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Posted April 22, 2021

Retail Jobs Trending: Do You Fit the Role?

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio
By Grace Tino

Retail is one of the largest industries in the country. Each year, retail employs millions of people from all sorts of education and backgrounds. In 2020, the industry employed over 2 million cashiers, 3 million salespersons, and about 1 million order fulfillers. The retail industry has numerous specialties, storefronts, and backend facilities that keep business running smoothly. The vast areas in the industry create a variety of opportunities to fit the needs of different job seekers. Retail opportunities pop up in clothing stores, warehouses, grocery stores, department stores, and more. Some retail positions involve frontline interaction with customers, some focus more on the logistics side of things, and some even involve leadership opportunities. When considering a retail position, look for ones that match up with your skillset, experience, schedule; finding the role you fit with will ensure a successful career path in the industry.

While retail constantly has actively hiring opportunities, a targeted job search will result in more responses (and more job offers) than a strategy of applying to any and every position near you. A successful strategy for landing a retail job is by focusing on the positions that are trending the most, i.e., the ones in highest demand by retail employers. Additionally, narrow your job search down even further by selecting which of these trending positions best suits your needs and skills. If a job does not fit into your schedule, experience, and personality, it will save you and the hiring manager time if you do not apply, and you will find your fit faster.

Cashier

When someone hears the word "retail," an image of a cashier ringing up customers is likely one of the first visuals to come to mind. Cashiers are some of the most common jobs in the US, employing over 2 million retail workers. Cashiers are one of the main faces of a retail storefront, alongside other positions like salespeople. Common duties for a cashier include scanning and bagging products, managing cash, and working different payment systems. The job of a cashier goes beyond simply handling transactions; cashiers are typically the last retail worker customers interact with and can seal in a positive impression of the retailer. Cashier is among the most common retail jobs because it is well-suited to entry-level job seekers. If you are a job seeker with no retail experience, or any other sort of professional experience, cashier is a viable choice that accepts beginner skill levels. Some skills you will need to highlight when applying include basic math, basic financial skills, communication, organization, and computer skills; these skills are ones commonly acquired through a high school education or other entry-level jobs. Since cashiers are typically entry-level, be sure an entry-level compensation is enough for you- that is typically around $12.03/hr. Hours typically vary for part-time and full-time workers, so flexible shift schedules are another perk of a cashier position.

Customer Service

Customer service is also one of the first jobs that comes to mind when someone hears the word "retail." Customer service workers are found in storefronts like cashiers but are not confined to just the register. As a customer service teammate, your job is to ensure the customer experience runs smoothly and positively from start to finish. This includes answering customer questions, solving problems and complaints, managing returns and transactions, and keeping displays neat. Customer service workers can be stationed through multiple parts of the store, from greeting customers at the entrance, monitoring various departments, or at a dedicated customer service station. Entry-level and experienced seekers alike are usually considered for customer service. For the specific job you are applying to, double check their desired experience, in case the position encompasses some more managerial responsibilities. These positions usually offer both part-time and full-time hours, and work when the store is open; take note of the specific shift you are applying for to be sure it works with your own schedule needs. The pay for customer service workers is usually slightly higher than that of a cashier, averaging at about $17.23/hr.

Merchandiser

Merchandising deals with the visual marketing aspect of the store. Merchandisers are typically responsible for creating and executing engaging displays of products in-store and online. These jobs require people with a creative mind and organizational skills to develop a merchandise display plan from start to finish. Merchandisers must also be great team players, since the planning and set up of displays requires the help of other merchandisers and workers in the store. Other skills and traits that fit into the role include being detail-oriented, energetic, and great with time management. Having sales experience can also help your fit with the role, since it demonstrates an understanding of the customer and what will sell. A formal education is appealing, but not usually required, when applying to be a merchandiser. At very least, hiring managers like to see previous experience in other areas of retail to ensure you have a good grasp on the industry, so these positions can be less accessible to entry-level seekers. Merchandiser wages start around $16.61/hour and can increase based on experience and responsibility.

Warehouse

Warehouse positions have been increasing rapidly due to the explosion of e-commerce over the last few years. If you are seeking a role that does not include direct customer interaction, explore options in the logistics side of retail. Warehouse workers are responsible for the handling of inventory, including stocking products and packing customer orders. Warehouse positions require more physical labor than most other retail jobs, so only apply if you are ready to be on your feet! These positions also can be fast paced, requiring workers to efficiently move items back and forth through the warehouse. If you are someone that likes to be on your feet and does not mind breaking the occasional sweat, a warehouse position could be the right fit for you. Warehouse positions also have a lot of options available when it comes to hours, including late nights or early mornings, which makes them a good fit for those seeking extra work to fit in their schedule. Positions also vary in required experience, so always double check the requirements for the specific posting; a general worker is typically untrained and entry-level, while supervisors need years of experience. Pay rates for entry-level warehouse positions average around $14.16/hr and increase with experience.

Loss Prevention

Loss prevention specialists are extremely important for the safety and success of a store. Loss prevention workers are responsible for monitoring a store for theft. They monitor activity of a store, either on video or in person, to scan for any unusual shoppers and shoplifting. In the case there is shoplifting, they are also responsible for properly reporting and handling the situation. Loss prevention jobs require a high attention to detail, analytical abilities, and a calm personality. The experience required for these jobs will vary; some positions require a background in law enforcement, but most retailers are open to hiring entry-level job seekers and providing the necessary training. These positions will best fit job seekers that are comfortable in high pressure or tense situations, and that can stand for long periods of time. Expect a wage of around $13.93/hr if you are a beginner- rates will increase with experience.

Assistant Manager and Store Manager

If you are a job seeker with years of experience in the retail industry, a managerial position might be the best fit for you. Managerial positions involve a high amount of responsibility not only for a team of employees but for the entire store's success. Duties for managerial positions will vary depending on the size and type of store. Generally, managers oversee the day-to-day operations of stores as well as ensure the store is on its way to big picture goals. If a store has both a manager and assistant manager, the assistant will typically handle more day-to-day tasks such as employee schedules and customer complaints, while the manager oversees budgeting, sales, policies, and other higher-level concerns. Both positions require excellent problem solving, organization, and communication skills on top of experience leading teams. The assistant manager position is a good fit for those with several years of retail experience, but not yet in a managerial position. Assistant manager positions are excellent steppingstones for those staying on a managerial track, and you will gain valuable skills crucial to becoming manager. If you possess some experience in an assistant manager position, you can apply to store manager positions with confidence. Store managers can expect around $22.74/hr, or if salaried about $49,000 yearly. Assistant managers typically earn around $13.95/hr, but pay can significantly increase with experience. Hours for these positions can be more demanding than those for the positions previously mentioned since managers are needed to perform important duties throughout the workday. However, since most managers/assistant managers oversee the schedule, they can usually be flexible with their own hours.

The retail industry has been in high demand of new workers as consumer demand continues to increase and stores reopen to full capacity. The positions we have discussed in this article are currently among the most in-demand for the industry. If you are starting a retail job search, consider if some of these positions are a fit for you. A targeted job search that focuses not only on the most in-demand positions, but also the ones best suited to a seeker's needs and skills, will run more efficiently and turn up a job offer in no time. Get started on your targeted job search by exploring the thousands of opportunities on AllRetailJobs!