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The Best Retail Industry Jobs and Careers

Finding, Keeping, and Getting Promoted Into the Top Retail Jobs


Approximately 15 million people are employed in the U.S. retail industry. Currently that number is steadily shrinking. Those with an eye on a retail career and those who are already cultivating one will need an outlook that is out of the ordinary and a professional contribution that is extraordinary in order to compete in an industry that is under extreme economic pressure.

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 500 “Best 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 own 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 generally 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 to first 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.

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  5. Best Retail Industry Jobs: Find and Keep the Top Jobs and Advance Your Retail Career

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