More than 15 million people work in retail, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a recent CareerBuilder survey found that 33 percent of retail employers are likely to hire seasonal help this summer. Considering the high employment numbers, along with varying education requirements, on-the-job training and transferable skills, a job in retail can be the start of, or next step in, a strong career path.
Here is a look at the skills you acquire in retail, advancement opportunities within the industry and similar occupations to which retail workers can apply their skills.
Skills gained from working in retail
From customer service to sales, retail workers have hard and soft skills that can be transferred to other jobs in the retail industry or a different sector. When you’re putting together your résumé or preparing for an interview, build upon the skills that you’ve gained while working in retail. The BLS names some of the important qualities workers in retail possess, including:
- Customer-service skills: Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.
- People skills: A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers, because the job requires almost constant interaction with people.
- Persistence: A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.
- Selling skills: Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of merchandise.