April 8, 2011

Turning your Retail Job into a Career

In an job market where not many industries are growing as fast as the number of people in the job market, retail seems like an attractive option for many people. As the economy begins to get back on track, more people are spending money in the retail sector, so workers are readily needed. However, as The Associated Press recently reported, jobs in retail don’t necessarily always translate into lucrative careers. According to their article:

“As the economic recovery gains steam, the retail industry is expected to be one of the strongest for job growth this decade. But the quality of jobs selling clothes, computers and other goods has declined in recent years to the point where few can be classified as careers.

Erratic part-time hours often make a second job impossible and complicate the work-life juggle. Pay has shrunk. And the recession created hordes of overqualified job seekers, leaving existing staff with little power to demand better conditions.”

This doesn’t mean that working in retail can’t become a career eventually – it is just harder than it used to be. You’re an expendable employee in steep competition for jobs and there are few opportunities for advancement. If you’re motivated, though, you can turn a retail job into a career. Here are some tips you can use to make that happen:

  • Volunteer for extra shifts and responsibilities whenever possible. Showing initiative tells your managers that you’re the kind of person who is qualified for a promotion.
  • Get an advanced degree. Believe it or not, to turn retail into a high-paying career, you need a degree. Consider a field like business, loss prevention, or marketing.
  • Be a pleasure to work with. Many retail workers hate their jobs. If all you do while at work is complain to your co-workers, it doesn’t matter how efficient or responsible you are – no one will want to work with you. The most positive employees are the ones that get the promotions.
  • Learn about working in many departments. If you have aspirations to work in management someday, you’ll have to know how all the different departments operate.
  • Make your goals known. Talk to your manager about your goals to advance in your career. That way, when an advanced position comes open, they’ll think of you.

Even though retail jobs are beginning to become more plentiful, they’re still competitive. Make sure you have great references, dress professionally for your interview, and display a great work ethic so you get the job.

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