How to use your retail skills to get a new job

Last updated: April 25, 2024
Trending post
Michael Frash
Community SpecialistBullet point
Community Specialist
Facebook share linkTwitter share link
How to use your retail skills to get a new job
Jump to section

People often start their careers in the retail industry. There are around 15.7 million retail workers in the US, and many of the jobs are entry-level positions.

You can get retail experience in a range of different workplaces. For example, you can work in a grocery store, department store, discount store, or specialty store.

Depending on the store, you can start as a sales associate, cashier, or customer service representative and work your way up the ladder. Once you've gained leadership skills, you can become an assistant manager or retail manager.

Your retail skills can even help you get a job in other industries. Both hard and soft skills can be transferable and look good on your resume.

What are the top transferable skills you can gain by working in retail? And, what other jobs can you apply for after working in a store?

Read on to find out.

What are transferable skills?

Some skills will help you throughout your career. These are called transferable skills, and they're appealing to every hiring manager. Even if you change industries, these skills will always be relevant.

Transferable skills can be soft skills, such as good communication, active listening, problem-solving, and time management. Or, they can be hard skills, such as computer skills, cash handling, or graphic design.

For example, you may have gained customer service skills in the food services industry. These skills will be just as valuable in a retail environment.

You can learn transferable skills on-the-job, through education and extracurricular activities, or by volunteering. You can improve your skills with practice and repetition.

When you apply for a job, the employer may have a list of skills they're looking for. You can highlight these in your resume and cover letter and share examples during the job interview.

(Image Source)

Transferable skills can be used in both in-person and remote positions.

What do you need to work in retail?

Retail positions can be entry-level, but the employer may expect you to have a high school diploma or equivalent. It'll be an advantage if you have experience working in customer service. The minimum age can vary between states, and retail businesses can have their own rules.

Retail employees need to have good people skills and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. You'll need strong interpersonal skills, and you should be a team player. You'll be on your feet for long hours, so you should be physically fit.

Depending on your job title, you may be responsible for cash handling or managing inventory. If this is the case, you'll need to be tech-savvy with basic math skills.

What are the top skills you can learn in retail?

A retail job is a good way to kick off your career. If you're a hard worker, these are some of the top skills you can learn in the industry.

All of these are transferable and can be used to make your resume stand out.

1. Customer service

It's no secret that retail is a customer-focused industry. Whether it's a brick-and-mortar retail store or an online retailer, these business types can't thrive without customers.

Retail workers focus on customer satisfaction. They use their strong communication skills to serve customers and answer questions. From the moment the customer arrives to the time they go through the checkout, retail workers try to provide a positive shopping experience.

While working in retail, you'll also gain conflict management skills.

(Image Source)

Customer service is a valuable skill in almost every industry. For example, it can be beneficial if you want to switch to a job in healthcare, administration, tech support, sales, or food services.

There are a range of remote customer service positions for those looking to work from home. You could work as a virtual assistant or remote call-center operator.

2. Cash handling

If you get a job in retail, one of your duties may be cash handling. You'll learn how to use a cash register and accept cash and credit card payments.

There will usually be a point of sale (POS) system to help you process these payments. And, you'll need to print receipts and count change.

Cash handling can require quick thinking and basic math skills. It's a technical skill that will become easier with practice.

Cash handling is a transferable skill and is appealing to hiring managers.

With this experience, you could get any job that involves money handling. For example, you could work as a bartender, receptionist, bank teller, or server.

Do you have cash handling skills? Make sure you include them on your resume.

3. Teamwork

Teamwork is important for any retail job. Customers expect consistent service and a friendly shopping experience. Without teamwork, mistakes can be made, and the company's culture can suffer.

If you're a team player, you'll be good at building relationships. You'll know how to communicate with your coworkers and managers, and you'll go out of your way to help others.

Team players make sure their daily duties are done and don't let the team down.

(Image Source)

Teamwork is one of the top transferable skills. Employers often have team-building exercises to show staff members how to work together.

Other jobs that rely on teamwork include servers, construction workers, chefs, bartenders, administrative assistants, and warehouse associates.

Remote workers also need to have strong teamwork skills. Without face-to-face contact, they need to use their excellent communication skills to collaborate with others.

4. Attention to detail

Next, we have attention to detail. Retail workers need to do their jobs to a high standard and make sure customers receive the right information.

To be successful, you'll have good product knowledge. If a customer asks you about a product specification or function, you should know where to find the answer.

And, one of your job duties could be to create product displays. These need to be neat and visually appealing. You could feature bestsellers, new stock, or discounted items.

