If you don’t know how to break into retail management jobs, it can seem like a rather confusing career step. Whether you’re a graduate with no retail knowledge or trying to move up in your retail career and don’t know how, the prospect of becoming a manager can be quite daunting.
So how do you learn the skills and eventually land the job? Become a retail trainee of course.
So, what will I actually be doing?
You’ll be learning about your future shop floor responsibilities and become an expert in all things management. With both classroom and shop floor teaching you’ll be not only gaining experience and taught the relevant skills but also learning more about your daily duties on the job, which will include:
- Maximising sales and minimising cost
- Getting involved in recruitment and motivating staff
- Managing a sales team
- Selling to customers
- Paperwork (every job has it)
- Store promotion
- Understanding of HR procedures
- Gaining an overall view of how the branch operates and adapting to their objectives
Often shadowing another manager, you’ll get company-specific training to help you settle into their store quickly.
Before you begin your training, some companies might put you in a team leader role so you can get used to some new responsibilities and adapt to managing others.
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The nitty gritty
Working regular store hours, expect to work around 40 hours a week in shifts, both during the week and on weekends. With many shops now staying open until late, expect to work evening shifts too.
Looking for a job that offers flexible hours to fit around your life? Part-time jobs are common in this role.
Although management trainees tend to have their own office, you’ll still be needed a lot on the shop floor, so don’t throw away your comfortable sales assistant shoes just yet.
As well as learning general skills, you’ll also get the opportunity to study some work based qualifications. This could include:
- NVQ Level 2 in retail skills
- Level 3 in retail
- Level 4 in sales
Money, money, money
Just because you’re working as a trainee doesn’t mean you’re going to be broke for the next few months, and when you first start you can earn between £14,000 and £20,000.
Once you’ve got some experience, your salary can rise to between £21,000 and £28,000.
Become a senior store manager and you could be earning around £40,000.
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The good points...
This is a fast moving industry that’s sure to keep you busy, so you’ll never be bored or sat twiddling your thumbs.
Career progression in retail is excellent, and once you’ve finished being a trainee, you can quickly move on from being a store manager looking after a single shop, to an area manager that looks after several.
...and the bad
You’ll be working managerial hours, which can include early mornings, late nights, overtime and busy holiday times.
If you’re working for a large chain store, you may find yourself being sent to several different locations while you’re being trained. Sounds scary, but you’ll get used to it.
Is there study involved?
To get on a management training scheme, some companies will want you to have a qualification that’s at least Level 3 (A Levels or equivalent).
While a qualification in maths or IT can also be handy, when it comes to retail, personality and passion are much more important than what grades you have.
If you are looking to add some education on your CV, then try and make it relevant to retail. Anything that focuses on retail management, business or marketing can help you stand out and teach you transferable skills that you can use while you’re a trainee.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
To get on a trainee scheme, there are some skills that will come in handy. These include:
Good communication skills
- Ability to motivate a team
- Strong planning skills
- Good organiser
- Ability to work calmly under pressure
- Passion for retail
- Decision making ability
- Business sense
- Able to analyse sales figures
- Organisational skills
- Problem-solving skills