5 Careers Your Retail Position Can Help You Hatch

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If you love working with people and want to hone your transferable skills, then a retail job could be the perfect place to hatch your career!

The truth is, jobs in the retail industry prepare you for a number of jobs in other industries.

Customer service, product knowledge and presentation skills are just a few of the things you can pick up from a job in the retail sector, and your best place to get cracking is right here!

1. I.T.

If you were the computer whizz at your retail job who could extract information from a difficult spreadsheet and program sale prices, then working in the I.T. sector of a retail company could be just the job you are looking for.

How can I prepare?

Practice your explanation skills! While you’re one of the lucky ones that just seem to ‘get it’ when it comes to computers and computer programs, many just don’t. If you can explain the reasoning behind that tricky spreadsheet or why the computer keeps going awry then people are more likely to learn from you.

Keep up to date with technological changes in the retail sector. When people have questions about new programs or new gadgets, they’ll come to you. This kind of information will also be useful for job interviews and networking.

2. Buying

Good at making tough decisions and remembering which products sell and why? Buying could be the retail career for you. A retail system is pretty dependent on the retailer having the right products to sell to the customer for the right price. Buyers decide what products the store will sell, negotiate prices with the suppliers and then set the store price.

How can I prepare?

Decide which products you love and study up! It can be anything from floor tiles to coffee cups. Loving your work is a key part of excelling as a Buyer.

Get to know different retailers. Once you’ve picked a product or an area to specialize in, you’ll want to shop around to see what each retailer has on offer as a competitive product. Having some good knowledge of what’s going on out there will make you as competitive as the products you’re selling.

3. Marketing and public relations

Keep an eye out for the advertising used by different retailers. Thinking about this material will help you out if you’re looking to get into marketing or public relations for a retailer. Advertising is one of the ways a store will define its product as well as its audience.

How can I prepare?

Pick your favourite retailer and make a few notes on their advertising themes: what works well? What doesn’t? What caught your eye?

It’s good to train your brain to look at retailers in this way as it will give you the chance to pick out what’s effective and what isn’t and you can then translate this into your first job in the field!

4. Human resources

Working in a team on a store floor is a great way to learn what management and leadership styles work well, what personalities make a good team and the qualities needed to produce work on an individual level.

Human resources requires you to find the right people to fit certain roles in a company, so watching teamwork and leadership in action at your retail job is a great way to prepare for this.

How can I prepare?

Honing your people skills is the best way you can prepare for a career in HR. If you’re currently working in a retail location as a customer service representative, try applying for the next level of your job (such as a manager, or shift manager position).

By doing this, you’ll get a first hand taste for hiring and developing and managing a cohesive and successful team – something you’ll be called upon to do constantly if you hatch your career in HR.

5. Visual merchandising

Love working on the store floor and putting together displays? Sounds like you’d be perfect for a career in visual merchandising! As a visual merchandiser, it’s up to you to make the store look good and make it appeal to the customer eye. If you’re working in a clothing store then get in the know of the latest fashions. For hardware, make sure you know the latest products and how to place them in order to catch someone’s eye.

How can I prepare?

Exercise your creative streak! Having original ideas in this job is what will draw new customers in and keep the old ones engaged. Don’t be afraid to suggest something that sounds weird, it could be just what that display needed!

Set your sights on a career in retail? Start exploring TalentEgg’s 2014 Retail Career Guide!

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About the author

Rosie Hales was an Editorial and Marketing intern at TalentEgg in the summer of 2013. She recently hatched her career in Communications at her alma mater, Queen's University. Follow her on Twitter @rosieehales.