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Retailing: Skills & Talents

The field of retailing calls on the following skills:

Key Skill Area Requirement
People skills: High
Sales skills: High
Communication skills: High
Analytical skills: Low
Ability to synthesize: Medium
Creative ability: Medium
Initiative: High
Work hours: 35-65/week


People Skills are Key
Because of constant contact with customers, retailing is a people-oriented business. Sales skills are also very important since many retail jobs involve selling or buying from sellers. Although retail sellers may not have to solve as many customer problems as do industrial sellers, a sense of empathy is still important. 

Enthusiasm counts.
It would be hard to find a profession which places a greater emphasis on enthusiasm. People with good attitudes and a willingness to be flexible and resourceful thrive in retail. 

Little Travel.
Unless you are a buyer, the travel requirements of retailing are modest. This means you'll have a good chance of being able to spend more time with your family and will be able to be more embedded in your community than would be possible if you were in certain other jobs.

Abnormal hours
A retailer's daily activities are more structured than some other forms of marketing. The negative impression about retailing is that retailers work long hours and for relatively low reward. There is a lot of truth to that impression. Since retail stores are usually open nights and weekends, some work schedules may not be the typical 9 to 5, Monday through Friday schedule of other professions.

Pay can be an issue
Starting salaries are low, but pay can increase as the individual moves into management or some retailing specialty job.

MBA not required.
Retailing is a high potential field where most senior executives do not have MBAs. Because the key success factors are enthusiasm, hard work and speed, time spent in business school is less valuable than in other fields such as product management or consulting. This said, business education can be quite helpful. Understanding of merchandising, finance and inventory control are highly valued in the retail sector.

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