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Retail careers for women

Women interested in pursuing a career in retail can use these tips to help identify the opportunities that fit their interests, talents and skill set.

Retail careers for women

Kerlyne Hilaire Saintus started her retail career as a sales associate when she was still in college. Later, she says she left a corporate position to return to retail sales. “I worked for an amazing retailer where I was often one of the top five sales women in the country.”

Saintus also worked in store management and is now an account executive working with retailers, as well as the owner of a small recruiting firm. “I loved what I do and the products that I work with and this has given me what I need to keep moving forward in my career.”

There are plenty of opportunities for women in the retail industry, as long as you work hard and love what you do, Saintus says. “If you love the product, the customers, and the day-to-day business, it will take you far.”

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in retail, these tips can help you identify the opportunities that fit your interests, talents and skill set.

Know your options

Retail career possibilities include:

Sales. People in retail sales positions are on the front lines dealing with customers. Depending on the company, some positions may be commissioned.

Retail merchandising. Retail merchandisers work with buyers to ensure the right products are available at the right time and place according to market trends and time of year.

Retail design. Retail designers combine architecture, interior decor and design and advertising to produce efficient, effective shopping experiences.

Retail management. Retail managers may manage a single department, an entire store, a sales region or brand.

Retail strategy. The industry has a variety of careers in strategy, including retail marketing positions that involve researching markets and buying trends among certain demographics or locations.

Consider high-demand roles

According to a study by KPMG and the National Retail Federation Foundation, employment at Web-based retail companies has grown 145 percent, says Bill O'Malley, chief recruiting officer for Connector Team Recruiting, a retail executive search and staffing firm. Positions in areas such as omnichannel sales, social media and data analytics are in high demand and require higher education in marketing and information technology.

Reach out to others

Women in retail can help each other through networking and cultivating relationships, says Melissa Campanelli, co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle. “Make sure your approach to networking is strategic. Determine whom you want to talk to; ask for what you want; and identify what you can offer in return. And, of course, always say ‘thank you.’”

Be flexible

Retail hours can be irregular when you start out, and are frequently cited as the biggest drawback and driver of turnover at the in-store level, O'Malley says. But that may be changing. O’Malley says he sees a trend among some of the best companies in retail where stores are rotating weekends off and using this new style of scheduling to attract millennials and retain employees from all generations.

Add value

Educating yourself about the industry and adding value to your employer by helping improve day-to-day operations are important steps to rising through the ranks, says Pauline Delaney, a career counselor with Resume Genius. “The main keys are to not give up and to make yourself the absolute best choice, no matter what.”

Becoming an expert is essential to retail career success, Saintus says. Having high credibility is important in the industry, so don’t stop learning throughout your career.

Monster Wants to Know: What do you find crucial to having success in retail? Share with us in the comment section.


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