What Is a Retail Job, and Is It Right For You?

Male Asian retail employee helps a female African-American shopperThe back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons are quickly approaching, meaning there’s never been a better time to consider job opportunities in the retail field. The industry has something to offer job seekers of all backgrounds, whether you’re looking for a long-term career, seeking some supplemental income or pursuing your first-ever job.
Retail employment is expected to grow 11 percent through 2014, with ample opportunities becoming available as existing retail workers leave the field for other professions.

Skills for Retail Success

Working in the retail industry involves interacting with people to provide excellent customer service and information about products and services as well as handling and resolving complaints. You are there to greet and serve the customers and you will get immediate feedback.
A lot of retail jobs involve problem solving. It helps to have sales and marketing skills to show, promote and sell the products or services. The ability to speak English and use basic math is usually important. Barcode scanners are used to compute prices and the total the purchases before you receive and process cash or credit payments on the cash register or computer.
Read more about what it takes to be successful as a retail employee.

Retail Job Opportunities

While many individuals get their start in the retail field working as a cashier or clerk, jobs in the industry can include work as a customer service representative, sales associate, sales consultant, assistant buyer, comparison shopper, bridal consultant and more. Monster.com has a list of more than 25 job options available to retail employees.
Keep your eye on the online job ads and your local classifieds in September and October. Most retail stores will hire seasonal help to help the influx of holiday shoppers, giving you a better chance of breaking into the field. If you prove yourself an asset to the company, they may hire you on permanently after the shopping surge subsides.

Get Ready for Retail Employment

Some previous work-related skill or experience and a high school diploma or GED is usually needed to land a job in the retail industry. You will likely need to know how to apply online or in the store at a computerized hiring terminal. You may take a computerized evaluation, or a series of questions, such as whether you think it is okay to steal or accept “free” merchandise, or get angry and yell at people easily. Once hired, you’ll go through training in the store.
Need some assistance getting started?  Many Goodwill® agencies offer retail training programs to help individuals prepare to go to work as cashiers and sales associates.  Jordan Anderson participated in a retail training program offered by Goodwill Industries of Central Iowa (Des Moines), and his job coach helped him land a position at Walgreens, where he recently celebrated his first full year on the job.  Goodwill also hires retail employees for its more than
To see how you can get started as a retail employee:
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