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Career

Opportunities
in

The Retail
and Wholesale
Industry
second edition
Career
Opportunities
in

The Retail
and Wholesale
Industry
second edition

Shelly Field

Foreword by John R. Sohigian,


Senior Vice President, Marketing, Orange County Choppers
Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale Industry, Second Edition

Copyright © 2009 by Shelly Field

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic
or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval systems, without
­permission in writing from the publisher. For information contact:

Ferguson
An imprint of Facts On File, Inc.
132 West 31st Street
New York NY 10001

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Field, Shelly.
Career opportunities in the retail and wholesale indstry / Shelly Field ; foreword by John R. Sohigian. — 2nd ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-7779-3 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-8160-7779-7 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Retail trade—Vocational guidance. I. Title.
HF5429.F434 2009
381.023’73—dc22 2008053240

Ferguson books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quantities for businesses,
associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call our Special Sales Department in New York
at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755.

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Series design by Kerry Casey


Cover design by Takeshi Takahashi

Printed in the United States of America

VB Hermitage  10   9   8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1

This book is printed on acid-free paper and contains 30 percent postconsumer recycled content.
This book is dedicated to my parents, Ed and Selma Field, who were
always there to cheer me on through every step and every milestone.
Thank you for believing in my dreams and helping me along the way.
CONTENTS
How to Use This Book  ix DEPARTMENT STORES
Acknowledgments  xiii
Foreword  xv Store Manager—Department Store  54
Introduction  xvii Assistant Store Manager—Department Store  57
Department Manager—Department Store  60
Director of Public Relations—Department
MaLLS and Shopping Centers Store  63
Property Manager—Shopping Center/Mall  2 Compensation and Benefits Manager—
Mall Manager  5 Department Store  66
Public Relations Director—Shopping Payroll Clerk—Department Store  68
Center/Mall  8 Director of Human Resources—
Publicist—Shopping Center/Mall  11 Department Store  70
Marketing Director—Shopping Center/Mall  13 Human Resources Generalist—
Assistant Marketing Director—Shopping Department Store  72
Center/Mall  15 Training Manager—Department Store  74
Advertising Director—Shopping Center/Mall  18 Stock Room Manager  76
Advertising Assistant—Shopping Center/Mall  21 Loss Prevention Manager—Retail  78
Tenant Relations Manager  23 Receiving Clerk—Department Store  81
Community Relations Director— Customer Service Manager—
Mall/Shopping Center  25 Department Store  83
Information Representative—Mall/Shopping Customer Service Representative—
Center  27 Department Store  85
Customer Service Representative— Greeter  87
Mall/Shopping Center  29
Administrative Assistant—Shopping STORES, CHAINS, SHOPS,
Center or Mall Office  32
AND BOUTIQUES
Secretary—Shopping Center or Mall Office  34
Bookkeeper—Shopping Center or Mall District Manager  90
Office  36 Regional Manager—Retail  93
Janitorial Supervisor—Shopping Center/Mall  38 Manager—Specialty or Chain Store  96
Maintenance Supervisor—Shopping Assistant Manager—Specialty or Chain Store  99
Center/Mall  40 Third Key  102
Security Director—Shopping Center/Mall  42 Sales Associate  104
Security Officer—Shopping Center/Mall  44 Brand Manager  106
Leasing Director—Mall/Shopping Center  46 Buyer  109
Special Events Coordinator—Mall/Shopping Assistant Buyer  111
Center  49 Advertising Director—Retail Store  113
Director of Real Estate—Store  116 WHOLESALE
Cashier  119
Tailor—Clothing Store, Department Store/ Sales Manager—Wholesale  198
Boutique  121 District Manager—Wholesale  201
Billing Manager—Department or Specialty Market Researcher—Manufacturer  204
Store  123 Consumer Affairs Manager—Manufacturer/
Billing Clerk—Department or Specialty Store  125 Wholesale  207
Window Dresser  127 Wholesale Sales Representative  209
Stock Clerk  129 Sales Trainer—Wholesale  212
Trainer—Retail  131 Manufacturer’s Representative  215
Promotions Manager—Retail Store  133 Trade Show Representative—Wholesale  218
Art Director—Retail  135 Rack Jobber  221
Graphic Artist—Retail  138 Purchasing Manager—Wholesale  224
Personal Shopper  140 Warehouse Manager—Wholesale
Special Events Director—Retail Store  142 Manufacturer or Distributor  226
Mystery Shopper  145 Executive Director, Retail or Wholesale Trade
Product Demonstrator  147 Association  229
Comparison Shopper  149
Store Manager—Grocery/Supermarket  151 Appendixes
Wrapper/Bagger—Grocery Store/
Supermarket  154 I. Degree and Non-Degree Programs  234
Sales Manager—Auto Sales  156 A. Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Car Salesperson  158 Offering Majors in E-Commerce  234
B. Four-Year Colleges and Universities
E-COMMERCE, MAIL ORDER, AND Offering Majors in Apparel and
Accessory Marketing  239
DIRECT RESPONSE SHOPPING C. Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Marketing Director—Web Store  162 Offering Majors in Public Relations  240
Webmaster—On-Line Store or Catalog  165 D. Four-Year Colleges and Universities
Customer Service Manager—On-Line Store Offering Majors in Advertising  250
or Catalog  168 E. Two-Year Colleges and Universities
Direct Response Copywriter  171 Offering Majors in Retailing  257
Catalog Copywriter  173 II. Trade Associations, Unions, and Other
Call Center Representative  175 Organizations  260
III. Directory of Chain Stores  268
IV. Directory of Department Stores  272
TELEVISION SHOPPING V. Directory of Supermarkets/Groceries  274
CHANNELS VI. Directory of Catalog Companies  278
VII. Directory of Television Shopping
Television Shopping Channel Show Host  178
Channels  282
Buyer—Television Shopping Channel  182
VIII. Directory of Manufacturers and Other
Fashion Stylist—Television Shopping
Companies  283
Channel  185
Product Information Copywriter—Television
Glossary  310
Shopping Channel  188
Bibliography  312
Web Site Content Producer—Television Shopping
Index  323
Channel  191
About the Author  330
Customer Service Representative—Television
Shopping Channel  194

viii     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


How to Use
This Book
Since the first edition of this book was published sites are more popular than ever both with buyers
in 2001, the retail and wholesale industries have and sellers. Because of the Internet, individuals and
expanded more than anyone ever could have large companies can open online stores for cus-
imagined. While some major stores have merged, tomers from almost anyplace in the world. Many
department stores, chains, and specialty stores con- online stores are stand-alone entities that built their
tinue to be abundant. And although a number of success with great customer service and creative
well-known retailers have closed their doors, others marketing.
have emerged to fill the void. Develop­ers continue The retail and wholesale industry offers a wide
to build new malls and shopping centers to replace array of career options. No matter what your
older, less appealing centers. There are super­stores interest or your experience level, opportunities
and mini-marts to shop in as well as large supermar­ exist. Retail and wholesale jobs are located almost
kets, warehouse clubs, small groceries and more. everywhere. There are full-time and part-time jobs.
Shopping as an activity continues to be a national Openings are available for those who choose retail-
pastime, drawing people to stores and malls. ing and whole­saling as their main career choice, for
All you need to do is turn on your TV late at young people still in high school, and for retirees
night to see infomercials filling the airwaves into seeking to augment a fixed income or start another
the early morning hours. Tele­vised shopping chan- exciting career. There are also a wide array of
nels have become an accepted option for both opportunities for those seeking to start their own
buyers and sellers. Some of the most prominent retail business.
designers now create exclusive lines specifically for This book was designed to help you prepare for
television shopping channels, because they have interesting, exciting, fun, and rewarding careers in
seen the opportunity to sell millions of dollars of the retail and wholesale industry. One of the best
merchandise in a very short time period. Manufac- things about a career in retail is you can generally
turers of electronics, computers, housewares, toys, always find employment. Another is that dedi­cated,
gourmet foods, and more also see the opportunity hardworking employees can quickly move up the
to sell thousands of pieces of merchandise in a few career ladder—often even if they don’t have higher
short minutes of on-air time. education.
Catalogs still sell every conceivable item and Thousands are currently working in the retail
most now have an online shopping presence as well. and whole­sale industries. Many more are eager to
Online shopping has exploded. There is virtually no enter but have no concept of what career oppor-
major retailer that does not offer an online alterna- tunities are available, where to find them, or what
tive for their customers. Companies can send out training and qualifications are required.
an e-mail blast to thousands of people touting a Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale
special sale at a moment’s notice. EBay and similar Industry is the single most comprehensive source

ix
for learning about job opportuni­ties in this grow- edition of the book. This brings the total number of
ing field. This book was written for everyone who career opportunities to 90.
aspires to work in retail and wholesale whether just
for the jobs it provides or to create a career. It will Sources of Information
give you an edge over other applicants. The jobs
discussed in this book include careers not only in Information for this book was obtained through
selling, but also in the business, administration, interviews, questionnaires, and a variety of books,
marketing, creative, and management areas. magazines, newslet­ters, literature, and television
The retail and wholesale industry offers an array and radio programs. Some information was gath-
of opportunities and requires people with a variety ered through 14 years of personal experience as a
of skills and talents: salespeople, secretaries, book­ marketing, public relations, and mall man­agement
keepers, property managers, Webmasters, artists, consultant. Other data was obtained from business
leasing people, security employees, administrative associates in various areas of the retail and whole-
assistants, special event coordinators, advertising sale industry.
directors, customer ser­vice representatives, store Among the people interviewed were men and
managers, buyers, mystery shop­pers, executives, car women in all aspects of retailing and wholesaling.
salespeople, copywriters, call center representatives, These include indi­viduals working in the busi-
trade show representatives, television shopping ness, administration, and man­agement end of the
show hosts, directors, producers, stylists, mer- industry as well as frontline employees and support
chandisers, and more. The trick to locating the job personnel. Also interviewed were human resources
you want is developing your skills and using them directors and staff, training managers, publicists,
to enter these exciting and expanding indus­tries. marketing managers, property managers, sales-
Once you have your foot in the door, you can climb people, store managers, leasing directors, district
the career ladder to success. managers, security people, maintenance super-
visors, mall management personnel, developers,
What Is New in the Second Edition marketing coordi­nators, public relations directors,
benefit coordinators, store managers, sales associ-
The second edition of Career Opportunities in the ates, television show hosts, producers, directors,
Retail and Wholesale Industry is full of updated secretaries, administrative assistants, and others.
information. All salaries, employment and advance- Interviews included personnel from large and small
ment prospects, training and educational require- malls and shopping centers, outlet centers, manu-
ments, and unions and associations for each job facturers, specialty stores, discount stores, chains,
profile were reviewed and updated when neces- department stores, car dealerships, groceries and
sary. The information in every appendix has been supermarkets, television shopping channels, dis-
updated as well, giving you the most up-to-date tributors, online stores, schools, colleges, unions,
names, addresses, phone numbers, and Web sites of and trade associations.
colleges and universities, trade associations, unions
and other organizations, chain stores, department
Organization of Material
stores, supermarkets and groceries, catalog com-
panies, television shopping channels, and manu- Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale
facturers and other companies. New books and Industry is divided into six general employment
periodicals complete the bibliography. sections. These sec­tions are: Malls and Shopping
A new appendix has also been added to make it Centers; Department Stores; Stores, Chains, Shops,
easier for you to find more job opportunities with a and Boutiques; E-Commerce, Mail Order, and
listing of career and employment Web sites. Direct Response Shopping; Television Shopping
While the first edition of Career Opportunities in Channels; and Wholesale. Within each of these sec-
the Retail and Wholesale Industry was very compre- tions are descriptions of individual careers.
hensive in its coverage of careers and key jobs, nine There are two parts to each job classification.
new job profiles have been added to the updated The first part offers job information in a chart form.

x Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


The second part presents information in a narrative This book will help you take the first step toward
text. In addition to the basic career description, prepar­ing for a great career. Job opportunities
you will find additional informa­tion on unions and exist throughout the country and the world and
associations as well as tips for entry. are increasing every day. Opportunities exist in
Eleven appendixes are offered to help locate malls, shopping centers, outlets, discount stores,
information you might want or need to get started chains, department stores, specialty shops, auto
looking for a job in the field. These appendixes dealerships, televi­sion shopping channels, catalogs,
include four-year colleges and universities offering manufacturers, whole­salers, online, and more.
degree programs in apparel and accessory market- No matter which facet of the retail or wholesale
ing; public relations; and advertising; two-year job mar­ket you choose to enter, you can find a
col­lege degree programs in retail management; career that is reward­ing, exciting, challenging, and
listings of trade associations and unions and other fun. The jobs are out there waiting for you. You just
organizations; a bibliography of books and peri- have to go after them.
odicals related to the retail and wholesale indus- Persevere. I know you will have a great career!
try; directories of chain stores, department stores,
Shelly Field
supermarkets, and groceries; catalog companies;
www.shellyfield.com
television shopping channels; manufacturers and
other companies; retail and wholesale career Web
sites; and a glossary.

How to Use This Book xi


acknowledgments
I would like to thank every individual, company, Gatto; Sheila Gatto; Gem Communications; Mor-
union, and association that provided information, ris Gerber; Alex Goldman; Larry Goldsmith; Sam
assistance, and encouragement for this book. Goldych; Gail Haberle; Lillian Hendrickson; Her-
I acknowledge with appreciation my editor, mann Memorial Library staff; David Hernandez,
James Cham­bers, for his help and encouragement. Community College of Southern Nevada; Hank
I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Hershey; Joan Howard; International Brotherhood
Sarah Fogarty for her assistance in the completion of Electrical Workers; International Council of
of this book. Shopping Centers; Isle of Capri Casinos; Jimmy
I gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Ed “Handyman” Jones; Linda Joslin; Dave Kleinman;
Field for his ongoing support in this and every Janice Kleinman; K-LITE Radio; Bruce Kohl, Bos-
other of my projects. ton Herald.com; Crystal Lauter; Karen Leever;
Others whose help was invaluable include Ellen Liberty Central School; Liberty Public Library
Ackerman; Advertising Club of New York; Adver- staff; Ernie Martinelli; Robert Masters, Esq; Pat
tising Council; Advertising Research Foundation; Matthews; Richard Mayfield; Judy McCoy; June
Advertising Women of New York, Inc.; Harrison E. McDonald; Phillip Mestman; Rima Mestman;
Allen; Julie Allen; American Association of Adver- MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV; Beverly Michaels,
tising Agencies; Allan Banish; Dan Barrett; Lloyd Esq.; Martin Michaels, Esq.; Middletown Honda,
Barriger, Barriger and Barriger; Steve Blackman; Middletown, N.Y.; Monticello Central School High
Theresa Bull; Earl “Speedo” Carroll; Eileen Casey; School Library staff; Monticello Central School
Catskill Development; Anthony Cellini, Town of Middle School Library staff; Jennifer Morganti;
Thompson supervisor; Brandi Cesario; Patricia David Morris; National Association of Music Mer-
Claghorn; Dr. Jessica L. Cohen; Lorraine Cohen; chants; National Association of Recording Mer-
Norman Cohen; Jan Cornelius; Crawford Library chandisers; National Music Publishers Association;
staff; Margaret Crossley; Meike Cryan; Daniel National Retail Federation; Earl Nesmith; New-
Dayton; W. Lynne Dayton; Carrie Dean; Charlie burgh Free Library; Marvin Newman; New York
Devine, Devine Realty, Inc.; Direct Mail/Marketing State Employment Service; Nikkodo, U.S.A., Inc.;
Association, Inc.; Direct Marketing Educational Ellis Norman, UNLV; Peter Notarstefano; Heather
Foundation, Inc.; Joseph Doucette, general sales Dawn O’Keefe; Outlet Bound; Ivy Pass; Ed Pear-
manager, Middletown Honda; Dress Barn; Michelle son, Nokkodo, USA; Herb Perry; Barbara Pezzella;
Edwards; Scott Edwards; Cliff Ehrlich, Catskill Public Relations Society of America; Doug Puppel;
Development; Dan England; Ernest Evans; Julie QVC; Harvey Rachlin; Ramapo Catskill Library
Evans; Sara Feldberg; Field Associates, Ltd.; Debo- system; Doug Richards; John Riegler; Diane Ruud,
rah K. Field, Esq.; Edwin M. Field; Greg Field; Lil- Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants;
lian (Cookie) Field; Mike Field; Robert Field; Selma Bob Saludares, Community Employment Training
G. Field; Rob Fier; Finkelstein Memorial Library Center, Las Vegas, NV; Michael Seiter; Joy Shaf-
staff; David Garthe, CEO, Graveyware.com; John fer; Stuart Slakoff, Professional Programs, Inc.;

xiii
M. D. Smith; Raun Smith; Smith Employment Kaytee Warren; Marc Weiswasser; Carol Williams;
Agency; John Sohigian, Orange County Choppers; John Williams; Ann Williamson; John Wolfe, gen-
Laura Solomon; Debbie Springfield; Matthew E. eral manager, WTZA-Television; WSUL Radio,
Strong; Sullivan County Community College; The WVOS Radio and WTZA.
Teenagers; United States Department of Labor; My thanks also to the many people, associations,
Brian Vargas; Brian Anthony Vargas; Sarah Ann com­panies, and organizations that provided mate-
Vargas; Pat Varriale; Amy Vasquez; Pat Vasquez; rial for this book that wish to remain anonymous.

xiv Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Foreword
When Shelly Field asked me to write the foreword a team that is first and foremost sales oriented.
for this book, I was happy to do so. The retail and Orange County Choppers is the world’s premier
wholesale industries have given me the opportunity custom motorcycle manufacturer.
to have a great career, and I wanted to share some Orange County Choppers is also an entertain-
of my thoughts about how this book can do the ment property. The motorcycle shop is featured
same for you. on American Chopper, TLC’s popular television
When I was first starting out, I wasn’t sure what series. I would venture to guess that when most
career path I would take. And while I knew there people watch American Chopper, they often don’t
were a lot of different opportunities, I wasn’t sure even consider that the show is based on a huge
where I would fit in. I knew that whatever I did, I retail and wholesale business. As a manufacturer of
wanted to make a difference. I wanted every day to motorcycles, Orange County Choppers buys parts,
have challenges that I could meet. I wanted to see a manufactures and sells other parts, and of course
company succeed because of the work I did. sells motorcycles. We wholesale to dealers as well
I knew I had a lot of skills and talents, and I as selling directly to the public.
wanted to be able to use them effectively. And I Our buyers search for the best parts at the best
knew I loved the sports and entertainment busi- prices. Our warehouse manager makes sure that
nesses and wanted to somehow find a way to have the right parts are stocked in appropriate quantities.
them be part of my career. Our sales manager makes sure that the right quan-
Through a lot of work and a bit of luck, I have tity of each model is built to meet dealer and con-
been able to carve out an exciting and fulfilling sumer demand. And our sales team keeps up to date
career in both the retail and wholesale industries. If on all product attributes as well as industry trends to
this is your goal as well, Career Opportunities in the be knowledgeable for all consumer questions.
Retail and Wholesale Industry is the book to help At Orange County Choppers, our business
you take the next step in your career. It is important touches on just about every retail channel imagin-
to know that no matter what segment of an indus- able. It relies on retail to bolster its image and drive
try you choose to work in, there will be an array of the bottom line by selling products with their logos
careers for you to choose. and similar intellectual property. Retailers rely on
As a 25-year veteran of the sports and entertain- these properties to drive sales and add excitement
ment businesses, I have been in sales for my entire and popular culture to their product mixes and in-
career. While your career aspirations might be in a store promotions.
different area of either the retail or wholesale indus- Orange County Choppers, like many other com-
try, I think you’ll find this new edition of Shelly’s panies, licenses its logos and images to consumer
book will help you zero in on exactly what you products companies to manufacture products using
might want to do and help you find ways to prepare those marks. From T-shirts, hats, and other apparel to
for your career. video games, toys, pet products, and even trucks and
In my current position as the senior vice presi- auto aftermarket products, licensed products account
dent of Orange County Choppers, I work with for billions of dollars in retail sales annually.

