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How To Advance Your Career In Retail

Posted on 25 March 2020 by Rebecca Dunne

There is a lot to love about a career in retail. The buzz, the busyness, the satisfaction of seeing happy customers enjoying your products and services.

The great thing about starting your career in retail is you can start from any retail job type, be that as general assistants, stock replenisher, a cashier. As long as it’s in retail, it’s a starting block. Likewise for part-time and temporary retail jobs - if you have a will to succeed in retail, you can start from anywhere. Whatever your first experience in retail, when you catch the bug for it and want to go further, how do you advance your retail career?

Understand The Retail Career Path Options

Traditionally the retail career might start with a sales job and then rise to a supervisor job with more responsibility. From here, you might go to your first retail manager role which is usually managing a team or a department such as Grocery Manager or Deli Manager. Your next career step could be to a trainee or assistant store manager job role. With all that experience under your belt, Store Manager is the top goal.

If this traditional path is what you would like to aim for, know that each stage does not have to be with the same retail employer. Though, it does help if your CV does not look like you have jumped around a lot.

Working in retail does not only mean having a store based career. You could also consider one of these alternative retail careers:

If your skills lay elsewhere but you love retail and helping people then you might consider a retail HR career.

For those of you with a head for business and the love of a good deal, retail merchandising or a career as a buyer might be the path for you.

Maybe your skills lie in organising and creating processes for things to run smoothly. If this sounds like you, then look into a career in retail logistics.

An often overlooked career option, logistics offers a range of opportunities for career growth.

Lastly, no retail business would be complete without its head office team. Retail accounts teams, marketing and PR all offer a variety of career growth and opportunities.

Have a great Retail Focussed CV and LinkedIn

Retail is a popular industry, to progress in your career, it is up to you to make sure your skills and experience stand out. There are common misconceptions that LinkedIn is just for job seekers and that you only need to update your CV when you are looking for a new job. Neither is true.

Know that hiring managers and retail recruiters who work for your current employer and potential future employers are active on LinkedIn daily. You can get ahead of the competition by building a network of retail connections on Linkedin. Building a network and having a sharp profile that highlights your skills, experience and ambitions clearly, puts you in the minds of the people that can help you progress.

Keeping your CV up to date, adding in any training, projects and new skills every few months means that if and when a job opportunity comes up you will be ready to apply without delay. Have your CV formatted tidily and saved as both word and PDF. Importantly, make sure that each job you have had clearly shows the key skills and experience gained. It is not enough to only list job titles, dates of work and employer names. Recruiters and hiring managers need to know why you are a relevant applicant.

Know What Retail Employers Want

When you are planning your retail career path be sure to include researching employers as part of your plan. Though two retail businesses might seem similar, they are likely to look for specific - and often different - traits in their staff. Some employers look for a relevant degree, others don’t. Some employers offer training on the job, others want new employees to have the experience before they start.

To learn about the differences between employers, pay close attention to their job descriptions. Connect with retail recruiters on LinkedIn for tips and advice on specific employers too.

By understanding what an employer really wants, what their deal breakers are, will help you plan a successful and realistic plan for your retail career. Knowing what your dream employer wants will also help you map in necessary training and upskilling to fill any holes in your CV and experience is a recruitment agency that specialises in sourcing and placing retail professionals in quality roles. We are part of the Wallace Myers International recruitment group and officially opened our doors in November 2019. consultants come from retail backgrounds including grocery, big-box and fashion and use their hands-on experience to help retail businesses find the quality people they need.

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