | Team management skills
Visual merchandiser work experience
Much of a visual merchandiser’s knowledge will come from on the job experience. Many start as sales reps, stockroom employees, cashiers etc. and work their way up the retail chain.
I have a friend who I worked with in college at Old Navy in middle of nowhere Pennsylvania and now he is a top visual merchandiser for the flagship GAP in NYC. It does happen.
Your work experience is an excellent place to highlight the expanded knowledge you have and to detail where it came from.
This is particularly true if you have worked at some major retail stores, for example the largest Target on the east coast, or the original Starbucks in Seattle.
Many of the sources we reviewed recommend listing the store size in your work experience. For example, “Visual merchandiser for a 63,000 sqf store”.
On the flip side, if you worked as a VM at a famous boutique, the size of the store is not as important as the name recognition.
Working at Gucci on Michigan ave in Chicago is definitely going to pack some star powered punch and can be just as impressive as working at large Target in the suburbs of Illinois.
Sample Work Experience
Visual Merchandiser Baby & Children’s clothing, 2016-current
Oversee the design, planning and implementation of displays for the 20,000 sq ft baby and children’s department. Contributed to an increase in sales on average 12.25% in three out of the last four quarters by maximizing the sales floors with new product displays and applying markdowns and promotions.
- Awarded best regional display July 2019 & September 2018
- Awarded best district display July 2019, May 2019, December 2018, September 2018 & February 2018.
- Presented store update suggestions to management and stakeholders
- Worked with managers and advertising directors to optimize promotions
- Proficient in Adode Creative Suite, InDesign, Illustrations and digital designs
Target, Glen Burnie
Visual Merchandiser Baby & Children’s Clothing, 2012-2016
Design and implement seasonal and relevant displays for Baby and children’s clothing. Oversee floor designs, projects and 5 million in annual sales. Lead merchandise selection, pricing, planning and marketing.
- Award best visual display in the district December 2016, March 2017 and october 2018.
- Organized store racks by size, color and style
- Worked with store and regional manager to ensure top quality designs
- Anticipated customers buying patterns to create an inventory and purchase plan
- Proficient in PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator
Target, Glen Burnie
Visual Merchandiser Footwear, 2009-2012
Developed footwear displays that followed current trends and buying patterns. Contributed to an increase of sales over 10% during each back to school season by maximizing sales and research techniques. Strong attention to detail and the ability to delegate and lead a team.
- Maintained and oversaw inventory
- Excellent time management and organization skills
- Mentored staff on visual merchandising standards and responsibilities
- Followed visual directives via photographs, and visual campaign books
Virtual merchandiser education
Many visual merchandising jobs can be obtained wirth simply a high school diploma but you will need to supplement that with proven hands on work experience.
If this is a career you are serious about obtaining or are mid career in sales or another retail position, an associate or bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, marketing, retail, visual communications, and merchandising could be beneficial.
Study.org is one site that we reviewed that discusses possible college majors, career paths and suggests schools as well.
Academy of Art University
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Fashion Merchandising, 2008-2011
- Concentration Retail Buying and Planning
Academy of Art University
Associate of Arts, Fashion Product Development, 2006-2008
If you attend school for a degree at any level in fashion merchandising, fashion management, retail, etc. you will see similar course offerings.
If you are seeking out a specific post within a store you will want to highlight the courses that apply.
It may also be beneficial to list courses specific to your area of concentration, or if you know your school offers unique courses not readily available.
- Assortment Planning & Buying Strategies
- Consumer Behavior
- Omni-channel Retailing
- Leadership and Negotiation
After doing extensive research, we did not unveil any particular certifications that would boost or aid in a visual merchandiser’s search for a job, but we did discover many universities offer a VM certification.
For those with an associates or a bachelors in a related field, or who do not wish to seek out a degree the certification option could be a great option to boost your knowledge.
Some colleges also offer a visual merchandiser certificate as an add on to your degree (at an additional cost of course).
Saddleback College is one example, you can earn and associate degree in marketing, business management, or economics and tack on the fashion merchandising certificate.
You would only need to list the certification if you do not have a degree in fashion or visual merchandising.
Complete visual merchandiser resume sample
Now that we have spent some time reviewing what should be included on a visual merchandiser resume, it is time to look at an actual job posting.
After the job posting there is a complete sample resume to help guide you!
The first thing I noticed about this job posting is that nowhere does it say anything about education or experience (although I would guess it couldn’t hurt if you had it).
The main focus of this position seems to be on customer service and the ability to work within company guidelines while still creating creative and visually appealing displays.
Experienced and creative visual merchandiser with excellent customer service and teamwork skills. Familiarity with working in department stores and boutiques. Ability to visualize the customer’s perception of the store and create stunning displays.
Mannequin set up & tear down | Ability to assist customers with problems & concerns | Strong management skills | Skilled in Photoshop, InDesign & InkScape | Understanding of current events & top trends
Visual Merchandiser & Sales Associate, 2018-current
Maintains a visually inspiring boutique that is compelling to guests. Assists the team by driving business results by maximizing daily sales plans, managing expenses and improving metrics through sales floor leadership. Coaches and mentors other associates and new hires.
- Designs resulted in an increase of sales in the last two quarters by 11%
- Excellent customer service skills
- Proactive and creative problem solving abilities
- Ability to act as a liaison between the Boutique Team Leader, Assistant Boutique Team Leader and the Boutique Team
Visual Merchandiser & Activity Manager, 2014-2018
Oversaw a team of visual merchandisers to ensure a cohesive theme throughout the store. Organized displays to reflect a wide variety of styles, price levels, meet many individual tastes and exceed visitor’s expectations. Coached and led team members in proper and effective visual merchandising techniques.
- Award best regional display February 2015 & September 2017
- Skilled in Photoshop, Foko Retail & InkScape
- Ability to work in a fast-paced retail environment
- Responsible for the recruitment and competence development of Visual Merchandising team members
Seasonal Visual Merchandiser, 2011-2013
Responsible for seasonal displays related to holidays and seasons throughout the year. Oversaw the setup and tear down of each display and the design of each display. Created displays that were eye-catching and relevant to the customer base.
- Proficient using basic tools for displays
- Skilled in Adobe Suite and Smart Merchandiser
- Delegated work as needed to complete displays on time
- Worked with store management to ensure all displays were in line with store policies
Bachelor of Business Administration in Fashion Merchandising 2007-2011
- Business Spreadsheets
- Digital Tools for Fashion Presentation
- Sustainability and the Future of Fashion
VIsual merchandising has a wide pool of educational and job experience that can transfer from one position to the next. The path to this career may be varied, but those with a passion for retail will likely thrive.
Strong communication and customer service skills are recommended to excel in this position and a flair for design and creativity is vital.
- Experience is just as important as education for most jobs
- Strong creativity and design skills are a must
- The ability to plan, implement and delegate will serve you well
Tips from Experts
“Visual merchandising is an indispensable retail discipline, consisting of a series of practical selling tools that are used to influence what and how much consumers buy.” – Karl McKeever, Retail Expert
“If eyes are the windows to the soul; then shop windows are just as revealing. They reveal the soul of the shop.” – Debra Templar, Retail Consultant
“Visual merchandising is the art of implementing effective design ideas to increase store traffic and sales volume.” – Shari Waters, Retail Expert
Visual merchandisers look through the eyes of the customer to create displays that compel consumers to buy. This particular skill requires one to be in touch with the community and particularly your sales base.
To work in this field you should be prepared for a fast-paced environment, long and sometimes odd hours, and to solve problems in the blink of an eye.
If all this sounds like you, then perhaps you are ready to look into a career as a visual merchandiser.