xv
Orange County Choppers sells goods directly what, the retail/wholesale industry is not going to
to consumers through our Web-based e-commerce go away.
store, as well as our own retail operation. We sell If you have the desire, opportunities will always
licensed products as well as products that we source exist to have a fulfilling career in wholesale and
directly. As part of this chain, there are manufactur- retail. The industry needs smart, hardworking peo-
ers’ sales representatives, merchandisers, promo- ple who are capable of following and predicting
tion managers, retail buyers, retail salespeople, and trends, tracking consumer habits, and thinking
more. outside the box. Shelly’s book is chock-full of
We have someone who sources products from dif- information about the types of jobs that exist, skills
ferent vendors, such as apparel and die-cast motor- necessary to secure those jobs, tips on how to stand
cycles, etc. We have a buyer who is responsible for out, and, most important, a directory of key organi-
all products in our store and on our Web site, a store zations to seek employment.
manager who is responsible for all store employees Use this book as a tool to assist in the process
including scheduling, training, customer service, of your career growth. Make it your career work-
etc., as well as a senior vice president who oversees book. Take its cues; look for subtle suggestions and
all aspects of the consumer products business. recommendations that can help you in your job
Virtually all of these functions can be found in search. Compare your interests and skill set with
some form in this book. As you embark on your job job requirements. Rank the jobs by your interest
search, be aware that there has probably never been level and passions. Ask yourself what intangibles
a more challenging time for the entire retail indus- you can bring to a job that might set you apart from
try. It is important to note that following years of other applicants.
unprecedented growth, a global economic crisis has Step up and stand out, and you can look forward
caused consumers to stop spending. However, with to an exciting and fulfilling career in this industry.
that said, no matter what the economy is, people
­—John R. Sohigian
will still have to eat and clothe themselves. They
SVP, Marketing
still will want to buy the little extras that make life
Orange County Choppers
worth living. What this all means is that no matter

xvi Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Introduction
Imagine what life would be like if, when you needed it difficult to live if it did not exist. There are depart-
something, you could not just go to the store and ment stores, specialty stores, super­markets, malls,
buy it. Imagine what life would be like without outlets, and shopping centers for people to buy
supermarkets, discount stores, department stores, everything they want and need. Catalogs, televised
specialty shops, online shopping, etc. Luckily, you shop­ping, and online options also are available.
do not have to. Retail is bigger today than ever Thousands and thou­sands of people work in the
before. And while we now take it for granted that various segments of the retail and wholesale indus-
when we need groceries, clothing, housewares, try. You can be one of them.
electronics, automobiles, or almost anything else, As you read the various sections in this book
we simply go to a store, go online, or go to one of searching to find the perfect job, keep in mind that
the other many types of retail outlets available, it every job can be a learning experience and a step-
was not always like this. ping stone to the next level. I have given you the
Trade has always existed. It was not the sophis- guidelines. You have to do the rest.
ticated form of shopping that we know today, but it Within each section of this book you will find all
was trade just the same. Throughout history, peo­ple of the information necessary to acquaint you with
traded with each other first to get necessities such as most of the important jobs in the industry. A key to
food and clothing, and then to obtain the luxuries the organization of each entry follows:
of the day. Barter may have preceded the exchange
of money in trading and still exists to some extent, Alternate Titles
but today money is the medium of exchange.
Before there were marketplaces, there were Many jobs in retail and wholesale, as in all indus-
peddlers, traveling salespeople, and trading cara- tries, are known by alternate titles. The duties of
vans. Then people traveled to marketplaces in these jobs are the same; only the name is different.
towns where small stalls sold specialty items and Titles vary from company to company.
wares. As time went on, towns established gen­eral
stores where almost anything could be purchased. Career Ladder
In 1879, Aaron Montgomery Ward founded the The career ladder illustrates a normal job progres-
company known as Montgomery Ward. That same sion. Remember that in many parts of retail and
year F. W. Woolworth opened its first five and wholesale there are no hard-and-fast rules. Job
dime. By 1902, James C. Penney founded his com- progression may not neces­sarily follow a precise
pany, JC Penney. In 1961, Target was founded, order.
followed in 1962 by the founding of Wal-Mart by
Sam Walton.
Over the years, retail and wholesale have evolved
Position Description
into a multibillion-dollar business. We all reap the Every effort has been made to give well-rounded job
benefits and pleasures of this trade and would find descriptions. Keep in mind that no two companies

xvii
are structured exactly the same. Therefore, no two but it might help prepare a person for life in the
jobs will be exactly alike. workplace. Education and training also encompass
courses, seminars, programs, on-the-job training,
Salary Ranges and learning from others. Volunteer work, intern-
ships, and even helping out in family businesses can
Salary ranges for the job titles in this book are as look good on your résumé.
accurate as possible. Earnings for a job will depend
on how large and prestigious a com­pany is, where
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
it is located, and the applicant’s experience, educa-
tion, training, and responsibilities. This section indicates experience requirements as
well as specific skills and personality traits neces-
Employment Prospects sary for each job. These will differ from job to job.
Whatever job you want, being outgoing helps.
If you choose a job that has an EXCELLENT, Networking is essential to success. Contacts are
GOOD, or FAIR rating, you are lucky. You will have important in all facets of the business. Make as
an easier time finding a job. If, however, you would many as you can. These people can often be helpful
like to work at a job that has a POOR rating, don’t in advancing your career.
despair. The rating only means that it may be dif-
ficult to obtain a job, not that finding one is totally
impossible.
Best Geographical Location
Most jobs in retail can be located throughout the
Advancement Prospects country. Wholesale jobs may be easier to locate in
large cities or areas where there is more industry. If
Try to be as cooperative and helpful as possible in you are creative in your job hunting, opportunities
the workplace. Don’t attempt to see how little work may be found most any­where in the country.
you can do. Be enthusiastic, energetic, and outgo-
ing. Go that extra step that no one expects. Learn
Unions/Associations
as much as you can. When a job advancement pos-
sibility opens up, make sure that you’re prepared to This section offers other sources for career informa-
take advantage of it. tion and assistance. Unions and trade associations
A variety of options for career advancement are offer valuable help in obtaining career guidance,
included. However you should be aware there are support, and personal contacts. They may also offer
no hard set rules for climbing the career ladder training, continuing educa­tion, scholarships, fel-
in the retail and wholesale industry. While work lowships, seminars, and other benefi­cial programs.
performance is important, advancement in many
jobs is based on experience, education, training, Tips for Entry
employee attitude, customer service, and of course
individual career aspirations. Many companies in Use this section to gather ideas on how to get a
both retail and wholesale promote from within. The job and gain entry into the area of the business in
best way to advance your career is to get your foot which you are interested. When applying for any job
in the door and then climb the career ladder. always be as professional as possible. Dress neatly
and conservatively. Don’t wear sneak­ers. Don’t
chew gum. Don’t smoke. Don’t wear heavy per­fume
Education and Training or men’s cologne. Always have a few copies of your
This section presents the minimum educational and résumé with you. These, too, should look neat and
training requirements for each job area. This does professional. Have them typed and presented well
not mean that you should limit yourself. Try to get and checked and rechecked for gram­mar, spelling,
the best training and education possible. A college and content. If asked to fill in an application, fill
degree or background does not guarantee a job, in the entire applica­tion even if you have a résumé

xviii Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


with you. Print your informa­tion neatly. When bridges; it can hurt your career. Ask for help. Net-
applying for jobs and filling in applications, be work. Find a mentor.
prepared. Make sure you know your Social Security Remember that customer service is very impor-
num­ber. Ask people in advance whether you can tant in every segment of the retail and wholesale
use them as ref­erences. Make sure you know their industry. Even if you feel a customer is wrong, try
full names, addresses, and phone numbers. Try to to make him or her feel important and valued. The
secure at least three personal refer­ences as well as ability to provide excellent customer service will
three professional references you can use. help you excel in your career no matter the area you
The ability to go online, whether from your home work in. I can’t stress enough how critical it is to
com­puter or one in a school or public library, puts be on time for everything. This includes job inter-
you at a great advantage. No matter which aspect views, phone calls, work, and meetings. People will
of the industry piques your interest, you need to remember when you’re habitually late, and it will
be computer literate. It is always a plus. Many retail work against you in advancing your career. Have
and wholesale companies today have Web sites that faith and confidence in yourself. You will make it to
may be helpful in your quest for a perfect job. You the top eventually, but you must persevere. In many
can obtain information about companies and their instances, the individual who didn’t make it in the
cur­rent job opportunities. You can also read up on career they wanted is the one who gave up too soon
industry news or even check the classifieds from and didn’t wait that extra day.
newspapers in different areas via their online ver- The retail and wholesale industry has wonderful
sion of the paper. opportunities for a great career. Have fun reading
Use every contact you have. Don’t get hung up this book. Use it. It will help you find a career that
on the idea that you want to get a job by yourself. is rewarding and exciting. When you do get the
If you are lucky enough to know someone who job of your dreams, do someone else a favor and
can help you obtain a job, take him or her up on it. pass along the benefit of your knowledge. Help
You’ll have to prove yourself at the interview and on them too.
the job. Nobody can do that for you. (Remember to We love to hear success stories about your career
send a thank you note to the person who helped you and how this book helped you. If you have a story
as well as to the interviewer after the interview.) and want to share it, go to www.shellyfield.com. I
Once you get your foot in the door, learn as can’t wait to hear from you!
much as you can. As noted previously, doing a little Good luck!
bit more than is expected will be helpful in your
—Shelly Field
career. Be cooperative. Be a team player. Don’t burn

Introduction xix
Malls and
Shopping Centers
PROPERTY MANAGER—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Overseeing one or more shopping center prop- Property Manager for Larger,
erties; handling the day-to-day management of More Prestigious Malls, Shopping
shopping center properties; acting as owner’s agent; Centers, Management
negotiating leases and rental agreements or Development Companies
Alternate Title(s): Real Estate Manager
Salary Range: $40,000 to $125,000,000+ Property Manager—Shopping
Employment Prospects: Fair Center/Mall
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Assistant Property Manager
be located throughout the country
or Mall Manager
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Educational require-
ments vary; see text
Experience—Experience in mall management, real skills; ability to deal well with people; administra-
estate management, or related fields necessary tive skills
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem Special Requirements—Voluntary certification for
solving skills; negotiation skills; communication shopping center management

Position Description Manager is expected to make sure all the rents and fees
The retail Property Manager is responsible for overseeing are collected and credited properly. He or she must also
one or more shopping center properties. The individual pay all bills, mortgages, taxes, insurance premiums, and
acts as the owner’s agent representing landlords, owners, payrolls and account for all expenditures.
and investors of shopping centers and malls. In some The Property Manager must be adept at tenant rela-
situations, the Property Manager also oversees additional tions. It is essential that the individual deal well with
income producing properties such as office buildings, people and keep tenants as happy as possible. Tenants
residential buildings, and commercial properties. need to feel that their problems and concerns are taken
The responsibilities of Property Managers vary seriously. If they feel otherwise, they will not renew
depending on the specific situation and structure of the their leases.
company with which he or she works. In smaller com- One of the most important functions of Property
panies, the Property Manager may have more general Managers is problem solving. A leaky roof, a lack of
duties. In larger companies, the individual may handle customers, a negative story about the mall in the media,
more specific responsibilities. The Property Manager at a snow covered parking lot, a flood in one of the stores,
one company may, for example, oversee mall managers or a new store which is not ready on time can all turn
at various malls. Another company may not employ into disasters if not handled quickly and efficiently. A
on-site managers and the Property Manager must float successful Property Manager will know what to do and
from center to center making frequent visits to each. who to call to resolve every situation.
This job involves a great deal of bookkeeping and Property Managers lease empty stores and other
paperwork. The Property Manager may do this alone vacant space. They may do this alone or with the help of
or it may be handled by an on-site manager, book- leasing managers, leasing agents, or leasing consultants.
keeper, and/or secretaries. While tenants are supposed As part of the job, they negotiate leases and other rental
to pay rents and other fees on a timely basis, this doesn’t agreements under the direction of the mall owners,
always happen without some prompting. The Property developers, or landlords.

2     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


An important responsibility of Property Managers administration, liberal arts, retail management, public
is bidding and negotiating contracts for services. These administration, finance, or communications.
might include grounds keeping, snow removal, security, Professional and trade associations often offer help-
janitorial, maintenance, and other services. Managers ful seminars and courses in all aspects of construction,
might also bid on and negotiate for equipment and finance, marketing, human resources, and retail man-
supplies including cleaning supplies, paper products, agement.
landscaping, or office products.
Additional duties of Property Managers might Special Requirements
include: The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
offers a voluntary certification program for shopping
•  Overseeing construction center management.
•  Dealing with governmental officials, community and
public interest groups, and public utilities Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Overseeing consultants Experience is essential in order to become a Property
•  Hiring and supervising on-site personnel Manager. Some individuals begin their careers as on-
site mall managers, promotion, marketing, or public
Salaries relations managers or in some aspect of real estate.
Annual earnings for Property Managers working Property Managers should be energetic, detail-
in shopping centers can range from approximately oriented and highly motivated. Individuals need to
$40,000 to $125,000 or more. Compensation is deter- know a great deal about many different areas. To
mined by the size, prestige, geographic location, and begin with, Property Managers should have a basic
number of properties the Manager oversees as well as understanding and knowledge of maintenance, con-
the experience, responsibilities, and education of the struction, human resources, tenant relations, com-
individual. Property Managers in some situations may munity relations, leasing, budgets, advertising, and
receive bonuses or a small percentage of ownership in marketing.
projects. One of the most important skills that a good Prop-
erty Manager should have is the ability to solve prob-
Employment Prospects lems while remaining calm. Communication skills,
Employment prospects for Property Managers are fair. both written and verbal, are essential. The ability to
Property Managers may find employment throughout work with and get along with a variety of people on all
the country. Individuals may be employed by malls or levels is necessary.
work for real estate developers, development compa-
nies, or property management companies. It should be Unions and Associations
noted that relocation may be necessary to take advan- Property Managers may be members of a number of
tage of job openings. trade associations. These include the International
Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Building
Advancement Prospects Owners and Managers Institute International (BOMII)
Property Managers can climb the career ladder in a and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
number of ways. More experience, additional training,
and certification help individuals obtain better pay- Tips for Entry
ing jobs. One of the most common methods of career 1. Many larger property management and real
advancement in this field is locating similar positions estate development companies have internships
with larger, more prestigious real estate development and training programs.
companies and property management firms. 2. There are a number of search firms dealing exclu-
sively with jobs in shopping centers and malls.
Education and Training 3. Send your resume and a cover letter to retail
Much of the training Property Managers receive is on property management companies, real estate
the job. However, whether the individual works directly development companies, and large malls.
for malls, shopping centers, real estate developers, 4. Positions are often advertised in the classified sec-
or property management companies, most employ- tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
ers require or prefer applicants with a college degree. including “Property Management,” “Property
Relevant majors might include real estate, business Manager,” or “Retail Real Estate Management.”

Malls and Shopping Centers 3


5. Jobs in this field, might also be located on-line. 6. Positions may also be advertised in trade journals
Begin your search on some of the more popu- such as Value Retail News.
lar job search sites such as the Monster board 7. Attend seminars and classes to hone skills and
(www.monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www. make professional contacts.
hotjobs.com).

4 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


MALL MANAGER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Overseeing the day-to-day management of mall Mall Manager for Larger,
or shopping center; negotiating leases and rental More Prestigious Mall or Shopping
agreements; acting as owner’s agent Center or Property Manager
Alternate Title(s): Shopping Center Manager
Salary Range: $30,000 to $100,000+ Mall Manager
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Good
Assistant Mall Manager
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
or Marketing Director
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Educational require-
ments vary; see text
Experience—Experience in mall management, mar- skills; public relations skills; ability to deal well with
keting and/or promotions preferred people; administrative skills
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem Special Requirements—Voluntary certification for
solving skills; negotiation skills; communication shopping center management

Position Description listen to concerns and try to deal with them effectively.
The Mall Manager has a great deal of responsibility. It is essential that tenants feel that they are important
He or she is responsible for overseeing everything that and are being listened to or they will not be eager to
occurs in the mall or shopping center. Some duties may renew their lease. In many centers, Mall Managers also
vary depending on the specific structure of the mall, facilitate regular tenant meetings.
while others are common to all shopping centers. The Mall Manager may be in charge of leasing space
Mall Managers represent the mall’s owner. In this or may oversee a leasing agent, director, or consultant.
capacity, the individual meets with a variety of people He or she may show stores to potential tenants, discuss
for a wide array of reasons. For example, the Mall Man- the pros of the specific mall and negotiate leases. When
ager might meet with government officials or city or negotiating, the individual must know the parameters
county representatives or attend city or town council regarding rents and extra charges.
meetings to work on changes in zoning, explore grant Customers do not enjoy shopping in unkempt,
possibilities, or lobby for tax abatements. dirty, or poorly maintained malls. One of the most
Malls and shopping centers must meet state and important functions of the Mall Manager is the mainte-
local building code requirements. The Mall Manager nance of the mall and its property. The most successful
may meet with state or local building inspectors to malls are clean and well maintained. To do this, Mall
learn how to obtain certificates of occupancy for the Managers must make sure rest rooms are kept clean
mall or its individual stores. and working; roofs are not leaking; floors are clean;
Every mall has tenants with problems and concerns and carpeting is free of debris, mold, and mildew. In
that need to be dealt with on a timely basis. Good ten- addition the Mall Manager must attend to the outside
ant relations are essential in this job. The Mall Manager of the property. This means making sure parking lots
is expected to meet with local and corporate tenants, are free of potholes, snow and ice are cleaned during
store managers, and owners, and address these con- the winter months, the building is cared for, and the
cerns. Tenants may, for example, be worried about grounds are neat and clean. The Mall Manager usually
security issues, increased rents, heavy shoplifting, mall oversees a maintenance and janitorial staff who handle
hours, or mall maintenance. Successful Mall Managers these functions.

Malls and Shopping Centers 5


The Mall Manager works with members of the mall prestigious malls or by becoming property managers
management staff. Depending on the size and structure for larger real estate developers.
of the specific property, these might include a promo-
tions director, marketing director, advertising manager, Education and Training
public relations director, construction manager, leasing Educational requirements vary from mall to mall.
director, bookkeepers, and secretaries. While much of the training individuals receive is on
There is a great deal of paperwork in this job. The the job, most employers prefer their Mall Managers to
Mall Manager must make sure accurate records are have a college degree. Others require it. Good majors
kept of rents received and all expenditures. A book- might include business, real estate, liberal arts, retail
keeper may or may not assist with this. The individual management, public administration, finance, com-
is also responsible for keeping records of accidents or munications, public relations, marketing, or related
incidents involving customers or employees occurring fields.
in the mall. He or she might interview customers who Professional and trade associations often offer help-
slipped and fell in the mall, people who had accidents ful seminars and courses in all aspects of construction,
in the parking lot, or store managers who had shop- finance, marketing, human resources, and retail man-
lifting incidents. It is imperative that every incident agement.
be documented for insurance purposes and in case of
lawsuits. Special Requirements
A great deal of what the Mall Manager does is solve The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
problems. He or she must constantly try to keep ten- offers a voluntary certification program for shopping
ants, customers, and the landlord happy. center management.
Additional duties of Mall Managers might include:
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Developing the mall’s annual budget Mall Managers begin their careers in a variety of ways.
•  Attending local community, civic, and not-for-profit Some start out as promotion or marketing directors.
meetings on behalf of the mall Others work in some aspect of real estate, manage
•  Overseeing construction stores, or work as assistant mall managers.
•  Bidding and negotiating contracts for services, equip- The ability to deal with and work well with people
ment, and supplies is essential for Mall Managers. Individuals need to be
•  Hiring and supervising on-site personnel good problem solvers, energetic, detail oriented, and
highly motivated.
Salaries A basic understanding and knowledge of mainte-
Earnings for Mall Managers can range from approxi- nance, construction, security, tenant relations, com-
mately $30,000 to $100,000 or more. Earnings are munity relations, leasing, budgets, advertising, and
affected by the size, prestige, and geographic location of marketing is necessary.
the mall, as well as the experience, responsibilities, and
education of the individual. Unions and Associations
Mall Managers in some situations may receive Mall Managers do not usually belong to a bargaining
bonuses based on increases of sales, rentals, or the han- union. They may, however, be members of a number
dling of extra projects. of trade associations. These include The International
Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Building
Employment Prospects Owners and Managers Institute International (BOMII)
Employment prospects for Mall Managers are fair. Indi- and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
viduals may find employment throughout the coun-
try. Mall Managers may be employed by malls directly Tips for Entry
or might work for real estate developers, development 1. There are a number of executive search firms
companies, or property management companies. dealing exclusively with jobs in shopping centers
and malls.
Advancement Prospects 2. Contact larger property management and real
Advancement prospects for Mall Managers are good. As estate development companies to find out what
individuals gain experience, they can climb the career internship and training programs they have
ladder by locating similar positions with larger, more available in this area.

6 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


3. Consider sending your resume and a cover letter 5. Openings are also advertised in trade journals
to retail property management companies, real such as Value Retail News.
estate development companies, and large malls. 6. Jobs in this field, may be located on-line. Begin
4. Positions are often advertised in the classified your search on some of the more popular job
sections of newspapers. Look under classifica- search sites such as the Monster board (www.
tions including “Mall Management,” or “Mall monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hot
Manager,” or “Shopping Center Manager.” jobs.com).

