Skills You Can Gain Working in Retail

Posted by: Mia Lewis Post Date: 28th October 2015

There’s no better time to grab some experience in retail, with stores looking for employees and apprentices to assist with the onslaught of customers this Christmas.

Fortunately, that means there are plenty of opportunities available for apprentices to gain some valuable retail experience, which will no doubt give your CV a boost with plenty of new skills to attract potential employers.

Here’s a few transferable skills you could gain in retail, which are important in just about any job role:

Interpersonal Skills

Maya Angelou once said: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ These are words to live by when working in retail. Showing positivity and confidence with customers is crucial, as it will create a positive customer experience which will have them returning to the store again and again.

Working in retail can also improve your abilities to persuade and negotiate. You may also develop a great deal of patience when working with the demands of customers. Patience is a virtue in retail – and is definitely an understated skill in any work environment!

Money Handling

Businesses are always on the lookout for reliable individuals. Money handling is a skill that shows you can not only be trustworthy with large sums of cash, but that you can also count well (which, believe it or not, is a skill that employers look out for!)

Keeping Calm in Stressful Situations

Working in retail can teach you how to work well under pressure, whilst maintaining an image that you’re cool as a cucumber. Remember, the way you have acted will have a lasting effect on the customers – and if you’re sweating, ranting, and frazzled, it could affect the way customers look at the business.

If the queue at the till is growing longer, and you have an unhappy customer returning an item, try to see this potentially stressful situation as a test. Convince yourself that stress is the body’s way of preparing you for a challenge – and that you should rise to it. Learning how to keep calm under pressure is not just a skill that will make you more employable, it is an important life skill.

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Product Knowledge

In any role that involves selling, knowledge is power – the more you know about the product, the more effective you will be as a seller. Working in retail will give you the opportunity to learn about the products and services the business offers, and will build your confidence when answering customer questions. You could also end up making suggestions and recommendations to the customer that they wouldn’t have known otherwise, giving them memorable customer service.


Quite often retail jobs will involve shift work, meaning you will have to be organised with working at different times. Being responsible and reliable shows that you have great self-management, and is an important trait that all employers look for.

Self-management also shows you are willing to improve your own performance, and that you are flexible enough to take on a variety of roles. Using your retail experience as an example, you can show future employers that you are always trustworthy enough to get the job done.

Looking to start earning while learning on a retail apprenticeship?

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