Retail careers are about much more than just working a cash register and smiling at strangers, so why not take that work experience you’ve earned and evolve it into something bigger?
You don’t have to work in finance or accounting to get a designation – there are a number of designations and certifications that students and recent graduates should think about as they pursue careers in the retail industry.
The Canadian Retail Institute (RCI) (which is directly related to the Retail Council of Canada (RCC)) offers 2 certifications for entry level and first level managerial roles in order to standardize the recognition of great work:
Certified Retail Sales Associate (CRSA)
Chances are good that you already have some Sales Associate experience under your belt. Sales Associates are the front line of retail and experience the most face time with customers. This certification provides an extra layer of training and education that will round out your Sales Associate experience. The course covers topics like Communication, Inventory and Professionalism, all of which can be a great base for any level of retail job. If you’re looking to expand your expertise to all aspects of retail, and gain a deeper understanding of certain particulars you haven’t been able to get a handle on with your initial training, becoming a CRSA might be a good idea.
This certification is recognized nationally, which means it will be applicable to any Retail Sales Associate position you can get your hands on. It shows a potential employer that you’re a determined and dedicated professional with a full-spectrum skill set and an obvious asset to any retail team.
Certified Retail First Level Manager (CFLM)
Specifically geared towards those who are already first level managers, this course provides a business backbone to those who may not have that background with their education. Topics include human resources, administration, leadership and many other important aspects of sales.
The key focus of this certification is team management, which is what a lot of high level managers look for. You may already have the goods of a great leader, in which case completing this certification would get you noticed, not to mention a good source of information you might not have in your arsenal already.
If you’re hoping to eventually get a head office job in marketing or supply chain management, these designations may be for you:
Certified Marketing Specialist
The Canadian Marketing Association offers a Certified Marketing Specialist designation as an industry standard for marketing professionals. The courses are available both online and in person, which makes the program especially flexible.
The certification works almost like a post-grad certificate, with necessary courses in Direct Marketing and Integrated Branding (to name a couple) and then the option to choose a more specialized focus in, for example, Research and Analytics. It takes about 2 years to complete.
Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP)
Supply Chain Management involves an epic spectrum of analytical power and organizational skills, not to mention being an expert in efficiency. Offered by the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC), the Supply Chain Management Professional designation requires an intensive course of study, but rewards professionals at its completion with an impressive range of knowledge.
The designation also comes with the potential perk of increasing your salary by 15%, according to PMAC. It is also part of a designation reciprocity agreement with ISM in the U.S. and CIPS in the U.K., which makes it simpler to keep your professional designation and work abroad.
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