Malls and Shopping Centers 7


PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and implement shopping center and Shopping Center/Mall Marketing
mall public relations and marketing campaigns; Director or Public Relations Director
handle day-to-day public relations functions; create for Larger, More Prestigious Center
goodwill between the center and the community;
plan and implement special events Public Relations Director—Shopping
Alternate Title(s): Mall P.R. Manager; P.R. Director Center/Mall
Salary Range: $26,000 to $70,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Assistant Public Relations Director,
Advancement Prospects: Fair
P.R. Assistant or Publicist
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in
public relations, advertising, business, journalism, Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativ-
marketing, liberal arts, English, communications, ity; good verbal and written communication skills;
or business knowledge of retail industry
Experience—Publicity or public relations experi-
ence or training necessary

Position Description concisely in a factual and interesting manner. He or


All malls and shopping centers have some type of she must develop “hooks” or angles to make stories and
public relations and marketing campaign. The Mall releases interesting to the media.
Public Relations Director develops these campaigns. The individual may be responsible for producing
He or she works with the mall marketing or adver- both internal and external communications, booklets,
tising department and the advertising directors of pamphlets, posters, or newsletters. He or she may do
various shops to promote the mall and its image and all the actual writing and layout or work with assistants,
events. The main goal of the P.R. Director is to get as publicists, graphic artists, copywriters, or printers, to
much positive publicity and exposure for the center complete projects.
as possible. The P.R. Director may take photographs of special
Depending on the size and structure of the specific events occurring in the mall or may assign the project
center, the Public Relations Director may be referred to an assistant or professional photographer. Photos
to as the public relations manager. In certain centers, may then be used with captions to send to the press or
the Public Relations Director also handles the respon- used in other communications.
sibilities of the marketing director. In others, the P.R. An important function of the P.R. Director is han-
Director works under the direction of the marketing dling any problems which develop with mall custom-
director. ers, store owners, or managers. He or she might make
The Public Relations Director is expected to handle phone calls to people who have had problems or write
the day-to-day public relations functions at the mall. letters to try to resolve complaints and situations.
These might include developing and writing a variety The Public Relations Director keeps in contact with
of press releases, calendars, newsletters, special interest the media to let them know about special events occur-
stories, and feature stories about mall events and special ring at the mall and must answer calls from the media
promotions. The P.R. Director must write clearly and seeking information.

8     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Often, the P.R. Director is asked to be the spokes- Advancement Prospects
person for the center. He or she must speak on radio Prospects for career advancement for Public Relations
and television and to reporters. It is therefore impera- Directors working in malls and shopping centers are
tive that the individual feels comfortable handling these fair. Individuals have a number of different options for
tasks. It is also essential that the P.R. Director maintains moving up the career ladder.
a good business relationship with all media to help One possibility is to move into a similar position in a
ensure that press releases get placed in papers and spe- larger or more prestigious center resulting in increased
cial events are covered by news people. responsibilities and earnings. Another option is to move
The mall P.R. Director is often responsible for devel- into the position of mall marketing director. Some Pub-
oping, planning, and implementing unique special lic Relations Directors move into mall management.
events and promotions that draw people into the mall. Still others advance their careers by striking out on
These might include contests, weddings in the mall, taste their own and starting P.R. consulting firms.
tests, petting zoos, craft shows, antiques shows, classic
car shows, or karaoke competitions. In some malls, these Education and Training
tasks may also be handled by an event coordinator. Most malls and shopping centers either require or pre-
The individual also is expected to create goodwill fer the person in this position to hold a minimum of
between the shopping center and the local community. a four-year college degree. Good choices for majors
He or she might, for example, invite local or civic groups include public relations, advertising, business, journal-
such as hospitals, 4-H, schools, Red Cross, American ism, marketing, liberal arts, English, communications,
Heart Association, Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts into the and business.
mall to demonstrate activities, pass out literature, or Courses and seminars in public relations, market-
raise money. These groups often hold bake sales, craft ing, publicity, promotion, and the retail industry help
sales, or other events to help achieve their goals. give individuals an edge in both obtaining jobs and
Additional duties of the Shopping Center P.R. Direc- career advancement.
tor may include:
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Helping mall stores promote their special events Public Relations Directors working in malls and shop-
•  Developing media lists ping centers should be very creative people who can
•  Attracting bus tours, shopping tours, or other group communicate effectively both verbally and on paper.
events The ability to deal well with people is essential.
•  Designing and developing promotional material P.R. Directors need to handle many tasks at the same
time without getting flustered. Knowledge of public-
Salaries ity, promotion, public relations, and the retail industry
Earnings for the Director of Public Relations working will help the Public Relations Director working in this
in shopping centers or malls can vary greatly depending industry excel in his or her job and move up the career
on a number of variables. These include the size, loca- ladder.
tion, and prestige of the mall as well as the experience
and responsibilities of the individual. Annual salaries Unions and Associations
can range from $26,000 to $70,000 or more. Individu- Public Relations Directors working in malls and shop-
als with experience working in larger, more prestigious ping centers do not usually belong to any union. Indi-
malls will earn the highest salaries. viduals may belong to a number of trade associations
providing support and guidance. The most prevalent is
Employment Prospects the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking organization provides educational guidance, support,
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping seminars, and important information to members. Mall
centers throughout the country. While smaller centers P.R. Directors may also be members of the International
may have this position, the responsibilities of the P.R. Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Director may be picked up by the mall manager or mar-
keting director. Tips for Entry
There is a fair amount of turnover in this job due 1. Join the student group of the Public Relations
to advancement and the general mobility of people in Society of America (PRSA). This association
today’s job market. provides many services to help you cultivate your

Malls and Shopping Centers 9


skills as well offering an opportunity to make 5. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
valuable contacts. internships in the management office. Others
2. There is quite a bit of turnover in these positions. may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact
Consider sending your resume and a cover let- malls in your area to check into the possibilities.
ter to a number of malls and shopping centers 6. Take seminars and courses in promotion, public
in the area in which you are interested. Ask that relations, marketing, and publicity.
your resume be kept on file. Send your letter and 7. Other seminars in retail management, mall man-
resume to the mall owner, developer, or manager. agement, and shopping center development will
Call each mall’s management office to get correct also give you added knowledge in the field as
names. well as helping you make contacts.
3. You might want to gain some experience in pub- 8. There are employment agencies dealing specifi-
licity or promotions by volunteering to handle cally with finding employment position in public
publicity for a local civic or not-for-profit group relations. Check ahead of time to see who pays
or a school play or project. the fee if you get a job.
4. Positions are advertised in display ads in newspa- 9. Check out openings online. Start with traditional
pers. Look under classifications including “Pub- job sites like www.monster.com and www.hot
lic Relations,” “Promotion,” “Malls,” “Shopping jobs.com. Then search for sites specializing in
Center,” or “Retail.” retail career opportunities.

10 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


PUBLICIST—SHOPPING
CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Publicize mall or shopping center; write press Mall Public Relations Director
releases and compile press kits; deal with customer or P.R. Director in Other Industry
service problems
Alternate Title(s): Public Relations Specialist; P.R. Rep; Publicist
P.R. Representative
Salary Range: $24,000 to $45,000+
Publicist in Other Industry or Intern
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Experience—Publicity or public relations experi-
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in ence helpful
public relations, advertising, business, journalism, Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativ-
marketing, liberal arts, English, communications, ity; good verbal and written communication skills;
or business pleasant personality; knowledge of retail industry

Position Description pertinent information. The Publicist sends these press


The main function of Publicists who work in malls is kits and press releases to the various media, and must
to publicize the center. Depending on the structure of compile media lists for the general trade as well as those
the mall, individuals may have varied responsibilities. specific to the retail and shopping center industry.
Some malls may employ P.R. directors and one or more It is essential that the Publicist have a good work-
Publicists. In these cases, the Publicist will work under ing relationship with news editors for print, television,
the direction of the P.R. director. Other malls might not cable, and radio. The individual must also develop a
hire a P.R. director, opting instead to hire only a Pub- good working relationship with television and radio
licist. In these cases the individual usually will handle producers, guest coordinators, and print feature editors,
more general duties. so he or she will be in a better position to have stories
The Publicist is expected to write stock press releases placed in print. The Publicist also answers calls from
on the center, as well as news releases on special events the media seeking information.
and promotions the mall is holding. For example, the Publicists also handle customer relations problems.
mall may be having a “Safe Trick or Treat” night for local He or she might make phone calls to people who have
children or a “Soap Opera Festival” hosting national tele- had problems at the mall or write letters to resolve com-
vision personalities. In order to get the most publicity plaints and other situations.
from the event, the Publicist must develop press releases If there is no P.R. director, the Publicist will be
specific to the events and distribute them to the media. expected to act as the spokesperson for the center. This
The Publicist also takes photographs of special events and may include speaking on radio and television and to
promotions or finds someone else to handle the task. reporters.
Publicists develop and put together press kits on Additional duties of the Publicist may include:
the shopping center. These might include stock press
releases, the history of the center, fact sheets, mall •  Helping mall stores promote their special events
brochures containing a list of stores, photographs, •  Developing, planning, and implementing unique spe-
schedules of special events, and other interesting and cial events to draw people into the mall

Malls and Shopping Centers 11


•  Designing and developing promotional material able. Publicists need to be creative enough to come up
•  Creating goodwill between the shopping center and with catchy angles for press releases, media events, and
the local community feature stores. An excellent writing style is essential in
this job. Verbal communications skills are mandatory.
Salaries
Annual earnings for Mall Publicists may range from Unions and Associations
approximately $24,000 to $45,000. Salaries vary greatly Publicists working in malls and shopping centers do not
depending on a number of factors. These may include usually belong to any union. Individuals may belong to
the size, location, and prestige of the center as well as a number of trade associations providing support and
the responsibilities and experience of the individual. guidance. The most prevalent is the Public Relations
Society of America (PRSA). This organization provides
Employment Prospects educational guidance, support, seminars, and impor-
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking tant information to members. Individuals may also take
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping advantage of activities of the International Council of
centers throughout the country. Larger malls may hire Shopping Centers (ICSC).
a P.R. director and one or more publicists. Smaller cen-
ters may hire one or the other. Tips for Entry
There is a fair amount of turnover in this job due 1. Join the student group of the Public Relations
to advancement and the general mobility of people in Society of America (PRSA). This association
today’s job market. provides many services to help you hone your
skills as well offering an opportunity to make
Advancement Prospects valuable contacts.
Publicists working in malls may advance their careers 2. Send your resume and a cover letter to a num-
in a number of ways. After obtaining some experience, ber of malls and shopping centers in the area in
some individuals may climb the career ladder by land- which you are interested. Ask that your resume
ing jobs as either the assistant P.R. director or a full- be kept on file if there are no current openings.
fledged P.R. director. Others move into P.R. positions in 3. Obtain experience in publicity or promotions by
other industries, some related, some not. volunteering to handle publicity for a local civic
or not-for-profit group or a school play or proj-
Education and Training ect.
Generally, malls and shopping centers require or prefer 4. Job openings are often advertised in display
the person in this position to hold a four-year college ads in newspapers. Look under classifications
degree. Good choices for majors include public rela- including “Publicists,” “Publicity,” “Public Rela-
tions, advertising, business, journalism, marketing, lib- tions,” “Promotion,” “Malls,” “Shopping Center,”
eral arts, English, communications, and business. or “Retail.”
Courses and seminars in public relations, market- 5. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
ing, publicity, promotion, and the retail industry help internships in the management office. Others
give individuals an edge in both obtaining jobs and may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact
career advancement. malls in your area to check into the possibilities.
6. Take seminars and courses in promotion, public
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits relations, marketing, and publicity.
Publicists should enjoy working with people. Individu- 7. Many shopping centers and malls list job open-
als should be outgoing, assertive, articulate, and person- ings on their Web site. Check it out.

12 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


MARKETING DIRECTOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and implement a mall’s marketing Marketing Director at Larger, More
plans and campaigns; handle day-to-day marketing Prestigious Mall or Mall Manager
functions; plan and implement special events; over-
see advertising and public relations program Marketing Director—Shopping Center/
Alternate Title(s): Mall Marketing Manager; Director Mall
of Marketing; Director of Mall Marketing
Salary Range: $27,000 to $80,000+
Assistant Marketing Director—
Employment Prospects: Good
Shopping Center/Mall
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; areas hosting
multiple malls and shopping centers will have more
opportunities. Experience—Marketing, publicity, public relations,
Prerequisites: and advertising experience necessary
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
marketing, public relations, advertising, business, good verbal and written communications skills;
journalism, liberal arts, English, communications, people skills; knowledge of retail industry
or business

Position Description attractions, and might include exhibits, art shows, craft
The Marketing Director of a mall or shopping center is shows, carnivals, health fairs, and community fairs.
responsible for developing the concepts and campaigns Other promotions might run the gamut from cooking
for marketing the center to potential shoppers. The and craft demonstrations, antiques shows, career expos,
director is expected to determine the most effective and computer shows to sidewalk sales, wine and cheese
techniques and programs for the mall and its tenants, tasting, beauty contests, weddings, and bridal shows.
and as part of the job, must plan and coordinate all of Promotions are designed to bring people in to
the centers marketing goals and objectives. browse and hopefully buy. Marketing Directors often
Shopping centers may utilize a variety of programs utilize traditional marketing efforts such as coupon
and services to attract shoppers. The Marketing Direc- books. Holidays and other annual events might feature
tor must select the most viable programs and services Safe Trick or Treating, the Arrival of Santa Claus, the
for his or her specific center. Easter Bunny, or Mother’s Day Make-Over Contests.
For example, does the mall want to market to young The most successful Mall Marketing Directors are those
families or senior citizens? Does the mall want to attract who devise the most innovative and creative ideas.
upscale shoppers or bargain hunters? The Marketing Once the ideas are developed, the Marketing Director
Director will base some of his or her marketing efforts will work with the public relations and advertising direc-
on the answers to questions such as this. tors to publicize and advertise the promotions. In smaller
To get this information, the Marketing Director malls, the Marketing Director may also be responsible for
does research by utilizing surveys, questionnaires, focus handling the public relations and advertising functions.
groups, and comments from shoppers. Depending on the specific center, the Mall Market-
Mall Marketing Directors must come up with new ing Director often will work in conjunction with local
and innovative ideas to attract new visitors. These may or corporate tenants on copromotions. For example,
cover a wide array of promotions, special events, and the mall may put together a shopping guide showcasing

Malls and Shopping Centers 13


all the tenants, coupon books, or a bus program. Some- and business. Courses and seminars in marketing, pub-
times, the Marketing Director may work with tenants lic relations, publicity, promotion, and the retail indus-
on co-op ads or billboards. try are also helpful.
Additional duties of the Mall Marketing Director
might include: Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Communications skills, both written and verbal, are
•  Overseeing the marketing, public relations, and essential for Marketing Directors. Individuals should
advertising programs be creative, innovative, ambitious, articulate, and highly
•  Supervising the marketing, public relations, and motivated. Marketing Directors also need to be ener-
advertising staff getic, with the ability to handle many details and proj-
•  Developing bus tours, shopping tours, or other group ects at one time without getting flustered.
events A knowledge of publicity, promotion, public rela-
•  Designing and developing marketing materials tions, and advertising as well as research techniques is
•  Conducting marketing research also necessary.

Salaries Unions and Associations


Annual salaries for Marketing Directors of malls and Marketing Directors working in malls and shopping
shopping centers can range from approximately $27,000 centers do not usually belong to any union. Individuals
to $80,000 or more, based on the size, prestige, and may belong to a number of trade associations providing
geographic location of the specific center as well as the support and guidance. These might include Interna-
experience and responsibilities of the individual. Gen- tional Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Ameri-
erally, those working in larger, more prestigious malls can Marketing Association (AMA), the Marketing
have the highest salaries. Research Association (MRA), and the Public Relations
Many malls also have bonus plans for their Market- Society of America (PRSA).
ing Directors, where the individuals receive bonuses for
annual or bi-annual increases in sales. Tips for Entry
1. Send your resume and a cover letter to a num-
Employment Prospects ber of malls and shopping centers in the area in
Most malls employ Marketing Directors. Employment which you are interested. Ask that your resume
prospects are fair for this position and getting better be kept on file. Send your letter and resume to
every day. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping the mall owner, developer, or manager. Call the
centers throughout the country. The greatest number mall’s management office to get correct names.
of opportunities will be located in areas hosting a large 2. Positions are advertised in display ads in newspa-
number of malls. pers. Look under classifications including “Mar-
keting,” “Marketing Director,” “Malls,” “Shopping
Advancement Prospects Center,” or “Retail.”
Marketing Directors have a number of options in career 3. Join trade associations. These will help you in
advancement. The most common method of climbing searching for internships, scholarships, and
the career ladder is locating a similar position with training programs. Jobs may also be advertised
increased responsibilities and earnings in a larger, more in trade journals.
prestigious mall. 4. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
Another possibility for career advancement is internships in the management office. Others
to become a mall manager. Some Marketing Direc- may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact
tors move into marketing positions in other industries, malls in your area to check into the possibilities.
while others strike out on their own and start their own 5. Take seminars and courses in marketing, promo-
marketing firms. tion, public relations, publicity, retail manage-
ment, mall management, and shopping center
Education and Training development. These will give you an edge over
Mall Marketing Directors are usually required to hold other applicants as well as helping you hone your
a four-year college degree. Good choices for majors skills and make valuable contacts.
include public relations, advertising, business, journal- 6. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
ism, marketing, liberal arts, English, communications, specializing in the shopping center industry.

14 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ASSISTANT MARKETING
DIRECTOR—SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist the mall’s marketing director with plans Shopping Center/Mall
and campaigns; handle day-to-day marketing func- Marketing Director
tions; assist in the planning and implementation of
special events Assistant Marketing Director—
Alternate Title(s): Assistant Marketing Manager; Assis- Shopping Center/Mall
tant Mall Marketing Director
Salary Range: $25,000 to $45,000+
Public Relations, Marketing
Employment Prospects: Fair
or Advertising Assistant or Publicist
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
marketing, public relations, advertising, business, marketing skills; good graphic sense; good verbal
journalism, liberal arts, English, communications, and written communication skills; people skills;
or business knowledge of retail industry
Experience—Marketing experience or training
necessary

Position Description most effective to market the mall. They can then make
The Assistant Marketing Director is responsible for recommendations to the advertising director.
helping the mall’s marketing director develop concepts The Assistant Marketing Director will often brain-
and campaigns to market the center to potential shop- storm with the marketing director to come up with
pers. The individual works with the marketing director unique and innovative ideas and promotions to mar-
coordinating the marketing goals and objectives. ket the center. Once ideas are finalized, the individual
The Assistant Marketing Director may perform is expected to assist the marketing director in their
research to see what types of programs and services implementation. Depending on the structure of the
will bring in the most shoppers and where customers center, he or she may work with the public relations and
are coming from. For example, are all customers local advertising director, promotions coordinator, commu-
or are they driving distances to reach the center? The nity relations manager, and mall manager to bring the
individual will work with the marketing director to promotion or program to fruition.
determine how far customers will travel so they know The Assistant Marketing Director is expected to be
where to market the mall. on hand for special events and promotions when they
The individual may also help to develop surveys are taking place. This might mean working on week-
or promotions to identify the most effective media in ends or during the evening.
which to advertise. For example the Assistant Marketing The most successful Assistant Marketing Directors
Director might help develop a sweepstakes, where in are detail-oriented. They can keep track of everything
order to enter, shoppers must write down the newspa- that needs to be taken care of for specific promotions.
pers they read, television stations they watch, and radio Depending on the project, tables may need to be rented,
stations they listen to most frequently. In this manner, ads designed, press releases developed, the media noti-
the marketing department will know which media is fied, and extra security retained.