When you have great attention to detail, you put effort into everything you do.

Employers like candidates who have excellent attention to detail. Industries that value this transferable skill include education, healthcare, technology, marketing, and construction.

If you want to work as a freelancer, you'll need attention to detail to help you stand out from your competitors.

5. Time management

If you work in retail, you'll gain time management skills. You'll need to arrive at your shift on time and stick to your allocated breaks.

There will be times when the retail store is busier than usual. For example, if it's the holiday season or the company is having a sale, and you'll have to serve customers quickly and efficiently.

(Image Source)

And there will be specific tasks you'll need to complete each shift.

Let's say you're a cashier. You may have to balance the cash register before you can go home. If you're a retail manager, you may have to accept shipments and order more inventory.

Time management is a transferable skill that you'll need in future job roles. You can use your time management experience to help you get hired in healthcare, government, technology, logistics, food services, or construction.

Want to work from home? Time management skills will help you balance your work and life commitments.

6. Organization

Retail workers have good organizational skills. They need to keep the workspace tidy and make sure the shelves are stocked.

Here's an example. If you work in a fashion store, the clothing will be sorted into sizes. Each piece will be neatly hung or folded, ready for customers to try on. During your shift, you'll make sure all clothing is put back in the right place. You'll also keep the storeroom organized.

Organization is a key skill in retail. But it can be useful in other jobs. If you're organized, you can work independently in a work-from-home role.

Other fields that need good organization include nursing, interior design, dentistry, construction, and food services.

7. Technology

Technology skills are essential in almost every industry. Your retail job can give you experience using technology and help you gain problem-solving skills.

For example, you may use a computer to process payments, answer emails, and check inventory.

You may have to scan barcodes and print product codes. Some retail workers use social media to promote the brand.

(Image Source)

If you're a fast learner and know how to use technology, it'll be appealing to hiring managers. This transferable skill can help you get a job in administration, business, technology, advertising, finance, or computing.

For those who want to switch to a remote role, technology skills will be at the top of any employer's must-have list.

What jobs can you do after working in retail?

When you work in retail, the skills you learn can help you in different fields. If you're looking for a new career path, here are a few popular options.

Please note that additional study may be required.


You can use your retail skills to help you land a job in administration. Popular options include administrative assistants, receptionists, and personal assistants.

And there are remote positions, such as virtual assistants and call center operators.

Some of the retail skills you'll need to change careers include technology, customer service, time management, and teamwork.

Browse administration positions on our job board.

Food services

If you've worked in retail, you could be a good fit for a food services job. Both industries are fast-paced and rely on excellent customer service.

Potential job options include servers, restaurant managers, bartenders, chefs, bussers, and kitchen assistants. Besides customer service, transferable retail skills such as cash handling, organization, and time management will be beneficial.

Browse food services positions on our job board.


Banking and retail have similarities. If you want to apply for a job as a bank teller, branch manager, or wealth advisor, you can highlight your retail skills.

Cash handling, organization, technology, attention to detail, customer service, and time management are all transferable to the banking industry.

(Image Source)

Remember, you'll still be dealing with customers, so the hiring manager will be interested in learning about your communication and listening skills.

Browse banking positions on our job board.


To get a job in healthcare, you'll need to be caring and compassionate. There are a range of jobs available, including nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, and paramedics.

If you want to make a career transition to healthcare, you may need an associate's or bachelor's degree.

When it's time to apply for a job, you can share some of the skills you gained working in retail.

For example, attention to detail, organization, teamwork, and time management are all important in healthcare.

Browse health positions on our job board.


Want to leave retail and work in education? Once you're qualified, you can get a job as a teacher or teacher's aide.

Or, you can work as a remote tutor and support students via video chat.

There are a few key skills you'll need for a career in education. Some of these you'll gain in retail such as technology skills, good time management, organization, and attention to detail.

Browse education positions on our job board.

(Image Source)

Where to find retail jobs

Chances are, there's a retail job available in your area. You can start your job search by visiting our job board.

Try these retail job searches:

Want a remote e-commerce job? Select "remote work only" to filter the results.

Retail transferable skills can help your long-term career goals

Retail can be a good place to start your career. You can work your way up the retail ladder or use your skills to transition to another industry.

In this article, we discussed some of the top retail transferable skills. Our list includes customer service, cash handling, teamwork, attention to detail, time management, organization, and technology.

These skills can help you get a job in a range of industries, including administration, food services, banking, healthcare, and education.

Want to apply for a job in retail or start a new career journey? See what’s available in your area by visiting our job board.

Don’t forget; you can read more articles like this one in our resource center.



There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment.