Find and Keep the Best Retail Industry Careers

Retail Careers 101: The Best Job Is Always the 'Right Fit' Retail Job

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Finding and keeping the best retail industry jobs in 2015 and beyond is more than just trolling the malls during seasonal holiday hiring sprees to find the retail employer offering the best employee discount. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2015, there were approximately 15.7 million people employed in the U.S. retail industry, many of them working to create a retail career path, not just supplement their income with a no-education-required entry level retail job.

Because of the ultra-competitive retail environment and the quickly shifting retail paradigm, those with an eye on a retail career will need to have an outlook that is out of the ordinary and a professional contribution that is extraordinary to compete in an industry that is under extreme economic pressure. If there were a course in Retail Careers 101, the curriculum would focus on expert job hunting skills and a professional approach to creating a retail career path.  

One thing that many retail job seekers don't consider as they work to create a fulfilling and successful retail career for themselves is the concept of "right fit."

Finding the Best Retail Jobs

The best retail job is not necessarily the one with the best pay and the best benefits. The best retail job might not even be found anywhere on the Fortune “Best Retail Companies to Work For” list. Instead, the best job is the one that matches the talents, skills, values and personal goals of the individual.

A 2007 study conducted at the University of Chicago concluded that those who are happiest in their jobs in the U.S. are those who work as clergy. If you are not a particularly spiritual person, however, it would be easy to see how this would not be a dream job, but rather a 24/7 nightmare. The best job for anyone in any profession is the one which is the best fit.

Finding the best “right fit” job is about knowing yourself first, and then matching your identity and goals with the identity and goals of an employer. In the short term it might seem more important to get a job that gives the best compensation, but in the long-term, most employees are chronically dissatisfied until they get a job that provides the best personal fulfillment.

Keeping the Best Retail Jobs

Just because you get a job somewhere in the retail industry doesn’t mean that you’re going to keep it forever. In times of slowdowns, cutbacks, and layoffs, the difference between the employees with paychecks and the employees with pink slips is determined more by contribution than seniority.

The indispensable employees in any organization are the ones whose contributions are obvious. Those who do more than their job description requires, and exceed expectations, will be the ones that the organization will never want to let go. The best way to make a positive impression on the managers in charge of hiring and firing is first, to be impressive.

Creating the Best Retail Career Path

Some career paths are direct and clear, some are windy and brambly, and with some careers, the path will come into existence when the first industrious person forges it. Career paths are as predictable as the business itself. That means, for most retail organizations, that career paths are not predictable at all.

Many of the CEOs and top executives in today’s U.S. retail organizations did not have a steady ascent up a straight and narrow corporate ladder. Often the work histories of top managers reveal company-hopping, industry-jumping, and specialized expertise gained completely separately from the retail industry.

You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to be. Getting an end goal in your sites is a good first step. But even when you’re clear about your ultimate career destination, it’s not always clear which steps will get you there. When in doubt, take any step that gives you some type of learning or growth because any kind of expansion is always progress.