Malls and Shopping Centers 15


If the mall does not have a public relations or adver- Education and Training
tising director, the Assistant Marketing Director may As a rule, individuals seeking this position must hold
handle many of their functions. He or she may be a four-year college degree. Good choices for majors
expected to write press releases, develop ads, handle include marketing, public relations, advertising, busi-
publicity, and work with the media. ness, journalism, liberal arts, English, communications,
The Assistant Marketing Director will work with the and business.
marketing director in dealing with local and corporate Courses and seminars in marketing, public relations,
tenants on any copromotions. He or she may handle publicity, advertising, promotion, and the retail indus-
correspondence with the tenants regarding co-op ads, try help give individuals an edge in both obtaining jobs
billboards, or promotions. The individual might also and career advancement.
set up and attend meetings on behalf of the marketing
director. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Additional duties of Assistant Marketing Directors Assistant Marketing Directors, like individuals work-
may include: ing in other aspects of marketing, need excellent verbal
and written communications skills. Knowledge of the
•  Helping mall stores promote their special events fundamentals of marketing are necessary in order to be
•  Assisting in market research successful in this job.
•  Tabulating data Assistant Mall Marketing Directors should be cre-
•  Attracting bus tours, shopping tours, or other group ative and innovative with the ability to come up with
events unique ideas and angles to market the mall.
•  Designing and developing promotional marketing There are often deadlines which must be met and
material projects which need to be completed. Individuals need
the ability to handle multiple tasks at the same time
Salaries without getting flustered.
Earnings for Assistant Marketing Directors can vary
greatly depending on a number of variables. These include Unions and Associations
the size, location, and prestige of the mall as well as the Assistant Marketing Directors working in malls and
experience and responsibilities of the individual. Annual shopping centers may belong to a number of trade asso-
salaries can range from $25,000 to $45,000 or more. ciations. These might include the International Council
Many malls also have bonus plans for the marketing of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the American Marketing
director and Assistant Marketing Director, in which Association (AMA), the Marketing Research Associa-
individuals receive bonuses for annual or biannual tion (MRA), and the Public Relations Society of Amer-
increases in sales. ica (PRSA).
These associations provide members with educa-
Employment Prospects tional opportunities, support, and career guidance.
While every mall does not employ an Assistant Market-
ing Director, there are opportunities in many mid-size Tips for Entry
and larger malls throughout the country. There is also 1. Joining trade associations and attending their
a fair amount of turnover in this job due to advance- meetings and conferences will give you an oppor-
ment and the general mobility of people in today’s job tunity to make valuable contacts.
market. 2. Send your resume and a cover letter to a number of
malls and shopping centers. Ask that your resume
Advancement Prospects be kept on file if there are no current openings.
Prospects for career advancement for the Assistant Mar- 3. Positions are often advertised in display ads in
keting Director are good. Individuals can find similar newspapers. Look under classifications includ-
positions in larger or more prestigious malls. However, ing “Marketing,” “Assistant Marketing Director,”
the more common path to climbing the career ladder is “Malls,” and “Shopping Center.”
for individuals to become a full fledged mall marketing 4. Openings may also be advertised in trade jour-
director. This may be in the same mall already employ- nals such as Value Retail News.
ing the individual or might be in a different center 5. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
completely. internships in the management office. Others

16 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact 7. Other seminars in retail management, mall man-
malls in your area to check into the possibilities. agement, and shopping center development will
6. Take seminars and courses in marketing, public- also give you added knowledge in the field.
ity, and public relations to help you hone skills.

Malls and Shopping Centers 17


ADVERTISING DIRECTOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Plan, develop, and implement advertising cam- Shopping Center/Mall Marketing
paigns for a shopping center or mall Director or Advertising Director
Alternate Title(s): Ad Manager; Advertising Manager; of Larger, More Prestigious Center
Director of Advertising
Salary Range: $25,000 to $58,000+ Shopping Center/Mall
Employment Prospects: Fair Advertising Director
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Assistant Advertising Director
be located throughout the country
or Advertising Assistant
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in adver-
tising, business, journalism, public relations, market-
ing, liberal arts, English, communications, or business
Experience—Experience in some facet of advertis-
ing necessary
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
ability to handle details; knowledge of retail indus-
try; knowledge of copywriting, graphics, and layout;
ability to meet deadlines

Position Description Customers may come from local areas as well as


Some communities feature a number of large malls and long distances to shop, so the Mall Advertising Director
shopping centers, while others only have one or two must decide where his or her advertising dollars would
small strip centers. In order to attract potential shop- best be spent. Choices might include local or regional
pers, malls and shopping centers must advertise. newspapers, magazines and other publications, televi-
The Advertising Director working in a shopping sion stations, radio stations, cable stations, billboards,
center or mall setting is responsible for planning, devel- and the Internet.
oping, and implementing advertising campaigns and After the Ad Director has developed the budget, he
individual ads for the facility. He or she may work with or she takes it either to the mall marketing director (if
the center’s private shop owners, corporate tenants, there is one), mall management, or the mall owners for
store managers, mall owner, and developers. review. If the budget is acceptable, the Ad Director then
The Advertising Director is responsible for plan- implements it. If it comes in too high, he or she must
ning and developing the annual advertising budget make adjustments.
for the center. The Advertising Director must develop In some instances, mall tenants pay an annual adver-
campaigns for the entire year, including special plans tising fee to a community marketing fund, and these
for individual holidays, promotions, special events and tenants may have more input into the way money is
sales programs. He or she will call, write, and meet spent on advertising.
with representatives of various media to get rate sheets, Shopping centers and stores often feel that as long as
demographics, information sheets, and other useful they have people walking and browsing, they will have
material. The individual also meets with various repre- shoppers. While these people may not make immediate
sentatives of the advertising media to learn more about purchases, they may buy at some later date. The Adver-
their publications or broadcast stations. tising Director works with the marketing, promotional,

18     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


and public relations departments to come up with ads the responsibilities and experience of the individual.
and campaigns to inform as many people as possible of Advertising managers also often receive bonuses when
what the mall offers. The objective for mall Advertising there are sales increases in given periods.
Directors is to attract shoppers and browsers. Generally, the smaller the mall or the less experi-
Mall Advertising Directors often work with the cor- ence the Advertising Director has, the lower the salary.
porate headquarters of stores and private shops in the Larger shopping centers with bigger annual advertising
mall to put together group or cooperative ads. These budgets usually offer higher earnings. Malls hosting
are advertisements in which a number of mall stores more prestigious stores and shops may offer salaries on
advertise special sales together at a given time. This the higher end of the scale.
might also encompass placing ads advertising all of a
mall’s stores, shops, and food outlets in publications. Employment Prospects
The Advertising Director is responsible for adver- Employment prospects are fair for Advertising Direc-
tising all special events and promotions the mall is tors in shopping centers. Malls are located throughout
hosting. These might include craft, antique and home the country and more are springing up. Almost every
shows, petting zoos, circuses, celebrity appearances, center of any size has someone on staff to fill this adver-
soap opera festivals, performers, demonstrations, and tising function. They may, however, delegate the adver-
other events. An Ad Director may develop personally tising responsibilities to someone in mall management,
such promotions or may just advertise events developed public relations or marketing.
by the promotion or public relations departments.
The Advertising Director may be required to do Advancement Prospects
actual copywriting, graphics, layout, and produc- Career advancement for Advertising Directors working
tion for advertisements or may work with freelance in malls and shopping centers are fair. Individuals may
copywriters, graphic artists, and producers. He or she move up the career ladder in a number of ways.
might also sketch out rough ideas for advertisements Some individuals find similar positions in larger or
and have the publication’s or broadcast station’s adver- more prestigious centers resulting in increased respon-
tising department put the final ad together. In some sibilities and earnings. Others become mall public rela-
instances, the Advertising Director may also work tions, marketing, or promotions managers. Some move
with advertising agencies which handle some of these into mall management positions.
functions.
As part of the job, the Advertising Director is Education and Training
expected to decide the best media in which to place ads, Most malls and shopping centers either require or pre-
specific sections of publications in which to have ads fer a four-year college degree. Good choices for majors
inserted, and when to schedule broadcast commercials. include advertising, business, journalism, public rela-
He or she is responsible for making sure all advertise- tions, marketing, liberal arts, English, communications,
ments and commercials have accurate copy and graph- and business.
ics and are mailed or delivered to the correct media Courses and seminars in advertising, copywriting,
before deadline. business, or retail management are also helpful.
Additional duties of the mall Advertising Director
may include: Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Advertising Directors need to be creative with the abil-
•  Developing and putting together shopper’s guides ity to communicate both verbally and on paper. Experi-
•  Tracking tear sheets, clippings, visual cuts, and audio- ence working in advertising is usually necessary. This
tapes might include knowledge of creating and placing ads,
•  Checking bills for ad placement or of copywriting, graphics, and layout.
•  Sending or authorizing payment for ads An understanding of the inner workings of the retail
industry is helpful in order to plan successful, effective
Salaries ads and campaigns. The ability to work on multiple
Salaries for Advertising Directors working in malls and projects at one time and to meet deadlines is essential.
shopping centers range from approximately $25,000 to
$58,000 or more annually. Compensation varies accord- Unions and Associations
ing to the size and prestige of the specific mall, its geo- Advertising Directors working in malls and shopping
graphic location, size of the advertising budget, and centers do not usually belong to any union. Individuals

Malls and Shopping Centers 19


may belong to a number of trade associations providing 3. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
support and guidance. These may include the American internships in the management office. Others
Advertising Federation (AAF) and the Business/Profes- may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact
sional Advertising Association (B/PAA). malls in your area to check into the possibilities.
4. Take seminars and courses in advertising, promo-
Tips for Entry tion, public relations, marketing, and publicity.
1. There is quite a bit of turnover in these positions. 5. Other seminars in retail management, mall man-
Consider sending your resume and a cover letter agement, and shopping center development will
to a number of malls and shopping centers in the also give you added knowledge in the field as
area in which you are interested. Ask that your well as helping you make contacts.
resume be kept on file. (Send your letter and 6. A good way to gain experience in advertising is to
resume to the mall owner or developer.) work for a local newspaper, magazine, television,
2.  Positions are advertised in display ads in news- or radio station in the advertising department.
papers. Look under classifications including 7. Check out openings online. Start with traditional
“Advertising,” “Promotion,” “Malls,” “Shopping career sites like monster.com and hotjobs.com.
Center,” “Advertising Director,” “Advertising Then check out sites that deal specifically with
Manager,” or “Retail.” shopping centers, malls, and the retail industries.

20 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ADVERTISING ASSISTANT—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist in the development and implementation Assistant Advertising Manager


of advertising campaigns and individual promotional
ads; assist in creating advertisements and commercials Advertising Assistant—Shopping C
­ enter/
Alternate Title(s): Ad Assistant; Mall Advertising Mall
Coordinator; Advertising Trainee
Salary Range: $21,000 to $33,000+
Entry Level, Intern, Secretarial Position,
Employment Prospects: Fair
or College Student
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—College degree preferred Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
Experience—Experience in some facet of advertis- detail oriented; knowledge of copywriting, graphics,
ing helpful, but not always necessary and layout; good writing skills

Position Description billings, authorizing payments, and keeping accurate


The Advertising Assistant working in a mall or shop- records. While the individual may be required to check
ping center is responsible for helping the advertising ad copy for accuracy, he or she will usually be expected
director. The individual will assist in the development to have ads reviewed by the advertising director.
and implementation of the mall’s advertising campaign An important function of the Advertising Assistant
and develop individual ads as well. is helping the Advertising Director plan and develop
Duties of the Advertising Assistant will vary among the annual advertising budget for the center. In this
malls and according to individual experience. The Ad position, the Ad Assistant works with the advertising
Assistant might be expected to fulfill secretarial duties director and learns how to budget the amount of money
such as typing letters, updating the returns from mail or to be spent on promotions, the various types of media,
ad campaigns, returning phone calls, keeping records of and cost-effective places to advertise.
the cost of ad space, checking media prices, etc. In malls or shopping centers where there is no adver-
The Ad Assistant may learn how to read and use a tising director, the Advertising Assistant may work with
book called Advertising Rate and Data. This publication the director of marketing.
lists advertising rates for television, radio, magazines, Additional duties of the Advertising Assistant work-
and newspapers throughout the country. The individ- ing in a mall or shopping center may include:
ual must also become familiar with rate cards which
give the prices of ads in various media. •  Tracking tear sheets, press clippings, visual cuts from
The advertising director might call on the Assistant to broadcasts, and audiotapes
write ad copy, create graphics, layout print ads, or develop •  Overseeing television and radio commercial produc-
copy for sales letters, circulars, direct-mail, or other mar- tion and filming
keting pieces. The individual might be asked to help cre- •  Conducting research
ate storyboards and scripts for broadcast commercials. •  Acting as buffer for the advertising director
The Advertising Assistant may be expected to place
ads in publications, purchase space on radio and televi- Salaries
sion and deliver ads and commercials to the media on Salaries for Advertising Assistants working in malls and
deadline. He or she will also be responsible for checking shopping centers range from approximately $21,000 to

Malls and Shopping Centers 21


$33,000 or more annually. Variables that affect compen- writing skills and a knowledge of graphics and layout
sation include the size, prestige, and geographic loca- are helpful. The ability to use computer graphic design
tion of the specific mall as well as the responsibilities programs is necessary.
and experience of the individual.
Unions and Associations
Employment Prospects Advertising Assistants working in malls and shopping
Employment prospects are fair for Advertising Assis- centers do not usually belong to any union. Individuals
tants in shopping centers. Individuals may find job may belong to a number of trade associations pro-
opportunities located throughout the country. There is viding support and guidance. These may include the
a great deal of turnover in these positions due to pro- American Advertising Federation (AAF), the Business/
motion and the general mobility of today’s population. Professional Advertising Association (B/PAA), and the
International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
Advancement Prospects
Career advancement for Advertising Assistants working Tips for Entry
in malls and shopping centers are good. Aggressive and 1. There is quite a bit of turnover in these positions.
enthusiastic individuals may move up the career ladder Consider sending your résumé and a cover letter
in a number of ways. to a number of malls and shopping centers in the
After obtaining experience, some Ad Assistants area in which you are interested. Ask that your
find similar positions in larger or more prestigious resume be kept on file. (Send your letter and
centers resulting in increased responsibilities and resume to the mall owner, developer, or human
earnings. Others become assistant advertising manag- resources director.)
ers or locate other positions in the malls’s marketing 2. Positions are advertised in display ads in news-
department. papers. Look under classifications including
“Advertising,” “Advertising Assistant,” “Promo-
Education and Training tion,” “Malls,” “Shopping Center,” “Retail,” etc.
Educational requirements for this position vary. Some 3. Attend seminars in all phases of advertising and
malls and shopping centers may prefer the person in retail management. These are useful to hone
this position to hold a four-year college degree. Others skills and make professional contacts.
have no educational requirement. For individuals aspir- 4. Larger malls and shopping centers often have
ing to advance their career, a college degree is essential. internships in the management office. Others
Good choices for majors include advertising, business, may have summer jobs as assistants. Contact
journalism, public relations, marketing, liberal arts, malls in your area to check into the possibilities.
English, communications, and business. 5. A good way to gain experience in advertising is to
Courses and seminars in advertising, copywriting, work for a local newspaper, magazine, television,
business, or retail management are also helpful. or radio station in the advertising department.
6. Read the trades. These periodicals often adver-
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits tise job openings and keep you up on current
Experience requirements vary from mall to mall. Adver- trends in advertising and mall management. If
tising Assistant is an entry-level position in many malls, you can’t find them in your local library or maga-
but others may prefer candidates with some experience. zine store, write to the publisher to see if you can
Internships and training programs are useful. get a short-term subscription.
Advertising Assistants need to be extremely detail- 7. Check out shopping center and mall Web sites.
oriented, articulate, personable, and persuasive. Copy- Many advertise job openings on their site.

22 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


TENANT RELATIONS MANAGER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Attending to needs of tenants in shopping cen- Tenant Relations Manager for Larger,
ter; keeping tenants happy; acting as liaison between More Prestigious Mall or Shopping
mall management and tenants Center, Mall Manager,
Alternate Title(s): Tenant Relations Director or Property Manager
Salary Range: $38,000 to $71,000+
Employment Prospects: Poor Tenant Relations Manager
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Assistant Mall Manager
be located throughout the country; areas hosting
more large malls will provide more opportunities
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—College degree preferred
Experience—Experience in retail, mall manage-
ment, or marketing
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem solv-
ing skills; negotiation skills; communication skills;
ability to deal well with people; administrative skills

Position Description maintenance) bill. In this case, the Tenant Relations


It is essential to malls and shopping centers to keep ten- Manager might speak to the accounting department to
ants happy. The Tenant Relations Manager is respon- straighten it out.
sible for making sure this happens. He or she walks One of the most important functions of the Ten-
the line trying to satisfy the tenants while competently ant Relations Manager is making sure that tenants feel
representing the mall or mall management company. that management hears their concerns and cares about
The Tenant Relations Manager is expected to pro- them. He or she must establish a good working rela-
mote tenant relations, and stay in close contact with tionship between the tenant and the mall management.
tenants. He or she may call, visit, or send correspon- The individual may deal with various members of
dence on a regular basis, and may for example, visit the mall management staff including the leasing direc-
stores to see if everything is going well or if they are tor, mall manager, marketing, public relations and
experiencing any problems. The Tenant Relations advertising departments, maintenance department, and
Manager may also schedule meetings with local store management company.
managers, real estate agents, corporate managers, or Tenant Relations Managers working for real estate
store owners. developers or mall management companies may handle
The Tenant Relations Manager acts as the liaison the tenant relations of more than one mall.
between the tenants and mall management. When ten- Additional duties of Tenant Relations Managers
ants report a problem, the Manager must see how it can might include:
be resolved as quickly as possible.
Problems may be easily solved or may be more com- •  Discussing tenant problems with mall owners
plex. Tenants may feel the mall is not making repairs •  Scheduling meetings between mall management and
which were promised. The Tenant Relations Manager tenants
must determine if the repairs were actually promised •  Arranging for credits on tenants bills when necessary
and if so, why they weren’t carried out. A tenant might •  Attending mall meetings
dispute a charge on his or her CAM (common area •  Handling crises

Malls and Shopping Centers 23


Salaries essential. The ability to see both sides of a problem also
Earnings for Tenant Relations Managers can range from is necessary.
approximately $38,000 to $71,000 or more annually. Individuals should be detail oriented and have a
Variables affecting earnings include the size, prestige, basic understanding of everything that goes on in a
and geographic location of the property and the num- mall. This includes maintenance, construction, human
ber of properties for which the individual is responsible. resources, tenant relations, community relations, leas-
Other variables include the experience, responsibilities, ing, budgets, advertising, and marketing.
and education of the individual. Communication skills, both written and verbal are
essential. The ability to work with and get along with
Employment Prospects people is mandatory.
Employment prospects are poor for Tenant Relations
Managers, since not every mall employs a Tenant Rela- Unions and Associations
tions Manager. Generally, this position can only be Mall or shopping center Tenant Relations Managers
found in larger malls or working for a mall management may get additional career information by contacting
company. In smaller malls the mall manager will be the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
responsible for handling the tenant relations functions. and the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).

Advancement Prospects Tips for Entry


The most common method of career advancement for 1. Contact larger property management and real
Tenant Relations Managers is to find similar positions estate development companies to find out what
in larger, more prestigious malls or mall management internship and training programs they have
companies. Depending on career aspirations, some available in this area.
individuals climb the career ladder by becoming mall 2. There are a number of executive search firms
managers or property managers. dealing exclusively with jobs in shopping centers
and malls.
Education and Training 3. Send your resume and a cover letter to retail
Educational requirements vary from mall to mall. property management companies, real estate
While much of the training individuals receive is on the development companies, and large malls.
job, many employers prefer that Tenant Relations Man- 4. Contact the International Council of Shopping
agers have a college degree. Others require it. Centers (ICSC) to check out what courses they
Good majors might include business, public admin- are offering. These will provide valuable training
istration, marketing, public relations, communications, as well as an opportunity to network.
finance, or related fields. 5. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
Professional and trade associations often offer help- tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
ful seminars and courses in retail management, mall including “Tenant Relations Manager,” or “Mall/
management, and related subjects. Shopping Center Opportunities,” or “Retail
Opportunities.”
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits 6. Openings are also advertised in trade journals.
Experience requirements vary. Some Tenant Relations 7. Jobs in this field may be located on-line. Begin
Managers start out in marketing, public relations, or com- your search on some of the more popular job
munity relations. Others may work in mall management. search sites such as the Monster board (www.
Tenant Relations Managers need to be diplomatic. monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.
The ability to solve problems while remaining calm is hotjobs.com).

