For many young people, a retail job after school or during summer vacation is a rite of passage. However, working in retail can also open doors to career opportunities that young people might not have considered.
Teens and young adults have had a hard time in recent years when it comes to finding part-time employment. Although the recession allegedly ended in 2009, jobs have been scarce for those between the ages of 16 and 21 since many older people were still scrambling to find work. However, for those older people who took retail jobs on a temporary basis until something better came along, the long-term benefits of working in retail are not as apparent as they are for new workers trying to find their professional niche in the world.
Many might assume that working in retail means folding shirts, keeping drinks refilled or selling more cell phones than anyone else, but there is much more involved and more to be gained. Young people who work retail jobs are exposed to a variety of environments and a host of different types of people. A retail clothing store, for example, offers an employee the chance to hone customer service skills, learn about pricing, spot trends and craft a fashion sense that will prepare him or her to work in a more formal business atmosphere. In stores that have a steady stream of repeat customers, such as a dry cleaner or coffee shop, opportunities to network can be plentiful. You never know when the man who orders the large caramel macchiato might need a new assistant in his software firm.
Retail jobs are also a great way for young people to learn what type of work they enjoy and how to work with others. In many retail businesses, employees work in close quarters, and this offers the opportunity for employees to get to know each other, either through observance or conversation. Retail jobs can also help a person determine what will suit his or her personality. Some might discover that sales is their calling, while others might enjoy the customer service side of business more.
Starting out in a retail job also gives young people valuable work experience. Once they complete their education and seek employment in their chosen fields, young people who have work experience are often more highly favored than those who have never held a job. Considering how competitive the workforce currently is, landing and keeping a job in retail can be a serious advantage.
For teens and young adults who want to work, the retail industry is a good place to start. Not only are retail jobs typically plentiful, entry-level positions are found in a variety of fields and industries, which can help ambitious young persons determine where they want to focus their career ambitions.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net