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Do you have a passion for people? If you could happily spend your day talking to new individuals and exploring their goals and interests, a position as a retail salesperson may be just what you're after. You'll have the opportunity to assist customers with their shopping needs, recommend new products and solutions, and interact with a vast range of people every day with this job.
A retail salesperson is the person responsible for assisting customers as they consider their purchases. Depending on the location, this might mean demonstrating the features of a new piece of technology, taking a prospective car buyer for a test drive, or assisting a shopper as she tries on different gowns. Retail salespeople can work in many different industries, making this a very versatile career path.
The best salespeople are typically those who have an in-depth understanding of the products and services that they're selling. If you have a passion for cars and know even the most minute differences between various models and years, you'll be well suited to a position assisting customers on a car lot. Your eye for fashion and ability to help people find a flattering fit will make you a sought-after salesperson in an upscale clothing boutique. This is an area where you should build on your strengths and interests to find the best professional fit.
One thing all salespeople should have in common is a friendly attitude and passion for people. This job requires a great deal of personal interaction with your customers. You should know how to offer a warm welcome and provide knowledgeable assistance without being pushy or overbearing. If you have the right skill set, you'll find that you're quickly closing a lot of deals in this profession.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects overall employment for retail sales workers to increase 2 percent between 2016 and 2026. This is slower than the national average for all occupations. The slow pace of job growth in this area is due in large part to the increasing popularity of online shopping. Individuals can now make many major retail purchases from the comfort of home without ever setting foot in a brick and mortar store.
Shoppers are also able to conduct in-depth research into different products and services online before they begin shopping. This means that more people are arriving in the store with a solid understanding of what's available and a clear idea of what they want. Employment growth is moderately higher for parts salespeople who have an expected job increase of 5 percent over the coming decade.
The biggest employment sector for retail salespeople is the apparel industry. Clothing and clothing accessory stores employ 21 percent of those in this occupation. Ten percent work in retail locations selling garden equipment and building materials. Department stores and general merchandise stores each account for another 9 percent of retail sales positions.
As a retail salesperson, you'll likely spend much of your time on the sales floor, assisting customers who are browsing the goods. This is a position that requires long periods of standing and walking. Some lifting might be required, particularly if you're in a home improvement store or other location that sells large items. When the sales floor is quiet, you may be responsible for minor stocking and cleaning duties as well.
There are no set requirements for a job as a retail salesperson. Your skill set can speak volumes when you're applying for this type of job, particularly if you have a history of successful sales ventures in the past. Since job growth is limited in this area, it's wise to consider furthering your education. Having a diploma in a related area can help you increase your employability and craft a resume that stands out in this crowded area.
The Business Assistant Diploma from Bryant & Stratton College will give you a well-rounded background that will prepare you for a position in retail sales as well as many other areas. This course of study covers topics such as computing skills, sales and service principles, accounting, and marketing.
A business assistant diploma will prepare you for many occupations in both retail and business. Some job titles that you may want to look for include:
Keep your job search as broad as possible, particularly if you're seeking entry-level employment. There are many different approaches that you can take to sales and business operations, and a business assistant diploma can prepare you for them all.
Readers should note that data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is for informational purposes only. This is not intended as a guarantee of employment opportunities. You should use these statistics to help you gain a better general understanding of the trends anticipated in this area, with the understanding that the state of the economy will have a major impact on retail jobs, and this may change at any time.
For more insights into your career options in this and similar areas, check out the business degrees section of our blog. Here, you'll get valuable information to help you plan your professional future.