24 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


COMMUNITY RELATIONS DIRECTOR—
MALL/SHOPPING CENTER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Cultivate and coordinate relationships between Public Relations Director


corporation and local agencies and civic and com- or Community Relations Director
munity groups; represent mall in beneficial com- in Larger, More Prestigious Mall
munity activities
Alternate Title(s): Community Relations Manager; Community Relations Director
Community Affairs Coordinator; Community
Affairs Manager
Community Relations Assistant,
Salary Range: $24,000 to $49,000+
Public Relations Assistant,
Employment Prospects: Poor
or Journalism Position
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
may be located throughout the country. Areas host-
ing large malls, shopping centers, and department Experience—Experience working with community
stores will have more opportunities and not-for-profit groups helpful
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—People skills;
Education and Training—Four-year degree pre- creativity; good written and verbal communications
ferred, but not always required skills; public speaking ability; organization

Position Description grams. For example, the Community Relations Direc-


The Community Relations Director of a mall or shop- tor may arrange to have the shopping center sponsor a
ping center is a great job for anyone who enjoys work- Little League team, concert, or local sports team.
ing with people. The individual coordinates community The Community Relations Director may develop
activities between the mall or shopping center and local programs with local community groups such as the
agencies, civic groups, schools, community groups, United Way or Red Cross to address specific issues,
political entities, and governmental agencies. In addi- such as a Red Cross program for employees of the mall
tion, the Community Relations Director cultivates rela- to volunteer to donate blood.
tionships with these groups. The Community Relations Director must develop
In smaller areas, the local shopping center is often new and innovative community relations programs in
the gathering place of the community. In larger areas, which the mall can take leadership. These might include
malls may be utilized for the activities of not-for-profit marathons, fairs, art auctions, or parades. These events
and civic groups. The Community Relations Director keep the mall favorably in the public eye and market
helps coordinate these efforts. the mall’s name and services to the public. Though
The Community Relations Director plans and sponsored by a single chain of stores rather than a mall,
designs programs to help the local community and pro- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which airs on televi-
mote the image of the shopping center in a positive sion every year, is an example of this type of event.
manner. While performing these functions, the Direc- The Community Relations Director acts as the mall’s
tor must remain sensitive to the local community and representative on not-for-profit organization boards
its needs. and committees, and is often expected to be an active
The Community Relations Director represents the member of many civic and community groups.
corporation in beneficial community activities, includ- The Community Relations Director should have a
ing the sponsorship of programs such as sporting good working relationship with the media. In this way,
events, cultural events, and community related pro- when the mall is sponsoring a local team, helping to

Malls and Shopping Centers 25


raise money for a worthwhile cause, or working on any tions, marketing, advertising, journalism, English, com-
other community event, the center will reap the ben- munications, writing, psychology, and sociology.
efits of good press coverage. There are many seminars related to working with
Additional duties of Community Relations Direc- not-for-profit groups, community relations, public rela-
tors working in malls or shopping centers include: tions, and publicity that are useful in obtaining a job
and excelling in it.
•  Giving speeches on behalf of the mall to local com-
munity groups Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Representing the mall at community events It is essential in this type of position to enjoy working
•  Appearing on local public service television and radio with people. Individuals should be community minded
interview shows to promote the mall’s community and have an understanding of non-for-profit civic and
projects community groups.
•  Making sure the mall maintains a good public image Community Relations Directors should be outgo-
ing, personable, assertive, and articulate. Good writ-
Salaries ing, organization, and planning skills are necessary. The
Earnings for Community Relations Directors working ability to speak in front of groups is necessary.
in malls or shopping centers can range from approxi- Community Relations Directors working in malls
mately $24,000 to $49,000 or more. Factors affecting usually have had experience working with not-for-
earnings include the size, prestige, and geographic loca- profit or civic groups or as publicity or community
tion of the mall as well as the responsibilities and expe- relations assistants.
rience of the individual. Generally, the larger the mall,
the higher the earnings. Unions and Associations
Community Relations Directors working in malls and
Employment Prospects shopping centers may be members of local civic groups,
Employment prospects are poor for individuals seeking not-for-profit organizations, and service clubs. Individ-
this position. Even though there are thousands of malls uals may also take advantage of opportunities offered
and shopping centers throughout the country, many do by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) or
not hire someone specifically for this job. Instead many the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
malls expect someone from the public relations or mar-
keting department to handle the community relations Tips for Entry
functions. 1. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
shopping centers and malls in the area in which
Advancement Prospects you are interested in working.
Advancement prospects are fair in this position. There 2. Openings may be advertised in the classified
are a number of different possibilities for climbing the section of the newspaper. Look under classifi-
career ladder depending on career aspirations. Some cations including “Retail,” “Shopping Centers,”
individuals locate similar positions in larger, more pres- “Mall,” “Community Relations,” and “Commu-
tigious malls. Others move on to similar positions in nity Affairs.”
large corporations. Many land jobs as a mall’s director 3. Jobs may also be advertised on-line at specific
of public relations. shopping center and mall Web sites as well
If the individual has developed a good working rela- as job sites such as the Monster board (www.
tionship with a not-for-profit organization that is seek- monster.com) or Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.
ing a director, the individual may be considered for the com) among others.
position. 4. Jobs may also be advertised in trade journals
such as Value Retail News.
Education and Training 5. Join civic and not-for-profit groups and volunteer
Most malls and shopping centers require their Com- to be on committees. This will give you hands-on
munity Relations Directors to hold a minimum of a experience working with these groups.
four-year college degree. While majors vary, emphasis 6. Many large malls offer internships and training
should be placed on courses in publicity, public rela- programs. Contact them to check out availability.

26 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


INFORMATION REPRESENTATIVE—
MALL/SHOPPING CENTER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Provide information regarding mall, mall Customer Service Director


stores, and mall services to customers
Alternate Title(s): Information Clerk Information Representative
Salary Range: $7.50 to $9.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Entry Level
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or Special Skills and Personality Traits—Pleasant
equivalent preferred personality; outgoing; interpersonal skills; people
Experience—No experience necessary skills; communications skills

Position Description days. Depending on the specific mall, the Information


Many malls and shopping centers host information Representative may also handle the duties of a customer
centers for the convenience of their customers. These service representative such as wrapping gifts, selling gift
centers are usually found in a central location in the certificates, renting baby strollers, or wheelchairs.
mall for the convenience of shoppers and may be a This is an ideal job for those who enjoy meeting new
storefront, a counter, or a kiosk. people and dealing with and helping others.
The Information Representative is the individual Additional duties of the Information Representa-
who mans the mall’s information center. He or she is tives may include:
responsible for answering the questions of mall custom-
ers. These might include simple things such as where •  Selling gift certificates
specific stores are or the location of the closest rest •  Assisting lost children
room. The Information Representative may be asked •  Assisting people who are looking for each other in
the names of stores in the mall which sell certain mer- the mall
chandise such as children’s shoes or electronics. •  Making announcements in the mall on the public
The Information Representative often will give announcement system
directions to locations within the mall. In very large •  Answering phone inquiries regarding mall questions
malls the individual might use a mall floor plan to •  Giving phone numbers of mall stores
help direct shoppers to specific stores as well as verbal
instructions. He or she might also give customers direc- Salaries
tions to places outside the mall such as roads, highways, Information Representatives working in malls or shop-
restaurants, or even other retail establishments. ping centers may earn between $7.50 and $9.00 or more
The Information Representative may answer patron’s per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo-
inquiries about activities, special events, and promo- graphic location, size, and prestige of the shopping cen-
tions going on in the mall or mall stores. He or she may, ter as well as the experience and responsibilities of the
for example, give dates, times, and locations of where a individual.
special event is taking place.
The Information Representative will often be asked Employment Prospects
about mall hours. He or she is expected to know the Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking
correct hours that the mall is open daily, as well as holi- this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping

Malls and Shopping Centers 27


centers throughout the country. While every mall does Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
not employ an Information Representative, those who Generally, this is an entry-level position. Interpersonal
do usually hire more than one. and customer relations skills are essential. Communica-
There is a great deal of turnover in these positions. tions skills are mandatory.
This may be a result of a number of situations includ- To be successful at their job, Information Represen-
ing other career aspirations, advancement, the general tatives should have a pleasant personality, be outgoing,
mobility of today’s society and “Mall Hopping.” Many and enjoy dealing with people.
malls and shopping centers have “Mall Hoppers.” This
means that employees move from store to store and job Unions and Associations
to job within the mall in hopes of earning more money, There is no association specific to Information Repre-
better working conditions, increased benefits, or career sentatives working in malls or shopping centers. How-
advancement. ever, individuals may obtain information about this
Information Representatives may work full time or type of career by contacting the International Coun-
part time depending on the specific position. cil of Shopping Centers (ICSC) or mall management
offices.
Advancement Prospects
There are not generally a lot of career advancement Tips for Entry
possibilities in this area. However, advancement pros- 1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
pects for Information Representatives are dependent of newspapers. Look under classifications such
to a great extent on the career aspirations of the indi- as “Information Representative,” “Information
vidual. Clerk,” or “Mall/Shopping Center Opportuni-
Those who are in this position to earn money while ties.”
in school will probably move to different types of careers 2. Stop in the mall’s management office and ask to
as they continue their education. Some individuals may fill in an employment application. Ask that your
move into administrative assistant positions in the mall application be kept on file if there are no current
management office. Others who are interested in mov- openings.
ing up the career ladder in this field might become the 3. Some malls also have a job board posted some-
mall’s customer service manager if the mall has this where in the center. Call the mall management
position. office and ask if they have one.
4. Many local chambers of commerce or commu-
Education and Training nity colleges offer hospitality and customer ser-
Most malls prefer their Information Representatives vice seminars. These may be helpful in giving
to have a minimum of a high school diploma or the you the edge over another applicant.
equivalent. The mall provides on-the-job training for 5. Check out mall and shopping center Web sites.
this position. Many list job openings on their site.

28 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CUSTOMER SERVICE
REPRESENTATIVE—
MALL/SHOPPING CENTER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Provide special services to mall customers; sell Customer Service Director
gift certificates; wrap gifts; rent strollers and wheel-
chairs; give information regarding the mall, mall Customer Service Representative
stores and mall services
Alternate Title(s): Customer Service Clerk
Salary Range: $7.50 to $9.00+ per hour Entry Level
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country Experience—No experience necessary
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Pleasant
Education and Training—High school diploma or personality; outgoing; interpersonal skills; people
equivalent preferred skills; communications skills

Position Description tomer Service Representative is responsible for helping


Today, there are many places for people to shop. Stand- customers get the stroller or wheelchair, explaining the
alone stores, department stores, strip malls, small, conditions of use, taking payment, and keeping records
mid-sized and large indoor malls, catalogs, television of rentals and deposits. He or she must also check in
shopping channels, and the Internet are all possibilities. strollers and wheelchairs which are returned.
With all these choices, many malls feel that the more Certain malls offer gift wrapping services which are
services they provide, the easier it will be for people offered either gratis or for a small fee. The Customer
to shop there. As a result, many malls host a variety of Service Representative would be responsible for wrap-
special services designed to make shopping easier and ping packages in a neat and attractive manner.
more convenient. These services are provided by Cus- Other malls offer shipping services for the conve-
tomer Service Representatives. nience of customers. In these instances, the Customer
The customer service area of a mall is usually cen- Service Representative may weigh items, package them
trally located to make it easy for shoppers to find. The for shipping, collect monies, and get the correct ship-
area may be a kiosk, store, or customer service counter ping information.
in the mall. The more time a customer spends in a mall, the bet-
The Customer Service Representative’s duties vary ter the chance he or she will purchase something. With
depending on the specific center, its structure, and the this in mind, many malls feel that customers will be
services they provide. In some centers, the Customer more comfortable shopping without carrying around
Service Representative will also be expected to act as an their other purchases, heavy outerwear, or packages.
information representative. This means the individual Therefore, they have areas where customers can store
will be expected to answer mall customers’ questions. their belongings, outerwear, and purchases while they
These might include things like where specific stores are shop. The Customer Service Representative usually
located in the mall, the location of the closest rest rooms, takes the customer’s belongings and gives the customer
or which stores in the mall sell certain merchandise. one half of a ticket to use to retrieve their merchandise
Many malls rent strollers and wheelchairs for cus- when they are done shopping. The other half of the
tomer use in the mall for a small fee or deposit. The Cus- ticket is kept with the customer’s items.

Malls and Shopping Centers 29


If a shopper has a problem in the mall, he or she will centers throughout the country. While every mall does
usually go to the customer service counter or area and not employ a Customer Service Representative, those
speak to a Customer Service Representative. It is the who do usually hire more than one.
responsibility of the individual to help the customer as There is a great deal of turnover in these positions.
much as possible. Problems can vary tremendously in a This may be a result of a number of situations includ-
mall and the Customer Service Representative must be ing other career aspirations, advancement, the general
adept at handling an array of situations in a calm and mobility of today’s society and a phenomenon called
helpful manner. “Mall Hopping.”
People lose their wallets, leave their handbags in Many malls and shopping centers have “Mall Hop-
dressing rooms or rest rooms, and put bags of merchan- pers.” This means that employees move from store to
dise down and forget to pick them up again every day store and job to job within the mall in hopes of making
in malls. Customers may find large sums of money or more money, better working conditions, increased ben-
jewelry that others have dropped or misplaced or bags efits, or career advancement.
of merchandise that someone else has lost. Customer Service Representatives may work full
Some situations are more stressful than others and time or part time depending on the specific position.
need more understanding. Children often wander
away from parents, customers slip or fall, or accidents Advancement Prospects
occur. The Customer Service Representative must keep Advancement prospects for Customer Service Repre-
everyone calm while following the mall’s procedures. sentatives working in malls are dependent to a great
Depending on the situation, he or she may be expected extent on the career aspirations of the individual. Gen-
to call mall management, security, or even the police erally, advancement prospects for Customer Service
when needed. Representatives working in malls are limited. Individu-
The Customer Service Representative will answer als may move up to become customer service manag-
patron’s questions about mall hours and special events ers, but these jobs are few and far between. Usually
and promotions. He or she will give out brochures, cou- these jobs can only be found at larger malls.
pons, or other materials provided by the mall. Individuals who want to work in customer service
The Customer Service Representative may be and advance their career may move into customer ser-
responsible for selling mall gift certificates and explain- vice positions in other industries. Those who want to
ing any conditions and limitations. In some malls, gift stay in a mall environment may move into administra-
certificates may be sold by the mall management office tive assistant positions in the mall management office.
or specific stores in the mall instead.
Additional duties of Customer Service Representa- Education and Training
tives working in malls may include: Customer Service Representatives working in malls
generally are required to have a minimum of a high
•  Assisting lost children school diploma or the equivalent. Many malls, how-
•  Assisting people who are looking for each other in ever, also hire individuals who are still attending school.
the mall The mall provides informal on-the-job training for this
•  Making announcements in the mall on the public position.
address system A college degree or background is helpful for those
•  Answering phone inquiries regarding mall questions aspiring to move up the career ladder in customer ser-
•  Giving phone numbers of mall stores vice. There are also many seminars, courses, and work-
shops in the area of customer service which will be
Salaries useful in honing skills and may give one applicant an
Customer Service Representatives working in malls edge over another.
earn between $7.50 and $9.00 or more per hour. Vari-
ables affecting earnings include the geographic loca- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
tion, size, and prestige of the shopping center as well as This is usually an entry-level position. Interpersonal
the experience and responsibilities of the individual. and customer relations skills are essential. Individuals
should be articulate with good communications skills.
Employment Prospects Customer Service Representatives working in malls
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking should be outgoing with a pleasant personality. They
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping should enjoy dealing with the public.

30 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Unions and Associations cation be kept on file if there are no current
There is no association specific to Customer Service openings.
Representatives working in malls or shopping centers. 3. Some malls also have a job board posted some-
However, individuals may obtain information about this where in the center. Call the mall management
type of career by contacting the International Council of office and ask if they have one; if so, check it
Shopping Centers (ICSC) or mall management offices. regularly.
4. Many local chambers of commerce or commu-
Tips for Entry nity colleges offer hospitality and customer ser-
1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections vice seminars. These may be helpful in giving
of newspapers. Look under classifications such you the edge over another applicant.
as “Customer Service Representative,” “Customer 5. Malls often have Web sites where they advertise
Service Clerk,” “Customer Service,” or “Mall/ employment opportunities. Look in the newspa-
Shopping Center Opportunities.” per for ads to find the Web site addresses of the
2. Visit the mall management office to fill out an mall you’re interested in working in.
employment application. Ask that your appli-

Malls and Shopping Centers 31


ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT—
SHOPPING CENTER OR
MALL OFFICE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist mall executives in their functions; screen Administrative Assistant in Larger, More
phone calls for executive; return phone calls; com- Prestigious Center or Assistant Marketing
pose correspondence; schedule meetings; coordi- Director, Assistant P.R. Director, or
nate office services Assistant Mall Manager
Alternate Title(s): Executive Assistant
Salary Range: $8.50 to $30.00+ per hour Administrative Assistant
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Secretary
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training Special Skills and Personality Traits—Good judg-
may be required ment; communications skills; detail oriented; office
Experience—Experience requirements vary skills; computer skills; phone skills; people skills

Position Description capacity, the individual has the opportunity to obtain


A mall office may have an array of support person- experience and learn more about the functions of a
nel helping the mall or shopping center run smoothly. department.
Depending on the size and structure of the center, there The Assistant working in the advertising depart-
may be one or more Administrative Assistants helping ment, for example, might be asked to call the media to
the mall management staff. get rate cards or check space availabilities and prices.
The Administrative Assistant may be assigned to The individual might be responsible for proofing ads
work with the mall manager or one of the other direc- for accuracy and correcting any errors. As the indi-
tors, managers, or departments. These might include vidual gains experience, he or she might even begin to
marketing, advertising, leasing, or tenant relations. In develop simple ads or layouts. Everything, of course,
some malls, the Administrative Assistant may work will be done under the director’s supervision.
with the entire administrative staff. The Administrative Assistant working with the pub-
The Administrative Assistant has varied duties. His lic relations director might have other duties. He or
or her main function is to assist the mall management she might be expected to proof press releases, check
executives. The individual might coordinate the office information for accuracy, or put together press pack-
staff and services. He or she may schedule the work ages. The individual might be asked to schedule meet-
of the office personnel. The Administrative Assistant ings with members of the media, help the p.r. director
might assign specific projects to staff on behalf of the put together a press conference, or coordinate a special
mall manager or other department managers. The indi- event.
vidual may, for example, assign secretaries to type cor- In some situations, he or she may act in the capac-
respondence or to put together leasing packages. ity of secretary. The individual might screen, take, and
If the Administrative Assistant is working with a return phone calls on behalf of the mall executive. He
specific department in the management office, he or or she might also prepare, compose, and type corre-
she might have more specialized duties. Working in this spondence or check correspondence done by secretary.

