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Harvey Norman

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Jessica Oliva

Anyone can take the plunge of working in retail for a reputable company such as Harvey Norman, all you really need is the desire to learn.

What is your job about?

Currently, I have been given the opportunity to run the outdoor pop-up store at the Domayne Springvale Homemaker Centre where we sell furniture for the outdoor lifestyle alongside outdoor decorator and furniture protection. No one day is the same and that is what makes my job exciting and interesting. After I open the store, do a brief floor walk and tidy up, I then check my emails and prioritise the tasks that are required for the day or week. Broadly, my daily tasks include: inventory management, stock ordering, ticketing and managing the day to day operations of the store. As customers always come first- selling, customer queries or complaints whether in store, over the phone or online take precedence when required. Inventory management entails organising the weekly shuttle, bringing up new stock to the store and organising sold stock to go back to the warehouse for customer deliveries. Incorporating strategies to sell off aged stock also makes part of managing the store’s inventory. Using product reports, analysing stock movement based on consumer demand and ensuring core range is represented on the floor are all taken into consideration when ordering stock. Ticketing makes part of in store advertising as well as ensuring advertising campaigns align with in store advertising. In addition to these tasks, I have also been set projects in the form of planning and implementing strategies to increase the sale of outdoor protection, decrease inventory levels for end of season and preparing and running my own stock take. 

What is your background?

I was born and grew up in Melbourne in the South-eastern suburbs. I went to high school at Killester College and started university in 2015 at Monash University where I completed a double degree in arts and business marketing. I have always had a broad interest in many subjects and I was fortunate to explore many different options as I was studying. I took singing lessons from the age of 7 and decided to open my own entertainment business while I was at university, where I organised and performed my own gigs at senior nursing homes, children’s parties and local events. I also juggled a one day a week gig at a cafe of which I eventually became an operational manager. It was this practical business experience tied with my theoretical knowledge at university which made me interested in pursuing a career as a graduate at Harvey Norman (as well as being my dad’s companion during his trips to our local Harvey’s store for everything electric from 8 years old). What interested me the most in the company was the entrepreneurial spirit of the way in which the individual franchises are run. Having my own taste of entrepreneurship through my entertaining experience made applying for Harvey Norman through Grad Australia a perfect fit as a company that aligned with my interests and values. I have now been with Harvey Norman and Domayne for over a year.  

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Anyone can take the plunge of working in retail for a reputable company such as Harvey Norman, all you really need is the desire to learn. I didn’t have a background in retail but I was able to bring across many transferrable skills from my previous experience to the role. I learnt on the job and was very fortunate to be trained by some very talented and experienced mentors. As long as you are willing to learn, get your hands dirty and try new things, this company offers you the opportunity to develop and grow both personally and professionally. 

What is the coolest thing about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is being given responsibility. Even when I was just responsible for the office area in indoor furniture, I loved the opportunity of devising new ways to achieve the businesses’ overall objective. I put my leadership and organisational skills to test and was trusted to make business decisions independently while still under the guidance of my mentors. One of my favourite moments in the outdoor store was creating package bundles as a way of selling aged stock. This gave me a sense of accomplishment by contributing positively towards the store’s inventory objectives. 

What are the limitations of your job?

One essential thing I have learnt from this job is the importance of work-life balance. Work becomes a large part of our lifestyle and getting into the right habits from the out-set is really important. Organising your time effectively and making time for activities that are of significance and factoring them into your weekly schedule will allow you to be efficient and productive in all aspects of your life.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student... 

If I had to give advice to myself as a university student I would say, “take the plunge and throw away the manual.” That is, sometimes we have this vision of how our lives should be but life is very dynamic and sometimes takes us in a different direction entirely.  To this I would say, “go where life takes you, make a decision and own it wholeheartedly, make mistakes and learn as you go, be adaptable and open to opportunity- everyone starts as a beginner; the main thing is that you are growing and improving every day!”