In the wake of brick and mortar store closings, competition for retail management positions gets hotter and hotter. And for what, tighter pay and shrinking bonuses? Over-pressured margins? Another store closing? How much more will you take? You’ve probably given it thought, but let’s just say it; consider a career change.
At a time when employers hired nearly 2 million workers and unemployment reached a 17-year low, retail was one of the biggest job losers — employment fell by 36,000 jobs. Only telecommunications lost more.¹
¹ Retail’s toughest year: A record for store closings, CNN Money, Dec 27, 2017
No Uber for you! As a retail manager, you have a marketable skill set. When presented effectively, it can open doors for you across the spectrum of the job market. Demand for high tech, health care, and manufacturing are driving growth, and demand to support this growth naturally follows. Take manufacturing; as the need for line workers increases, so does the demand – for expertise in inventory control, operations, management, and more.
So Where do You Fit? Keep in mind that running a busy retail store encompasses a variety of skills, ones in which you had to be good at or your store would’ve failed long ago. That said, the possibilities are many and the list is long.
Operations – You managed shipping & receiving, staffing schemes that made pennies sweat, tracked customer traffic, nurtured good vendor relations, and created reams of reports for corporate. The concepts and processes are the same here as they are in many large corporations.
P&L Management – You tracked sales daily, weekly, monthly, and annually, documented trends; you created forecasts, sales goals and the action plans to get there. The mechanics may be somewhat different but they are adaptable. The results are what interest companies in other sectors.
Inventory Control – Show me a company that can thrive without effective inventory control and I’ll show you Hershey’s, Target Canada, Walmart, Kmart, Best Buy, Nike, and more.³ managing inventory to support operations and maintain cash flow isn’t something other companies consider second nature, the way you probably can.
³ 6 Times Horrific Inventory Control Almost Killed These Companies, Business 2 Business Community, Paul Trujillo, Sep 20, 2016
People Management – You’ve interviewed, hired, on-boarded, trained, and fired. You’ve tracked hours, performance, and vacation time. Your staff consisted largely of part-timers who were moms, dads, and students and you performed a virtual, endless juggling act to accommodate their availability. Most retail jobs offer flexibility as an incentive but what’s not known is YOU were the instrument of that flexibility. You also had to keep them as happy as possible or you’d lose them to another retailer. Creating jobs, creating relationships, and undisputed leadership are soft skills highly prized by organizations. Demonstrating your success in this regard is career gold.
Thinking on Your Feet – You have customers returning product. Your job is to save the sale, create a win-win, and make sure that customer walks away happy – negotiation. Meanwhile you’re out of a sale item and people are lining up to buy it, an employee called in sick and the display rack at the front is a mess – all at the same time. If you’ve succeeded in this scenario more than once, you can claim ownership this attribute. Organizations will love you.
Customer Service is King – if you are a retail manager you know this, you can teach it. Companies place a high value on a customer-focus externally of course, but internally as well.
Marketing – Sales, sales planning, sales cycles, seasonal transitions, online, in-store, coupons, spot promotions, creating positive customer experiences, and knowing what your competitors are doing are always at the top of your mind. Having a working knowledge of digital and traditional marketing is not as a skill everyone can bring to the table. Organizations of selling something need you more than they know. It’s up to you to target one and make your case. Making your case will require an exceptionally written resume but there’s a wealth of help available in career change strategies and preparing your resume.
Rez Builder may be able to help.