32     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Administrative Assistants are often called upon to Assistants to hold a minimum of a high school diploma.
type or handle confidential documents. Individuals Some prefer a college background. This will be espe-
might also be expected to handle confidential phone cially important for individuals seeking to advance
calls or schedule important meetings. It is essential the their careers in this field. Depending on the aspira-
Administrative Assistant keep information learned in tions of the Administrative Assistant, good choices for
the mall office confidential and be discrete at all times. majors might include retail management, communica-
In many mall offices, one of the major projects of tions, marketing, advertising, public relations, English,
the year is preparing the annual budget. The Admin- liberal arts, or a related field.
istrative Assistant may help collect information for the
budget as well as assist in its preparation. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Other duties of an Administrative Assistant working Experience working in an office environment may be
in a mall office may include: required or preferred. However, some malls will hire
Administrative Assistants with experience in public
•  Reviewing reports relations, marketing, advertising, or leasing instead.
•  Training office staff Administrative Assistants need excellent communi-
•  Screening visitors cations skills. Individuals should be dependable, detail
•  Dealing with emergencies oriented, and extremely organized. Interpersonal and
customer relations skills are essential. Good judgment
Salaries is mandatory.
Earnings for Administrative Assistants working in
shopping centers and malls can range from approxi- Unions and Associations
mately $8.50 to $30.00 or more per hour. Variables Individuals interested in working as Administrative
affecting earnings include the geographic location, size, Assistants in mall offices may learn more by contacting
and prestige of the shopping center as well as the expe- the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
rience and responsibilities of the individual. or the International Association of Administrative Pro-
One of the perks for Administrative Assistants fessionals (IAAP). Those working in specific depart-
working in malls is that individuals often receive an ments aspiring to move up may belong to more industry
employee discount from many of the mall stores. specific organizations. For example, those working in
the public relations department, might belong to the
Employment Prospects Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping Tips for Entry
centers throughout the country. As noted previously, 1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
malls may hire one or more Administrative Assistants. of newspapers. Look under classifications such as
“Administrative Assistant,” “Mall Office,” “Retail
Advancement Prospects Opportunities,” or “Executive Assistant.”
Administrative Assistants working in mall offices may 2. Stop by the mall management office to fill out an
advance their career in a number of ways. Some find application. Ask that your application be kept on
similar positions in larger malls resulting in increased file if there are no current openings.
responsibilities and earnings. 3. You can also send a short cover letter and your
Depending on the individual’s education and the resume to the mall management office.
area he or she has worked in, after obtaining experience 4. Many malls now have Web sites listing their
the Administrative Assistant might advance to positions openings. Check out on line the malls in which
such as assistant director of marketing, public relations, you are interested in working. If you don’t know
advertising, leasing, or even assistant mall manager. their web address, you can either call the mall
office or see if the address is in advertisements.
Education and Training 5. Some malls have internship programs. Call or
Education and training requirements vary from mall to write to check the possibilities.
mall. Generally, most malls prefer their Administrative

Malls and Shopping Centers 33


SECRETARY—SHOPPING CENTER
OR MALL OFFICE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Answering telephones in mall office; returning Secretary in Larger, More Prestigious
phone calls; filing; typing; routing mail; greeting Center, Executive Secretary,
people or Administrative Assistant
Alternate Title(s): None
Salary Range: $7.50 to $25.00+ per hour Secretary
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may Entry Level or Secretary
in Other Industry
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training
may be required Special Skills and Personality Traits—Office skills;
Experience—Secretarial or office experience pre- computer skills; phone skills; typing skills; commu-
ferred, but not always required nication skills; good judgment; people skills

Position Description The mall Secretary may photocopy documents such


Most malls and shopping centers have mall offices. These as leases, contracts, letters, or reports. He or she will
require the services of an array of support personnel also be responsible for filing, maintaining files, collat-
including Secretaries, executive secretaries, administra- ing reports, sorting mail, and sending faxes.
tive assistants, receptionists, and more. Each of these indi- An important function of the mall Secretary is greet-
viduals help the mall management office run smoothly. ing in a courteous manner people who visit the mall
Depending on the size and structure of the mall, office. Visitors might include tenants, mall employees,
there may be one or more Secretaries employed by the contractors, potential tenants, and customers.
center. The size and structure of each center will also The Secretary must answer the phones and return
determine the exact functions of each individual. phone calls in a professional and polite manner. The
Secretaries handle a wide variety of clerical duties. individual may also be responsible for screening calls
They are expected to type a variety of correspondence, and scheduling meetings and appointments.
envelopes, and reports. Typing may be done on a type- On occasion, the mall Secretary may deal with
writer, word processor, or computer. emergencies, finding the correct people to handle the
Individuals might additionally use various software problem.
programs to accomplish different tasks necessary to the Other duties of the mall Secretary may include:
mall on the computer. These might include more com-
mon programs such as Microsoft Word or Excel. Many •  Answering letters and other correspondence
malls also utilize specific mall management software •  Handling accounts payable and receivable
programs to keep track of tenancies, rents, and leases. •  Screening visitors
The mall Secretary might be asked to take and tran- •  Answering customer’s questions regarding the mall
scribe dictation or may be required to take shorthand. •  Giving directions to stores within the mall
Depending on the situation, he or she may be expected
to assist the mall manager, leasing agent, marketing Salaries
director, public relations director, or advertising direc- Earnings for Secretaries working in shopping centers
tor with their clerical work. and malls can range from approximately $7.50 to $25.00

34     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


or more per hour. Variables affecting earnings include Secretaries should have excellent typing skills, with
the geographic location, size, and prestige of the shop- the ability to type accurately between 55 and 65 words
ping center as well as the experience and responsibili- per minute. Word processing and computer skills are
ties of the individual. usually necessary. The ability to take dictation is often
One of the perks for Secretaries working in malls required or preferred.
is that individuals often receive an employee discount Successful mall Secretaries are pleasant to be around.
from mall stores. Interpersonal and customer relations skills are essential.
Communications skills are mandatory.
Employment Prospects
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking Unions and Associations
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping Individuals may obtain information about a career in
centers throughout the country. As noted previously, this field by contacting International Association of
malls may hire one or more Secretaries. Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Secretaries work-
ing in malls and shopping centers may also want to
Advancement Prospects contact the International Council of Shopping Centers
Secretaries working in mall offices may advance their (ICSC) for additional career information.
career in a number of ways. After obtaining experience,
some individuals find similar positions in larger, more Tips for Entry
prestigious malls. Others may climb the career lad- 1. There are community colleges, secretarial schools,
der by becoming executive secretaries or administrative and vocational and technical schools that offer
assistants. courses in various aspects of office work, com-
puters, and software. These courses give you the
Education and Training working knowledge which may be useful in giv-
Education and training requirements vary from mall to ing you the edge over other applicants.
mall. Generally, most malls prefer their Secretaries to 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
hold a minimum of a high school diploma or the equiv- of newspapers. Look under classifications such
alent. Some prefer some college or secretarial school. as “Secretary,” “Mall Office,” “Retail,” “Executive
Secretarial courses as well as instruction in computers Secretary,” or “Administrative Assistant,” “Office
and various software packages are helpful. Workers.”
3. Stop by the mall management office to see if
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits you can fill out an application. Ask that your
Entry-level positions may be open in some malls. Expe- application be kept on file if there are no current
rience, working in an office environment is usually openings.
required or preferred.

Malls and Shopping Centers 35


BOOKKEEPER—SHOPPING CENTER
OR MALL OFFICE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Recording accounts receivable and accounts Bookkeeper in Larger, More


payable Prestigious Center or Accountant
Alternate Title(s): Accounting Clerk, Bookkeeping
Clerk Bookkeeper
Salary Range: $8.50 to $30.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Entry Level Bookkeeping
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may or Accounting Clerk
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training Special Skills and Personality Traits—Aptitude for
may be required numbers; orderly; detail oriented; office skills; com-
Experience—Bookkeeping or accounting experi- puter skills; communication skills; good judgment
ence preferred, but not always required

Position Description be billed to tenants on a regular basis. The mall Book-


A great deal of money is involved in running malls. keeper is responsible for preparing and sending out
Rents and other charges are paid to the mall owner in these bills on a monthly basis.
exchange for a location in the center. Other monies The individual may also be expected to monitor
are paid out to run the center. The mall Bookkeeper is payments to ensure they are up to date. In some malls,
responsible for accurately recording all money received the Bookkeeper may be required to call tenants when
and spent. This information is invaluable in running bills are not paid by tenants on time.
the mall. As in all businesses, it will reflect the profit Running a mall is expensive. There are a wide array
and losses of the mall. of expenses which are paid out. These might include
Depending on the size and structure of the mall payroll, consultants, advertising, taxes, loans, equip-
office, there may be one or more Bookkeepers. In cen- ment, and supplies. It is the responsibility of the mall
ters where there is only one Bookkeeper, the individual Bookkeeper to handle these account payables. He or she
will be responsible for all of the accounting duties. Cen- is expected to review invoices and statements for accu-
ters with more than one individual in the department racy and completeness, cut checks, have them signed by
may have more specialized duties. the correct party, and send them out. Bills must be paid
For example, in some centers the mall Bookkeeper in a timely manner in order to avoid the mall being
may be solely responsible for accounts receivable or charged late fees.
conversely just the accounts payable. In other centers, Mall Bookkeepers must post the details of each
one Bookkeeper may handle everything. Large malls financial transaction. This may be done manually (by
may also have head Bookkeepers as well as entry-level hand on paper), with adding machines, or with the
clerks. help of a computer. Special accounting or bookkeeping
A major function of the mall Bookkeeper is record- software or mall management programs are commonly
ing tenant rents. In addition to monthly rents, malls used.
charge various other monies to tenants. These might Malls may have one or more bank accounts. Indi-
include taxes, CAM (common area maintenance) fees, viduals are responsible for totaling, balancing, and rec-
advertising, or marketing. These various charges must onciling each account to ensure accuracy.

36     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Many malls have codes for various categories of positions in larger, more prestigious malls. Others may
incomes and expenses. The Bookkeeper must code climb the career ladder by taking additional training
each invoice properly. This makes it easier to prepare and becoming an accountant.
reports detailing transactions and for annual budgeting
purposes. Education and Training
The mall Bookkeeper may be responsible for print- Education and training requirements vary from mall to
ing out and reviewing monthly management reports mall. Generally, malls require their Bookkeepers to hold
detailing accounts receivable, expenses, or budget com- a minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent.
parisons. Many prefer a college background or some business
Mall Bookkeepers in many centers may also be courses. Classes in bookkeeping, accounting, comput-
responsible for handling payroll functions. In these ers, and accounting software are helpful.
cases individuals may collect time cards, and tabulate In some properties, the mall will provide in-service
hours worked and pay due to each employee. training in the use of the software programs or the spe-
Other duties of the mall Bookkeeper may include: cific bookkeeping procedures used in the center.

•  Performing secretarial functions Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits


•  Writing letters and other correspondence regarding Bookkeepers should have a strong aptitude for num-
accounts payable and/or receivable bers. Individuals need to be careful, orderly, and detail
•  Answering tenants questions regarding billings oriented. Mall Bookkeepers should be comfortable
•  Preparing reports for auditors using computers and able to use accounting software
packages.
Salaries
Earnings for Bookkeepers working in shopping centers Unions and Associations
and malls can range from approximately $8.50 to $30.00 There is no association specific to Mall Bookkeepers.
or more per hour. Variables affecting earnings include Individuals working toward becoming an accountant
the geographic location, size, and prestige of the shop- might get additional information from the National
ping center as well as the experience and responsibili- Society of Public Accountants (NSPA) or the American
ties of the individual. Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICP).
One of the perks for Bookkeepers working in malls
is that individuals often receive employee discounts Tips for Entry
from mall stores. 1. Courses and workshops in accounting and book-
keeping techniques as well as bookkeeping and
Employment Prospects accounting software are helpful in making you
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seek- more marketable.
ing this position. Jobs may be located in malls and 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
shopping centers throughout the country. Management of newspapers. Look under classifications such as
companies and developers may also employ Bookkeep- “Bookkeeper,” “Accounting Clerk,” “Bookkeeping
ers for malls they manage. Depending on the size and Clerk,” and “Mall Office Personnel.”
structure of the center, there may be one or more Book- 3. Stop by the mall management office to see if
keepers on staff. you can fill out an application. Ask that your
application be kept on file if there are no current
Advancement Prospects openings.
Bookkeepers in mall offices may advance their career 4. Look for openings online. Check out sites like
in a number of ways. After obtaining experience, indi- hotjobs.com, monster.com and shopping center
viduals may take on additional duties or find similar and mall Web sites.

Malls and Shopping Centers 37


JANITORIAL SUPERVISOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Overseeing center’s janitorial staff; keeping Janitorial Supervisor for Larger, More
mall and property clean and well maintained Prestigious Malls/Shopping Centers
Alternate Title(s): Building Custodian Supervisor or Maintenance Supervisor
Salary Range: $24,000 to $48,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair Janitorial Supervisor—Shopping ­
Advancement Prospects: Poor Center/Mall
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Assistant Janitorial Supervisor
Prerequisites:
or Janitor
Education and Training—Educational require-
ments vary
Experience—Supervision experience
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Supervisory
skills; ability to deal well with people; knowledge of
use of cleaning supplies and equipment

Position Description Not only must the Janitorial Supervisor assign the
It is essential to their success that malls be clean and tasks, he or she must make sure they are completed
well maintained. The Janitorial Supervisor is respon- correctly. Not every assigned job must be inspected,
sible for overseeing the janitors and cleaning people. but the supervisor must see that tasks are executed in a
In some situations, he or she may also function as the timely manner.
maintenance supervisor. In others, the individual must The Janitorial Supervisor also trains new employees.
work in conjunction with the maintenance department. He or she must explain all pertinent procedures, rules,
The Janitorial Supervisor coordinates and schedules and regulations to employees. The supervisor issues
the other janitors, cleaners, and custodians. Depend- cleaning supplies and equipment to employees and
ing on the mall hours, janitors may work various shifts shows them how each is used properly.
including morning, afternoon, evening, or overnight. Janitorial Supervisors often meet with salespeople
The individual may also schedule and oversee indepen- from companies selling paper products or cleaning sup-
dent contractors for special projects such as cleaning plies. They may sample cleaning supplies and products
windows, skylights, fountains, or carpets. for possible use in the mall, and they must inventory
The Janitorial Supervisor assigns tasks on a daily cleaning supplies and paper products on a regular basis
basis for the mall’s janitors to accomplish. Some of these to be sure supplies and paper products are available
tasks may need to be done on a daily basis, while others when needed. They must also maintain cleaning equip-
may be done on a weekly or monthly basis. For example ment in good working condition.
daily tasks may include emptying ashtrays and trash Additional duties of Janitorial Supervisors might
receptacles, cleaning rest rooms, checking and replen- include:
ishing rest room paper products, and cleaning and
vacuuming floors and food court areas. Weekly tasks •  Screening, interviewing, and hiring janitors
might include washing inside mall windows, shampoo- •  Recommending promotions and dismissals
ing carpets, and washing down walls. Monthly tasks •  Preparing reports for budgets and expenses and
might include cleaning vents and major cleaning proj- schedules
ects on the property. •  Performing cleaning duties

38     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Salaries hone skills. Technical schools and trade programs may
Annual earnings for Janitorial Supervisors working in also offer training.
malls and shopping centers ranges from approximately
$24,000 to $48,000 depending on a number of vari- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
ables. These include the size, prestige, and geographic Experience handling janitorial work is necessary. Most
location of the specific mall or shopping center as well Janitorial Supervisors were once janitors or custodians.
as the experience, responsibilities, and education of the Supervisory skills are essential. A basic understanding
individual. and knowledge of the use of cleaning products and
equipment as well as maintenance is helpful. The ability
Employment Prospects to work well with others is also needed.
Employment prospects for Janitorial Supervisors
are fair. Individuals may find employment in malls Unions and Associations
throughout the country. As noted previously, in some There is no association specific to Shopping Center
malls there is a maintenance supervisor who handles Janitorial Supervisors. Some Supervisors may take
the functions of the Janitorial Supervisor. Additionally, advantage of educational programs of the International
some malls contract outside janitorial companies to Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
clean the center.
Tips for Entry
Advancement Prospects 1. Many larger property management and real
Advancement is difficult for Janitorial Supervisors. estate development companies have internships
Individuals may find similar positions in larger, more and training programs.
prestigious properties to advance their careers. They 2. Get your foot in the door by stopping in to the mall
might also become Maintenance Supervisors. management office and a filling out an application.
3. Positions are often advertised in the classified
Education and Training sections of newspapers. Look under classifica-
Generally, most employers prefer to hire individuals tions including “Janitorial Supervisor,” “Custo-
who have completed high school. A great deal of the dian Supervisor,” “Malls,” or “Shopping Centers.”
training Janitorial Supervisors receive is usually on the 4. Openings may also be listed on mall and shop-
job. Many malls have in-service training programs to ping center Web sites.

Malls and Shopping Centers 39


MAINTENANCE SUPERVISOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Overseeing center’s maintenance staff; mak- Maintenance Supervisor for Larger Malls/
ing sure mall and property are well maintained and Shopping Centers
in good working order; doing routine preventative
maintenance Maintenance Supervisor—Shopping
Alternate Title(s): Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor Center/Mall
Salary Range: $24,000 to $48,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Assistant Maintenance Supervisor
or Maintenance Mechanic
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Training requirements
vary; see text ing; problem solving skills; time management skills;
Experience—Experience in mall or property main- communication skills; ability to deal well with
tenance ­people
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Basic
knowledge of woodworking, electricity, and plumb-

Position Description In addition to fixing things, Maintenance Supervi-


The mall’s Maintenance Supervisor cares for the physi- sors also do routine preventative work to ensure that
cal appearance of the mall. Depending on the size of things are kept in working order. Individuals may, for
the mall, he or she may work with and supervise one example, do routine checks on ballasts, heating and air
or more maintenance people. In some malls, the indi- conditioning vents, and other equipment.
vidual also oversees the janitorial staff. The Maintenance Supervisor is expected to oversee
People generally don’t enjoy shopping in an unkempt the repair and maintenance of the mall, its property,
and dirty mall. Every building has things that break, machinery, and equipment. This might include work-
and malls are no exception. The Maintenance Super- ing on plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning and
visor must constantly look out for things that are not heating systems. A successful Maintenance Supervisor
working are in or need of repair or replacement, so that needs to be a jack-of-all-trades. Generally, the smaller
he or she can quickly correct the situation. the property, the more the Maintenance Supervisor and
Maintenance Supervisor’s look for an array of things. his or her staff must know how to do. While the services
These might include stained ceiling tiles, broken paper of outside contractors such as HVAC (heating, ventila-
towel dispensers, nonworking toilets, chipped paint, tion, and air-conditioning) mechanics, certified electri-
cracked benches, broken food court chairs, and bulbs cians, and roofers may be utilized, individuals must
that are burned out. know the basics. The Supervisor must know how to
Broken or damaged fixtures of furniture might also evaluate a situation and when to call in a professional.
be a liability. For example, a big pothole in the parking The Maintenance Supervisor and his or her staff are
lot might cause an accident. Cracked blacktop or side- often expected to handle plaster and drywall repairs or
walks might result in a trip or fall. A leaky roof might putting up walls to cover empty stores. Other responsi-
allow water to damage tenants’ goods and result in bilities might include checking and repairing the roof,
insurance claims. painting the building, clearing clogged toilets and leaky

40     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


faucets, and doing work within the building structure properties. Others climb the career ladder by finding
to bring it in compliance with local building codes. The employment with large real estate developers or man-
Maintenance Supervisor and his or her staff additionally agement companies.
might be expected to repair air conditioning and heat-
ing problems. In many malls, each maintenance man or Education and Training
woman has a specialty. In that manner, a Supervisor can Maintenance Supervisors obtain their training in dif-
then assign the correct person to handle each job. ferent ways. Some train informally, learning new skills
The Maintenance Supervisor is expected to coor- by watching others. Apprenticeships are an excellent
dinate and schedule the maintenance staff. He or she training opportunity in this field. Many individuals also
assigns tasks on a daily basis to the maintenance staff. attend trade, technical, or vocational schools to learn
The individual may also schedule and oversee the work various skills.
of independent contractors.
Additional duties of Maintenance Supervisor might Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
include: Experience working in maintenance is necessary for this
job. Most Maintenance Supervisors worked in mainte-
•  Screening, interviewing, and hiring the maintenance nance prior to their current job. Supervisory skills and
staff the ability to work well with others are needed. An
•  Recommending promotions and dismissals understanding and knowledge of all aspects of mainte-
•  Preparing reports for budgets and expenses and nance is essential.
schedules
•  Performing maintenance Unions and Associations
•  Making sure maintenance jobs are performed cor- There is no association specific to Shopping Center
rectly and on a timely basis Maintenance Supervisors.

Salaries Tips for Entry


Annual earnings for Maintenance Supervisors working 1. Stop in to the mall management office and fill
in malls and shopping centers can range from approxi- out an application. Ask that it be kept on file if
mately $24,000 to $48,000 or more depending on a there are no current openings.
number of variables. These include the size, prestige, 2. Many larger property management and real
and geographic location of the specific mall or shop- estate development companies have internships
ping center as well as the experience, responsibilities, and training programs.
and education of the individual. 3. Positions are often advertised in the classi-
fied sections of newspapers. Look under clas-
Employment Prospects sifications including “Maintenance Supervisor,”
Employment prospects for Maintenance Supervisors “Maintenance,” “Malls,” or “Shopping Centers.”
are fair. Individuals may find employment in malls 4. Many malls have Web sites featuring job oppor-
throughout the country. The more skilled the individ- tunities. Check advertisements in newspapers or
ual, the more employable he or she will be. mall bro­chures for mall Web site addresses.

