A simple part-time retail job to pass the summer or pay the bills can easily evolve into a full-time, lifelong career. Just like any other job, working in retail comes with its own unique set of challenges and rewards. You may already be familiar with some of the risks of a career in retail — the uncertain economy is hitting retail businesses hard, and starting retail salaries aren't quite enough to make anyone rich. Still, there are definitely benefits of staying in this sector, rolling the dice and making a long-term commitment.
Reasons to Choose a Future In Retail
First, there's the money. Yes, you read that correctly. The barely-over-minimum-wage salary you're making right now may represent the ground floor in retail, but advancement in this business happens fast, and just a few rungs above you on the ladder there are people making enough to step comfortably into a middle-class lifestyle. As it happens, a few rungs up the retail ladder things also start to get more competitive. But if you have what it takes to shine, you'll be compensated for your dedication and hard work.
Second, the opportunity. Success in retail often means success in almost any other field. Once you've learned how to soothe an angry customer, manage a budget, maintain a complex employee schedule and sell freezers in the Arctic, doors in every industry will open for you. If you decide to make a mid-career switch to marketing or sales, or even start your own company, the skills you mastered on the retail floor will help get you there.
Third, your growing knowledge of the product you sell. From women's fashions to consumer electronics, every retail business comes with its own insider knowledge. After a few months or years in retail, it's difficult to measure how much you'll have learned just by showing up every day. There's no better place to become an expert on how cell phones work, how local farmers grow fresh arugula, or how high-quality furniture is designed and built. If your retail job taps into your area of interest, be prepared to make a living surrounded by something you love.
Lastly, retail involves meeting people and making new connections every day. It's impossible to avoid these connections when you work in this business. So if you live for social contact and see every new encounter as an opportunity to expand your world, retail is the perfect place for you. At the entry level, you'll interact primarily with customers and clients, but as you work your way up, you'll be heading to trade conventions and industry events on a regular basis. You'll be using these events to stay on top of news and trends in your market, but you'll also be using them to circulate, spark new connections and meet new faces.
Your future in Retail
If you're sure a career in retail is the right move for you, your hardest decision is already over. The next step is making it happen. Visit LiveCareer and explore our resume building tips and job search tools targeted specifically to retail employees. And check out LiveCareer's Pinterest to gain a bit of inspiration and overcome those job search roadblocks.