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Retail Career Path: How to Prepare for a Career in Retail

Ho Lin Profile
By Ho Lin 3 minute read

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Retail Career Preparation

A career in retail can be lucrative, exciting and rewarding. But, as with any career, it takes time to work your way into the areas of retail where you can take on significant responsibility and make the most money. The best way to approach retail career preparation is to plan for your goals in advance and be ready to handle the challenges that come your way.

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Be Prepared to Work Weekends, Evenings and Holidays

In most cases, especially at the entry level, your retail career will involve working weekends, evenings and holidays. For many parts of the retail industry, these are the times when you will make the most money. In retail, you need to be available when customers are ready to shop, and that means working hours that are outside the standard business hours.

Take Classes in Public Speaking

In retail, you will have to do presentations and talk to customers all day long. It is important to remember that people all around you will be listening to what you have to say and that can help you to make more sales. A good way to smooth out your sales presentations is to take a class in public speaking. This will not only help you to make cleaner sales pitches, but it can also help eliminate any fear you may have of speaking to large groups. For more boots-on-the-ground retail work, you’ll still need to have excellent communications skills in order to assist customers and make more sales.

Be a Team Player

Retail is a different kind of industry because it is a sales-based industry that requires teamwork to be successful. Most sales jobs allow professionals to operate on their own and that is why many people get involved in sales. But in retail, you are usually part of a team and, while your individual numbers may affect your paycheck to a certain extent, your career depends on your ability to work as an effective part of a team.

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Take a Human Psychology Course

When you start a career in retail, you deal directly with people of all types on a regular basis. You may go from a very pleasant customer to a very difficult customer and you will need to know how to react and how to handle that customer as well. A basic training in human psychology will help you to be able to identify the traits of difficult customers and assist you in offering better customer service.

Think About Your Resume

When you are starting out in retail, the best jobs do not always pay what you would hope. Retail sales jobs in prestigious stores can offer a disappointing pay scale, but the experience of working for a successful organization and the positive light that job puts on your resume can make it worth the sacrifice. The other thing to keep in mind about low-paying but prestigious jobs is that there may be a fast-track to management that would make the job very lucrative. In some retail organizations, there can be a large jump in pay from associate to manager.

Before you jump into your retail career preparation, remember the advice above. A successful career in retail can help you advance into higher-level jobs in many industries, so be prepared to perform at your best and show both hiring managers and on-the-job supervisors your best work ethic and capabilities.

Ho Lin Profile

Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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