Advancement Prospects
Maintenance Supervisors may advance their careers by
locating similar positions in larger, more prestigious

Malls and Shopping Centers 41


SECURITY DIRECTOR—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop security plan for mall; hire, train, Security Director in Larger, More
and supervise security officers; patrol, inspect, Prestigious Center or Owner
and protect shopping center and center property; of Security Company
enforce regulations; supervise loss prevention
plan Security Director
Alternate Title(s): Director of Security
Salary Range: $25,000 to $49,000+
Employment Prospects: Poor Security Officer or Assistant
Security Director
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; areas hosting
large malls will offer more opportunities
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Supervisory
Education and Training—High school diploma or skills; good judgment, responsible; interpersonal
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training skills; communications skills; good moral character;
may be required; see text people skills
Experience—Experience requirements vary Special Requirements—Clean police record

Position Description this crime. If there is a great deal of shoplifting occur-


Today more than ever, security in malls is of the utmost ring in the mall on Friday nights, for example, the Secu-
importance. In order for customers to feel comfortable, rity Director may put more officers on duty that night.
mall owners try to provide as safe an environment as Shrinkage is a big problem to stores in malls. Shrink-
possible. age is the loss of merchandise due to various means, the
The Security Director in a mall or shopping cen- most prominent being shoplifting. Loss prevention is
ter is responsible for overseeing the safety of the mall, important. Shoplifters often go from store to store in a
its employees, and customers. The Director develops mall taking merchandise. The Security Director often
and implements a mall safety and security plan. Some develops seminars for mall employees to help them
centers employ their own security department. Others find ways to cut their shrinkage. He or she may also put
contract out for the services of a security company. together various classes on safety.
The mall Security Director is expected to protect In some instances, the shrinkage in mall stores
the mall and the mall’s property. The individual hires involves employees. The mall Security Director may be
security officers and trains and supervises them. He or asked to hire undercover officers or involve the police
she must explain the mall’s policies and procedures to in the investigation.
each officer. The mall Security Director usually has a good work-
Every mall has different days and times in which the ing relationship with the local law enforcement agencies.
center is busiest. The Security Director is in charge of Usually, the mall security calls local law enforcement to
scheduling the security staff in the most effective man- arrest people for infractions as they themselves have
ner possible, and monitoring the activities in the mall very limited authority.
to make sure the schedule is working properly. The mall Security Director is in charge of keeping
While tenants are generally responsible for handling the entire mall property safe. He or she may assign offi-
shoplifting incidents in their own store, the mall is cers to patrol the inside of the mall as well as the outside
expected to provide a security presence which will deter of the property including the parking lot.

42     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Shrinkage is not the only problem that might occur Directors to have a minimum of a high school diploma
in a mall. There are a variety of potential disturbances or the equivalent, most malls will prefer or require indi-
and problems that might need to be addressed. The viduals to have a college background or degree.
Security Director is in charge of handling these situa- Certain states may require individuals working in
tions or assigning a security officer to take care of the security to go through specified training programs. Some
problem. These problems might include calming loud states may also require an annual in-service course to
or boisterous customers, evicting customers who are refresh or update officers in changes in the security field.
acting in a disorderly fashion, or helping in a medical Any armed officer must go through a firearms train-
emergency. Individuals must be able to handle emer- ing course. These usually involve both classroom instruc-
gency situations such as power outages, weather prob- tion and a specified number of hours on the firing range.
lems, and medical emergencies.
The Security Director often uses a two-way radio Special Requirements
system to keep in contact with officers. A clean police record and good moral character are
Additional duties of the Security Directors working essential. As previously noted, those who are armed
in shopping centers or malls may include: usually also must be registered with their specific state
to carry firearms.
•  Assuming duties of security officers
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Checking to make sure daily shift reports detailing
The Security Director is required to have a great deal
occurrences are complete
of experience. Many Security Directors started out in
•  Handling traffic concerns going in and out of the mall
police work. Some are retired police officers. Others
•  Preparing reports for mall management on security
have experience in the military or other areas of civil
and safety
service. There are also some individuals who obtained
•  Making recommendations to mall management about
experience and worked themselves up to the top posi-
security and safety concerns
tion from security departments in malls or working
•  Formulating policies regarding safety
with outside security companies.
•  Determining need for special safety programs
The Security Director working in a mall should have
an array of skills. First and foremost, individuals need to
Salaries
be responsible people with good judgment. Leadership
Annual earnings for Security Directors working in
skills are vital. Interpersonal and customer relations skills
shopping centers and malls can range from approxi-
are essential. Communications skills are mandatory.
mately $25,000 to $49,000 or more. Variables affect-
ing earnings include the geographic location, size, and Unions and Associations
prestige of the shopping center as well as the experi- Individuals may obtain information about possible
ence, training, and responsibilities of the individual. licensing requirements from their state or local licens-
ing commission.
Employment Prospects
Employment prospects are poor for individuals seeking Tips for Entry
this position. As noted previously, many malls employ 1. Openings may be advertised in the classified sec-
outside security firms instead of in-house people. The tions of newspapers. Look under heading classifica-
best prospects for employment in this area will be at tions such as “Malls,” “Shopping Centers,” “Security
large malls. Directors,” or “Mall/Shopping Center Security.”
2. Check out openings on the Internet. Many malls
Advancement Prospects have their own Web sites listing employment
Security Directors working in malls may advance their opportunities.
career in a number of ways. The most common is land- 3. You might also find openings on the World Wide
ing similar positions in larger, more prestigious malls. Web job sites. Start with the more popular ones
Others may climb the career ladder by striking out and such as www.hotjobs.com and www.monster.
starting their own security firms. com. Then surf the Web looking for sites specifi-
cally geared towards the retail industry.
Education and Training 4. Contact mall management companies. As they
Education and training requirements vary for this type usually handle more than one center, they may
of position. While some malls require their Security be aware of openings.

Malls and Shopping Centers 43


SECURITY OFFICER—
SHOPPING CENTER/MALL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Patrol, inspect, and protect the shopping center Security Director or Security Officer
and center property; enforce regulations; handle loss in Larger, More Prestigious Center
prevention
Alternate Title(s): Guard Security Officer
Salary Range: $7.50 to $20.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Entry Level, Security Officer
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may in Other Industry
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training Special Requirements—Clean police record; armed
may be required officers must be registered to carry firearms and
Experience—Experience requirements vary state licensing may be required; may need to go
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Good judg- through specified training program.
ment, responsible; interpersonal skills; leadership;
people skills; communications skills; good moral
character

Position Description Security Officers are expected to keep the peace.


It is essential that malls be as safe as possible. Security Individuals handle any disturbances within the shop-
Officers are responsible for helping to keep malls safe ping center, such as calming situations if customers
for customers and mall tenants. Some centers employ become loud or boisterous. They may also be required
their own security department. Others contract out for to evict a customer who is acting in a disorderly fash-
the services of a security company. ion.
Security Officers are expected to protect the mall Loss prevention is a major problem in many malls.
and the mall’s property. Generally, Security Officers are Security Officers are responsible for protecting against
uniformed and can be identified. On occasion, Secu- theft and vandalism. Individuals must be alert to every-
rity Officers may work “undercover.” In these instances, thing going on around them. They must observe the
they will not wear uniforms and will dress in plain actions and activities of both customers and employ-
clothes to blend in with the other shoppers. ees. If they see a potential problem, they are expected
Security Officers patrol the mall. They walk around to contact the police or other local law enforcement
the center and maintain a presence. Some Security agency to handle the arrest.
Officers may also drive around the property to assure Security Officers often use two-way radios to keep
the safety of customers and mall employees in the park- in contact with their supervisor. Individuals must be
ing lot. Security Officers may be assigned designated able to handle emergency situations such as power
areas to patrol or may move around the mall during outages, weather problems, and medical emergencies
their shift. It is up to them to identify potentially dan- which may occur.
gerous situations and act in an effective manner. It is Security officers are expected to file daily shift
important to note that unless the Security Officer is reports detailing occurrences and logging any incidents
also a licensed police officer he or she usually has lim- or accidents during their shifts. All unusual activities
ited legal authority. within the mall must be documented.

44     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Additional duties of the Security Officers working in an annual in-service course to refresh or update officers
shopping centers or malls may include: in changes in the security field.
Armed officers must go through a firearms training
•  Assisting lost children course. These usually involve both classroom instruc-
•  Checking to make sure store gates are down, doors tion and a specified number of hours on the firing
are closed and locked range.
•  Escorting mall employees to their vehicles after hours
•  Answering customers’ questions regarding the mall Special Requirements
•  Giving directions to stores within the mall A clean record and good moral character are essential.
Security officers who are armed usually also must be
Salaries registered with the state in which the mall is located to
Earnings for Security Officers working in shopping carry firearms. As noted previously certain states may
centers and malls can range from approximately $7.50 require security officers to go through a specified train-
to $20.00 or more per hour. Variables affecting earnings ing program.
include the geographic location, size, and prestige of
the shopping center as well as the experience, training, Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
and responsibilities of the individual. Salaries may also Entry-level positions may be open in some malls.
differ depending on whether the individual is employed Experience, however, working in private security, the
directly by the mall or working for a security company military, or civil service police is useful. Security Offi-
which is contracted by the mall. cers need a multitude of skills. Individuals should be
In some cases, off-duty police officers work as Secu- responsible people with good judgment. Interpersonal
rity Officers in their off hours. These individuals may and customer relations skills are essential. Communica-
earn upward of $30 or more per hour. tions skills are mandatory.

Employment Prospects Unions and Associations


Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking There is no association specific to Security Officers
this position. Jobs can be located in malls and shopping working in malls or shopping centers. However, indi-
centers throughout the country. As noted previously, viduals may obtain information about possible licens-
individuals may be employed by malls directly or by ing requirements from their state or local licensing
security companies. commission.

Advancement Prospects Tips for Entry


Security Officers may advance their career in a number 1. There are some community colleges, vocational,
of ways. After obtaining experience, some individuals and technical schools offering courses for secu-
find similar positions in larger, more prestigious malls rity officers. These courses may be useful in
or with larger security companies. Others may climb career advancement.
the career ladder by becoming security supervisors or 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
directors. Still others decide they enjoy security work of newspapers. Look under classifications such as
and become trained police officers. ­“Security Officer,” “Security,” “Guard,” or “Mall/
Shopping Center Security.”
Education and Training 3. Stop in the mall’s management office to see if you
Education and training requirements vary from mall can fill out an employment application. Ask that
to mall. Generally, most malls prefer their Security your application be kept on file if there are no
Officers to have a minimum of a high school diploma current openings.
or the equivalent. Depending on the situation, the mall 4. Look in the yellow pages to check the names and
may provide on-the-job training. Those working for addresses of security companies.
security companies may go through similar training 5. If your local mall utilizes the services of a secu-
programs. rity company, ask one of the officers to give you
Certain states may require individuals working as a contact name and phone number. Then call
Security Officers to go through a specified training pro- the company and make an appointment for an
gram offered in the area. Some states may also require interview.

Malls and Shopping Centers 45


LEASING DIRECTOR—
MALL/SHOPPING CENTER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Leasing the stores in mall or shopping center; Leasing Director for Larger, More
negotiating leases and rental agreements; acting as Prestigious Mall or Shopping Center
owner’s agent
Alternate Title(s): Real Estate Director Leasing Director
Salary Range: $35,000 to $125,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Assistant Leasing Director, Real Estate
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may Agent or Real Estate Broker
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Educational require- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Negotiating
ments vary; see text skills; problem solving skills; communication skills;
Experience—Experience working in real estate and ability to deal well with people; pleasantly aggressive
leasing necessary

Position Description Once tenants decide they might be interested in


The way mall and shopping center owners and man- leasing space in the mall, the Leasing Director must
agement make money is by renting space to tenants. negotiate a lease. There are a variety of areas to consider
The person responsible for this function is the Leasing including rents, taxes, CAM (common area mainte-
Director, but in some malls, the mall manager may han- nance) charges, advertising charges, prepping of the
dle the duties. Leasing Directors act as the mall owner’s space, length of the lease, options, and kick-out clauses.
representative or agent. (A kick-out clause allows a tenant to leave without pen-
Prospective tenants often contact malls to find out alty if certain conditions are not met. For example,
about rents, other charges, and availabilities. The Leas- not meeting a specified amount of sales.) The Leasing
ing Director may send out leasing packages to these Director usually has a degree of leeway to negotiate
individuals or may set up meetings to discuss pertinent terms.
information. If individuals are interested, the Director The Leasing Director is often the individual respon-
is expected to show spaces in the mall. sible for dealing with tenants after a lease has been
The Leasing Director must also seek out tenants who executed when the tenants have a major complaint.
might be beneficial to the mall’s tenant mix. The suc- Continual roof leaks, constantly dirty rest rooms,
cess of malls often depends on this. Just filling up stores unkempt mall property, low foot traffic, or lack of mall
does not always work, because people like to visit malls advertising and promotion might all cause tenants to
where they have a variety of shopping options. Having complain bitterly. The Leasing Director is expected to
ten shoe stores, for example, with little else might not calm the tenants and deal with the problems. He or she
be the best mix to bring in the most shoppers. may contact the mall manager, tenant relations director,
In this position, the individual may be required marketing director, or public relations director to look
to meet frequently with prospective tenants. He or into the problems and solve them. In some instances,
she will answer questions and emphasize the selling the Leasing Director may authorize abatements to
points about the mall that are likely to be the most appease irate tenants.
important to the tenant. For example, the Director The Leasing Director is in charge of tracking ten-
may show sales figures, foot traffic reports, or adver- ant leases and handling renewals. He or she may write
tising budgets. letters, call, or personally visit tenants when leases are

46     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


close to completion and need to be renewed. At times, or real estate developers. Some individuals strike out on
the Leasing Director may renegotiate the lease. In other their own and form leasing companies.
situations, the Director may just make sure the tenant
picks up his or her option. Education and Training
There is a great deal of paperwork connected with Educational requirements vary from mall to mall.
this job. The Leasing Director must make sure accu- While much of the training individuals receive is on the
rate records are kept. It is essential that the individual job, many employers prefer that individuals have some
remember what was said at meetings, promised dur- sort of real estate training. Others require it.
ing phone calls, and negotiated. The Leasing Director Most positions will also prefer or require the Leasing
must be sure leases are executed and signed by all Director to hold a real estate agent or brokers license. In
parties. order to obtain this licensing, individuals must usually
Leasing Directors working for real estate developers take and pass a written test as well as go through at least
or mall management companies may be responsible for 30 hours of classroom instruction to become an agent
handling the leasing of more than one mall. or 90 hours of training to become a broker.
Additional duties of Leasing Directors might For those interested in a college degree, relevant
include: majors might include real estate, business, public
administration, finance, or related fields.
•  Developing leasing packages Professional and trade associations often offer help-
•  Working with outside real estate agents ful seminars and courses in all aspects of real estate.
•  Dealing with corporate leasing directors and agents
•  Attending conventions and other leasing events Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Visiting other malls to seek out potential tenants Leasing Directors may begin their careers in a variety
of ways. Some work as assistant leasing directors or in
Salaries real estate in other industries. Others work in various
Earnings for mall Leasing Directors can vary greatly aspects of mall administration either directly for a mall,
starting at approximately $35,000 and going up to a mall management company, or a real estate manage-
$125,000 or more. Earnings depend on the size, pres- ment company.
tige, and geographic location of the property and Leasing Directors should be assertive with an abil-
number of properties the individual is responsible for ity to deal with and work well with others. Individuals
leasing. Other variables include the experience, respon- need to be good problem solvers who are energetic,
sibilities, and education of the individual. detail oriented, and highly motivated.
Leasing Directors often receive a salary plus com- Successful Leasing Directors have developed many
missions or percentages on the gross terms of the leases contacts. This is helpful in bringing people to the table
they write. In some situations individuals may receive when looking for new tenants. The ability to negotiate
bonuses based on increased rentals or the handling of well is essential.
extra projects.
Unions and Associations
Employment Prospects Mall or shopping center Leasing Directors may be mem-
Aggressive and effective Leasing Directors are always bers of a number of associations providing career guid-
in demand. However it should be noted that every mall ance and support. These include the National Association
does not employ a Leasing Director. In smaller malls of Realtors (NAR), a local state real estate association, the
the mall manager often handles the leasing functions. International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and
Individuals seeking this position may find employ- the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM).
ment throughout the country. Leasing Directors may
be directly employed by malls or work for real estate Tips for Entry
developers, development companies, or property man- 1. Contact larger property management and real
agement companies. estate development companies to find out what
internship and training programs they have
Advancement Prospects available in this area.
The most common method of career advancement for 2. There are a number of executive search firms
Leasing Directors is to find similar positions in larger, dealing exclusively with jobs in shopping centers
more prestigious malls, mall management companies, and malls.

Malls and Shopping Centers 47


3. Send your resume and a cover letter to retail 5. Openings are also advertised in trade journals
property management companies, real estate such as Value Retail News.
development companies, and large malls. 6. Jobs in this field may be located on-line. Begin
4. Positions are often advertised in the classified your search on some of the more popular job
sections of newspapers. Look under classifica- search sites such as the Monster board (www.
tions including “Leasing Director,” or “Mall monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hot
Leasing Director,” or “Shopping Center Leasing jobs.com). Then surf the Web for sites specific to
Director,” and “Retail Leasing Director.” the retail or shopping center industries.

48 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR—
MALL/SHOPPING CENTER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Plan, develop, and implement special events Public Relations Director
and promotions for mall or shopping center or Marketing Director
Alternate Title(s): Special Events Manager; Events
Coordinator Special Events Coordinator
Salary Range: $25,000 to $40,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Special Events Assistant
Advancement Prospects: Fair
or Public Relations Assistant
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree pre- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
ferred detail oriented; imagination; innovation; commu-
Experience—Experience in special events, publicity, nications skills; understanding of shopping center
and/or public relations preferred industry

Position Description lot, museum exhibits, mall anniversary celebrations, or


Most malls and shopping centers sponsor a variety of weddings in the mall.
special events and promotions throughout the year in Some events are developed and executed by the Spe-
order to bring in potential shoppers, attract the attention cial Events Coordinator, but others may require outside
of the media, and create goodwill in the community. contractors. For example, the Coordinator may hire
The Special Events Coordinator is responsible for a carnival or circus promoter to set up in the mall or
helping to develop, create, and implement the special parking lot. He or she might put together crafts shows,
events and promotions in the mall. The individual is antiques shows, or computer shows, or work with a
often expected to develop an annual calendar of events. promoter or agent to bring in events like puppet shows,
This contains all the events and promotions planned for beauty pageants, or petting zoos.
the coming year. While the calendar is subject to change, Many Special Events Coordinators work on events
it gives tenants the opportunity to plan copromotions if and promotions with cosponsors. These may include
they wish, and also helps them plan to have more staff stores within the mall, car dealerships, radio or televi-
when traffic may be busiest. For example, if the mall sion stations, or newspapers. Some promotions may
schedules a Washington’s Birthday Sidewalk Sale, the feature contests or sweepstakes giving away big prizes
stores must make sure they have merchandise marked such as cars, jewelry, or money.
down. If the mall is sponsoring a safe trick-or-treating Depending on the structure of the mall, the Spe-
night, store managers may need to put on more staff to cial Events Coordinator may be responsible for dealing
deal with the crowds of children and their parents. with the community organizations. In many centers,
Promotions and events may be routine or may be mall management allows not-for-profit groups to set
more complex. Routine events might include things up in the hallways to raise funds, have bake sales, or
such as sidewalk sales, health fairs, community fairs, recruit new members. In this case the individual may
Santa’s arrival, crafts shows, antiques shows, a safe be expected to coordinate the groups, show them where
Trick or Treat night, or fashion shows. More complex to set up, and take care of any necessary paperwork.
events might include how-to days, wine and cheese When developing events and promotions the Spe-
tastings, soap opera festivals, concerts in the parking cial Events Coordinator takes a number of things into

Malls and Shopping Centers 49


account. These include what events will bring the most marketing director, or community relations director,
shoppers into the mall, what it takes to execute the or a combination of the three, may be responsible for
event, and how it figures into the budget. handling these functions.
Foot traffic is essential to malls. The more people
walking around, the better the chance they will make Advancement Prospects
purchases. Sometimes the purchases may not be imme- Advancement prospects are fair for Special Events
diate. In some cases, once an event brings in people to Coordinators. Individuals might climb the career lad-
the mall, they see what is available and return when der by finding similar positions in larger or more pres-
they need items. tigious malls. With educa­tion, experience, and training,
The number of events the individual will be respon- individuals might also ad­vance to become mall public
sible for annually depends to a great extent on the size relations or marketing directors.
and structure of the center as well as its promotional
Education and Training
budget. Events and promotions can be inexpensive or
While there are exceptions, individuals seeking posi-
they might be very expensive. The best ideas in malls
tions in mall special event coordination are usually
are sometimes the tried and true ones. However, the required to hold a bachelor’s degree. Good majors
successful Special Events Coordinator must initiate include communications, public relations, English,
innovative and creative events to supplement the stan- liberal arts, advertising, business, journalism, or retail
dard routine events. management.
The Special Events Coordinator is expected to cre- Seminars and workshops in special events, promo-
ate a basic plan for the event, and develop and stick to a tions, public relations, publicity, and advertising are
budget to complete the project. In some cases, the Spe- helpful.
cial Events Coordinator may be responsible for handling
the promotion and publicity for the events. In other Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
cases, the individual will work with the public relations Special Events Coordinators working in malls often
and advertising departments on these functions. receive experience as interns or assistants in the mar-
Generally, the mall Special Events Coordinator must keting, public relations, or special events office prior to
be on hand for special events and promotions. This their current position.
means, the individual may work on weekends or during Successful Special Events Coordinators are creative,
evening hours. innovative, and have excellent communications skills.
Other duties of a mall Special Events Coordinator Individuals need to be extremely organized and detail
may include: oriented with the ability to deal calmly with stressful
situations.
•  Developing special events for mall employees
•  Working on off-site events such as mall sponsorship Unions and Associations
of runs or marathons Special Events Coordinators working in malls might be
associated with a number of associations and organiza-
•  Obtaining proposals from outside vendors
tions providing professional support and educational
•  Supervising staff
guidance. These might include the Public Relations
Society of America (PRSA), the International Coun-
Salaries
cil of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Retail
Earnings for Special Events Coordinators working in a
Merchants Association (NRMA), or the National Retail
retail environment range from approximately $25,000
Federation (NRF).
to $40,000 or more. Factors affecting earnings include
the specific retail store as well as its size, prestige, and Tips for Entry
location. Other variables include the education, experi- 1. Contact the International Council of Shopping
ence, and responsibilities of the individual. Centers and other organizations to see when and
where they hold seminars or workshops in mall
Employment Prospects promotion and special events.
Employment prospects are fair for Special Events Coor- 2. Look for an internship or a position as a special
dinators, however, every mall does not have such a events assistant in a mall. This will give you great
position. In some centers, the public relations director, experience and get your foot in the door.

