Employment in the retail sector has been steadily increasing since April 2013, with workforce numbers going from around 15k to almost 15.2k. There’s also been a drop in unemployment in this sector, showing its strength even in these tough economic times.

However, despite this good news, it’s not always easy finding a job in retail. Whether you’re just starting out or you have a little experience already, it’s important that you look to improve your skills wherever possible.

If you’re wondering how you should go about this, here are some tips:

1) Get some customer service experience

The first clear step to improving your chances of getting a job in retail is to get yourself some customer service experience. This is sure to greatly help your chances, and it’ll give you a big plus against your name.

But how can you do this if you don’t currently have a job, or you don’t work in a client-facing role?

One of the easiest answers to this is to start volunteering. Whether you volunteer at an animal shelter, a charity shop or elsewhere, you can request that you be given a role that puts in contact with the general public so that you can brush up on your customer service skills.

Also, volunteering often looks great on your resume.

2) Know what it means to be a people person

Being a people person is more than just about liking being around people.

In a retail role, it means you’re willing to go above and beyond to help someone, that you always greet people with a genuine smile and a friendly nature. Even when people are rude to you, you respond in a kind manner and work to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

3) Show your ability to work under pressure

This is a key skill for the retail sector, as it can often be fairly stressful in this kind of role. You’ll probably need to work to strict deadlines and be able to cope with incredibly busy periods without losing your cool, and you’ll need to be able to help customers while rushing around.

Even if you’ve never worked in a retail position before, you should be able to find some kind of experience that can show off your ability to work under pressure. You could take moments from your everyday life, for example. If you’re a parent to a large family, or if you worked to tight deadlines in education, you could draw on these experiences in interviews.

4) Brush up on your numeracy skills

Having good numeracy skills is sure to aid you in a retail role, as you’ll often need to count and carry out complicated sums in your head. This is especially the case if you’ll be working on a till, where you’ll be handling customers’ cash. You must be able to give them back the correct change, otherwise issues could arise.

You could either work on your numeracy at home, or enroll in a class to recap your skills.

5) Be a team player

This is possibly the most important thing about working in retail – being part of a team. You must be a team player if you want to succeed in this career, and showing that you’re happy to work as part of a team is key.

Whether you worked on group projects at school, you work as part of a team in your current job or when volunteering, you must show how you could slot easily into a team.

Do you know of any other great ways that you could improve your marketability in the retail sector? Let us know!

This guest post was written by Aurora Johnson, who has a passion for retail employment, on behalf of The Shop Fitting Shop, a specialist provider of retail display equipment and shopfittings.

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/RecruiterCori

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