When you think about it, retail is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure career, like those old kids’ books. There are so many ways you can go (working in a traditional store, working in online fulfillment, being a behind-the-scenes logistics person, or providing valuable services), and so many options for doing it (part-time, full-time, short-term, long-term, seasonal). Whether it’s your right career or your right-now career, retail can be a great growth option.
So how do you get started? One of the best things about working in retail is that you don’t need to complete years of education before you begin, and introductory training is often offered on the job. If you have the skills and the commitment, you can start in one place and work your way up to management, or take those developed skills and bring them with you to whatever path you take next. And if you’re just getting started in retail (or thinking about it), we’ve got you covered.
Is retail right for you?
The first step is deciding whether retail is your next step. And let’s be honest—it’s not for everybody. If you hate the idea of talking to the public or your major philosophy in life is “my way or the highway,” well, then customer service might not be for you. Start by taking an honest look at your skills and goals—as well as some of the hard truths about working in retail—and see if that retail choice is a good fit.
And if you don’t happen to have some of these skills just yet, don’t worry—you can certainly start working on them, with the retail job goal in mind.
How to find retail jobs
Once you’ve decided to go for a retail job and narrowed down your skills, it’s time to look for the right opportunities. Start by researching companies you want to target, based on your location or the type of retail you want to focus on. If you need some ideas for starting points, we’ve got information on some of the best retail jobs out there, and how to ferret them out.
Because retail is one of the industries that changes quickly with the times, be sure to consider all of your options—both traditional and digital.
If you start thinking beyond the store, so to speak, you may find that there are retail jobs that wouldn’t even have occurred to you before.
How to score retail jobs
Like any job search, the core elements of your retail job search will likely sound familiar: resume and interview. The perfect retail resume showcases your skills, even if you don’t yet have tons of experience.
After your resume has scored you an interview, make sure you’re ready to rock it by preparing for certain types of questions ahead of time.
How to get a seasonal retail job
If you’re not looking for a long-term retail option or you’re seeking to break into the field as a newbie, seasonal retail work can be a great, flexible option. Many stores bulk up their staffs during busy seasons, like back to school or the holidays. The hours may be crazy (and so might the customers), but in a month or two of chaos, you’ll be making connections, building necessary retail skills, and making extra money.
How to level up in your retail career
If you’ve already got some retail experience under your belt or you’re figuring out if the career path has long-term potential for you, it’s important to know where you can go in the future with your retail skills, leadership experience, and know-how.
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