50 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


3. Positions may be located in the newspaper help 4. Job openings may also be listed in trade publica-
wanted section. The Sunday classified section is tions such as Value Retail News.
usually the largest of the week. Look under head- 5. Jobs may also be located via the Internet. Start by
ings such as “Special Events,” “Special Events checking out some of the more popular sites such
Coordinator,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Public as www.hotjobs.com.
Relations,” “Marketing,” “Promotion,” or “Malls.”

Malls and Shopping Centers 51


department
stores
STORE MANAGER—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Handle day-to-day management of department Department Store Manager for


store; oversee staffing needs of store; deal with cus- Larger or More Prestigious Store
tomer service issues; make sure store is in compli- or Area Manager
ance with safety issues; work with staff to help store
meet sales and profit goals Store Manager
Alternate Title(s): Manager
Salary Range: $35,000 to $150,000+
Employment Prospects: Good Assistant Store Manager
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem
Education and Training—Training requirements solving skills; negotiation skills; communications
vary; see text skills; ability to deal well with people; management
Experience—Experience in retail management skills; administrative skills

Position Description The Store Manager oversees the staffing needs of


Department stores encompass a variety of sizes and the store. In large department stores there may be a
types. Some are huge stores covering three floors or human resources department or manager handling
more. Others are smaller. Department stores may cater these functions. However, the Store Manager will still
to average consumers offering discount merchandise usually oversee the hiring or termination of key execu-
or they may cater to upscale shoppers. No matter what tives within the store. In smaller department stores, the
type of store, each has a Store Manager. Manager may be responsible for staffing the store with
The Department Store Manager has a great deal of the help of assistant managers. He or she may schedule
responsibility. He or she is ultimately responsible for job fairs or write and place help wanted ads for the
everything that happens within the store. The individ- newspaper or other media.
ual handles the day-to-day management of the depart- The working and customer climate of department
ment store. Within the scope of the job, the Manager stores often depends on the Store Manager. Those who
has many different duties. can make a store a pleasant shopping environment for
One of the main functions of the Store Manager customers and a pleasant workplace for employees will
is working with his or her staff to meet corporate be most successful.
sales and profit goals. Stores generally keep accurate The Department Store Manager also oversees a staff
records of sales figures on a daily, weekly, monthly, of assistant managers, department managers, merchan-
and annual basis. This information is used to help dise managers, and other employees who help fulfill the
project profits. Based on these figures along with vari- duties of running the store. The Store Manager must be
ous other information, the corporate offices set sales familiar with the workings of every department.
goals. It is up to the Manager to try to find ways to There are an array of laws, rules, and regulations
meet these goals. This might include working with which must be followed for health, legal, and safety
assistant managers, merchandise managers, buyers, reasons. It is the responsibility of the Store Manager
operations people, and the corporate office as well as to make sure all of these are adhered to. These may
other store employees. include making sure aisles are wide enough for wheel-

54     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


chairs to get through, merchandise isn’t blocking exits, expected to analyze other data as well to help determine
and fire extinguishers are inspected. what direction the store might take to increase profits.
The Store Manager is also expected to make sure Many chain department stores have similar layouts
that all employment regulations are followed within in each store. That means that the floorplans are much
the store. These might include things like following the same whether you are in a store in New York or
labor rules, making sure teenagers don’t work more Los Angeles. In many department stores, the Manager
hours than their allotted time, or forms are filled out is responsible for making sure that the store layout is
for tax purposes. While the individual may have others handled in accordance with corporate layout designs.
handling these tasks, the Manager still is responsible for Additional duties of Department Store Managers
overseeing the function. may include:
Many department stores, especially chains, have
weekly promotions and sales advertised in the local •  Representing the store at community events
paper and fliers. These promotions, ads, and fliers are •  Handling emergencies and crises
used to attract customers. While these are often handled •  Handling loss prevention
by the corporate office of a chain, it is up to the Man- •  Terminating employees
ager to make sure the specials and items advertised are •  Recommending raises and promotions for employees
on the shelves. The Manager is expected to make sure
the merchandise is moved from the stockroom to the Salaries
shelves so it is available. In instances where merchan- Earnings for Department Store Managers can range
dise wasn’t delivered to the store, the Manager must from approximately $35,000 to $150,000 or more. Vari-
determine how to best handle the situation. In some ables affecting earnings include the size, prestige, and
stores, the Manager may decide to give rain checks to geographic location of the department store. Other
customers. In others, Store Managers may offer the variables include the experience, responsibilities, and
customer comparable merchandise when items aren’t education of the individual. Generally, those with the
available. highest salaries will have a great deal of responsibility
The Store Manager sets the tone for customer ser- and manage large stores. Some Store Managers may
vice in the store. Customer service is of utmost impor- receive bonuses when sales meet or exceed goals.
tance to keeping customers happy and satisfied. The
Store Manager is expected to make sure the customer Employment Prospects
service of the store is up to par. While most department Employment prospects are good for Department Store
stores have customer service representatives and man- Managers. Positions are located throughout the coun-
agers, there are always customers and situations that try. Possi­bilities include large chains stores like Wal-
need extra special care and attention. Mart, K-Mart, Target, Kohls, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s,
The Manager will usually be the one called when Dillards, Bloomingdales, and Nordstroms. Individuals
a customer has a problem no one else can handle or may also find employment working in smaller depart-
wants to handle. He or she is responsible for dealing ment stores that are locally owned.
with emergencies, crises, and any problems which crop
up in the store during the day. He or she is expected to Advancement Prospects
write reports on accidents or other incidents such as The most common method of career advancement for
when employees or customers are hurt within the store Store Managers working in department stores is locat-
or in the parking lot. ing similar jobs in larger or more prestigious stores.
Most department stores have accounting depart- Those working in chains may climb the career ladder
ments or cash offices. As the Department Store Man- by promotion to larger stores within the chain. Indi-
ager is ultimately responsible for overseeing all monies viduals may also advance their careers by becoming
in the store, he or she usually works closely with the area managers or moving into other areas of corporate
managers of these departments. He or she may go management.
over reports of the day’s receipts as well as weekly and
monthly reports. Education and Training
In some department stores the Manager may also Educational and training requirements vary from store
be responsible for depositing the day’s receipts in to store. Generally larger stores and chains require their
the bank or may accompany an assistant manager or Managers to go through formal training programs
other employee in this task. The Manager also may be which include both classroom and in-store training.

Department Stores 55
Many of the larger department store chains send their Unions and Associations
management recruits to these training programs which Individuals interested in learning more about careers
are often located at the company’s corporate offices. in this field should contact the American Collegiate
Some stores will hire individuals who have no formal Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa-
training, but who have worked their way up obtaining tion (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Associa-
on-the-job training along the way. tion (NRMA).
Educational backgrounds of Department Store
Managers vary too. While stores may not require indi- Tips for Entry
viduals to hold anything above a high school diploma, 1. Many larger department and chain stores offer
they may prefer Managers with college backgrounds or management training programs. Contact the
degrees. Good majors include business, management, headquarters of these stores to find out about
marketing, retailing, merchandising, communications, requirements.
advertising, liberal arts, or related fields. 2. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits including “Store Manager,” “Retail Opportuni-
Department Store Managers are required to have expe- ties,” “Department Stores,” “Store Management,”
rience in retail and management. Generally, individuals or “Management Opportunities.”
have worked the sales floor and have been department 3. Openings are also advertised in trade journals.
managers, group department managers, and assistant 4. Jobs in this field may be located on the Internet.
store managers prior to becoming Store Managers. Begin your search on some of the more popular job
Managers must have a knowledge of management search sites such as Monster board (www.monster.
principles as well as a total understanding of the retail com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.com).
industry. Leadership skills, self-confidence, and deci- 5. Check out the Web sites of retail chains. Many
siveness are essential. The ability to deal with and work list openings.
well with people is mandatory. Individuals need to be 6. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
good problem solvers who are energetic, detail oriented, specializing in retail management positions.
and highly motivated. 7. Send your resume and a short cover letter to the
Communication skills, both written and verbal, are corporate offices of chain and department stores.
necessary as well.

56 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ASSISTANT STORE MANAGER—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist department store manager in day-to-day Store Manager


management of store; deal with customer service
issues; work with manager to assure store is in com- Assistant Store Manager
pliance with safety issues; work with staff to help
store meet sales and profit goals
Alternate Title(s): None Department Manager or
Management Trainee
Salary Range: $26,000 to $53,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may Experience—Experience in retail management
be located throughout the country Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem
Prerequisites: solving skills; leadership skills; negotiation skills;
Education and Training—Training requirements communication skills; ability to deal well with peo-
vary; see text ple; management skills; administrative skills

Position Description The individual is responsible for helping to make


No matter the size of a department store or the clientele a pleasant workplace. He or she may assist in training
they hope to attract, most employ not only a manager, programs or supervising trainers. Successful Assistant
but one or more Assistant Managers. These individuals Managers know how to motivate employees to do their
assist the store manager with the day-to-day manage- job well and provide excellent customer service.
ment of the store. Specific responsibilities depend on Depending on the size and structure of the depart-
the size and structure of the store. ment store, the Assistant Manager may oversee
The Assistant Manager works with the store man- department managers, merchandise managers, sales
ager to find ways to meet corporate sales and profit associates, cashiers, or stock people. He or she may
goals. He or she may work with the manager in review- offer suggestions to department managers regarding
ing daily, weekly, monthly, and annual sales figures. how to improve their departments and productivity.
This information is often used to determine which days The Assistant Manager often will be on the frontline
of the week generally require more sales staff, which checking to see if more cashiers are needed, if custom-
promotions and special events work and which do not. ers need help, or if any problems need to be solved. He
The information is also used to help the corporate office or she will work with other store management in assur-
set sales goals for the coming year. ing health, legal, and safety rules, regulations, and laws
The Assistant Store Manager will act in the capacity are followed precisely. The individual will routinely
of the store manager when that individual is off duty. check to see if aisles or entrances are blocked, spills are
He or she may also work when the manager is on duty cleaned, and fire exits are free.
assisting with the various functions of the store. The Assistant Manager must also make sure the
The Assistant Manager is on the front line with both store and its rest rooms and parking lot are safe, clean,
the customers and the staff. He or she may assist in the and orderly. In the event there are accidents, slips, and
staffing needs of the store working with the manager or falls or other incidents, the individual will be expected
the human resources department. He or she may assist to make written reports.
with the decisions concerning hiring key employees. The Assistant Manager helps assure customer ser-
The Assistant Manager may also be expected to termi- vice in the store. In the event a customer isn’t happy,
nate employees when required. the Assistant Manager may be called in to help resolve

Department Stores 57
the problem. As he or she has more authority, the indi- also provide opportunities and experiences which the
vidual may offer customers solutions that more directly individual may not otherwise have. Good choices for
resolve their problem with the store. majors might include retailing, merchandising, busi-
The Assistant Manager and manager may share ness, management, marketing, communications, adver-
responsibility for going over reports of the day’s receipts. tising, liberal arts, or related fields.
They may work with the accounting department or cash Generally, larger department stores and chains have
office on this task. The individual may also accompany formal training programs for their key executives includ-
another employee when depositing the day’s receipts in ing managers and Assistant Managers. These programs
the bank. include both classroom and in-store training. Smaller
Additional duties of Department Store Assistant stores may have informal and on-the-job training.
Managers may include: Some stores will hire individuals who have no for-
mal training, but have worked their way up obtaining
•  Analyzing data to help determine what direction the on-the-job training along the way.
store might take to increase profits
•  Representing store at community events Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Handling emergencies and crises Department Store Assistant Managers are required to
•  Handling loss prevention have experience both in retail and management. Prior
•  Helping set up the store according to corporate to becoming Assistant Managers, most individuals will
floorplans have worked on the sales floor as sales associates, as
department managers, or group department manag-
Salaries ers. Some Department Store Assistant Managers have
Annual earnings for Department Store Assistant Man- already managed smaller specialty stores or other retail
agers can range from approximately $26,000 to $53,000 outlets.
or more. Variables affecting earnings include the size, Assistant Managers should be self-confident indi-
prestige, and geographic location of the department viduals with an understanding of management princi-
store as well as the experience, responsibilities, and ples. The ability to deal with and work well with people
education of the individual. is mandatory. Individuals need to be good problem
solvers who are energetic, detail oriented, and highly
Employment Prospects motivated.
Employment prospects are good for Department Store Communications skills, both written and verbal, are
Assistant Managers. Many department stores may have necessary as well. An understanding and knowledge of
two or more Assistant Managers on staff. the retail industry is also needed.
Positions are located throughout the country. Pos-
sibilities include large chains stores like Wal-Mart, K- Unions and Associations
Mart, Target, Kohls, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, Dillards, Individuals interested in learning more about careers
and Bloomingdales. Individuals may also find employ- in this field should contact the American Collegiate
ment working in smaller department stores owned by Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa-
local merchants. tion (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Associa-
tion (NRMA).
Advancement Prospects
The most common method of career advancement for Tips for Entry
Department Store Assistant Managers is promotion 1. One of the best ways to get into store manage-
to store manager. Another way individuals climb the ment is by going through an executive training
career ladder is to locate similar positions in larger or program. Many larger department and chain
more prestigious department stores. stores offer these management training pro-
grams. Contact the headquarters of stores to find
Education and Training out about requirements.
There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding education 2. Many department stores post signs and posters
and training requirements for Department Store Assis- touting their management career opportunities.
tant Managers. While not always required, a college Look for these at store entrances and in the cus-
degree or background is usually preferred and may tomer service department. Don’t forget to check
give one applicant an edge over another. College may out the human resources department.

58 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


3. Positions may be advertised in the classified 6. Send your resume and a short cover letter to the
sections of newspapers. Look under classifica- corporate offices of chain and department stores.
tions including “Assistant Store Manager,” “Retail 7. Jobs in this field may be located on the Internet.
Opportunities,” “Department Stores,” “Store Begin your search on some of the more popular
Management,” or “Management Opportunities.” job search sites such as Monster board (www.
4. Openings are also advertised in trade journals. monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.
5. Contact recruiters and executive search firms com). Then surf the net looking for sites geared
specializing in management positions in retail. towards the retail job market.

Department Stores 59
DEPARTMENT MANAGER—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Supervise and coordinate activities of employ- Department Manager of Larger


ees working in a department; assign duties to Department, Group Department
employees; train department workers; handle cus- Manager, or Assistant Store Manager
tomer service within the department; prepare sales
and inventory reports Department Manager
Alternate Title(s): Toy Department Manager; Cloth-
ing Department Manager; Housewares Department
Manager; Electronics Department Manager Department Manager Trainee
or Floor Supervisor
Salary Range: $24,000 to $47,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country Experience—Experience in retail management
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Leadership
Education and Training—Training requirements skills; communication skills; ability to deal well with
vary; see text people; management skills; administrative skills

Position Description The Department Manager schedules lunch and din-


Department stores are made up of a number of depart- ner breaks for each employee in the department. This
ments, each selling different types of merchandise. must be done so that the sales floor is always covered.
Each of these departments has an individual called the Depending on the specific store, the individual may
Department Manager overseeing the area. also be responsible for scheduling the work hours and
Depending on the specific store, departments might vacations for employees in the department.
include: health and beauty; housewares; women’s cloth- Another function of the Department Manager is
ing; junior’s clothing; children’s clothing; men’s clothing; training the employees. He or she may suggest more
boy’s clothing; infants; small appliances; large appli- effective methods of selling or displaying merchandise.
ances; electronics; books; office supplies; toys; jewelry; The individual also must explain store and department
cards; gifts; bed and bath; cd’s, tapes, videos; automo- policies to employees.
tive; hardware; and house and garden. Different stores The Department Manager may assist employees
have different departments. They may also call depart- in completing difficult transactions. He or she also is
ments by different names. expected to listen to customer complaints and try to
The Department Manager supervises and coor- resolve them. A successful Department Manager will
dinates the activities of the employees in his or her know how to restore and promote goodwill by offering
department. He or she will assign tasks and duties to the best customer service possible to each customer.
each individual so that the department is kept clean, When customers are returning merchandise, the
well stocked, and orderly. For example, the Department Department Manager will often be the individual who
Manager may assign one employee the task of putting examines it. The individual must determine if the mer-
out new merchandise. He or she may assign another chandise is defective, used, or new and can be put back
the task of making sure that displays of merchandise on the selling floor.
are straightened at regular intervals during the day. The Department Manager must keep track of mer-
Another may work at the register. One or all may work chandise that is selling. He or she may then be expected
on the sales floor helping customers. to order needed merchandise or give an order to the

60     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


main office. The individual will also be responsible for high school diploma. However, a college background or
preparing sales and inventory reports. degree may give one applicant an edge over another and
As merchandise comes in, the Department Manager is often helpful in career advancement. College may
will make sure that it is priced correctly and displayed also provide opportunities and experiences which the
in an attractive manner. Often, customers come in and individual may not otherwise have. Good choices for
ask for a product that the store doesn’t carry. Other majors might include retailing, merchandising, busi-
times the individual may see merchandise in other ness, management, marketing, communications, adver-
stores that his or her store doesn’t have. The individual tising, liberal arts, or related fields.
may then suggest to the buyer that the merchandise be As far as training is concerned, larger department
added to the department’s line. stores and chains generally have formal training pro-
Additional duties of Department Managers may grams for their management personnel. These pro-
include: grams include both classroom and in-store training.
Smaller stores may have informal and on-the-job
•  Working on the sales floor training.
•  Evaluating performance of department employees
•  Handling loss prevention Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Helping set up the department displays Some stores hire individuals who have no formal train-
ing, but have worked their way up obtaining on-the-job
Salaries
training along the way. Others recruit people who are
Annual earnings for Department Managers working
graduating from college. Whichever way individuals
in department stores can range from approximately
are hired, they usually must have had retail and super-
$23,000 to $47,000 or more. Variables affecting earn-
visory experience.
ings include the size, prestige, and geographic loca-
Department Managers should have a complete
tion of the department store as well as the experience,
understanding of the workings of the retail industry
responsibilities, and education of the individual. Some
as well as management principles. They should be self-
Department Managers may receive bonuses when sales
confident individuals with the ability to deal with and
meet or exceed goals.
work well with others.
Department Managers need the ability to work on
Employment Prospects
multiple projects at one time without getting flustered.
Employment prospects are good for Department Man-
They should be detail oriented and highly motivated
agers. Positions are located throughout the country.
individuals with a great deal of energy. Customer ser-
Possibilities include large chains stores like Wal-Mart,
vice skills are mandatory. Communication skills are
K-Mart, Target, Kohls, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, Dil-
imperative.
lards, Nordstroms, and Bloomingdales. Individuals may
also find employment working in smaller department
stores. Unions and Associations
Individuals interested in learning more about careers
Advancement Prospects in this field should contact the American Collegiate
Department Managers may climb the career ladder in a Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa-
number of ways. The most common method of career tion (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Associa-
advancement is to land a job as a Department Manager tion (NRMA).
of a larger department or in a larger, more prestigious
department store. This will result in increased respon- Tips for Entry
sibilities and earnings. Other Department Managers 1. Most department stores promote from within.
become group department managers. Get your foot in the door, learn everything you
After obtaining experience or training, some individ- can, and move up the career ladder.
uals may also land positions as assistant store managers. 2. One of the best ways to get into a management
position is by going through an executive train-
Education and Training ing program. Many larger department and chain
There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding education stores offer these management training pro-
and training requirements for Department Managers. grams. Contact the headquarters of stores to find
There are many Department Managers who hold just a out about requirements.

Department Stores 61
3. