Working in retail is full of challenges. It requires a varied range of skills that are transferable to life in general. When it comes to the Australian retail sector, the landscape is wide and varied. If you are working in that industry you are developing some valuable skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life. In this article, we drill down on 8 key retail skills that are transferable to life and to other jobs.
When you are dealing with members of the public in a busy retail environment, you need to have the ability to think on your feet. If you’re working in a mall or on a busy main street, you are likely to find yourself juggling a line of customers, phone calls, delivery people and any number of unexpected interruptions on a daily basis.
Potential employers for any industry want staff members that are able to handle the unexpected to multi-task while thinking on their feet. That is one reason why having retail experience is a big positive when you’re hunting for another job. Multi tasking is also a key life skill. Life gets hectic and there are times when we’ve got to juggle half a dozen things at once. Working in retail will help you to get through those times.
Dealing with People
The ability to treat people with patience and respect even when they are becoming unreasonable is an extremely desirable skill. Emotional intelligence is something that you have to learn as a retail employee. The old mantra that the customer is always right isn’t always the case. Developing the ability to tactfully readjust the thinking of the customer without upsetting them is a skill that will take you a long way outside of the job.
The ability to pay attention to the little things is a skill that can save you a lot of headaches. It’s something that you quickly learn when you’re working in retail. Leaving loose ends will come back and bite you big time. It’s the same thing in life in general. Doing things once and well will make you a more efficient, effective and happy person.
In most retail situations, at the start of the day, you will have a things to do list. But when the doors open, serving the customer is the number one priority. But then, when things get quiet, you go back to your list and get as much done before your next customer interaction. That makes you a very effective time manager. You’ll transfer that skill to your life at large without even realizing it.
Coolness Under Pressure
Working in retail can put you in a pressure cooker environment. It’s usually when the store is at its busiest that things start to go wrong. When the eftpos goes down while you’ve got a line of impatient customers, you have got to portray calmness and control even when you’re panicking on the inside. It’s an acquired skill in the retail industry and one that is hugely beneficial in life in general.
Unless you are a sole operator, your retail job will involve being part of a team. That means taking constructive criticism, picking up the slack for others, workload distribution, training others and even assuming a leadership role. Those skills are highly desirable in every industry and will make your social life smoother.
We are living in a culturally diverse country. That means that you could have people enter your store from any part of the globe. The ability to treat all people with respect regardless of their ethnic, cultural or religious background is a vital skill that you will quickly develop when you work in retail. This is yet another skill that is directly transferable to real life, making you more socially and culturally aware.
After working in retail for a period of time you will develop your interpersonal skills without even knowing it. You will become an energetic, forward-thinking person who displays positivity around others and takes the initiative. You will develop the ability to help the customer feel at ease and lead them through the buying process. These skills will also help you to be a more rounded, positive, and likable person in your life in general.
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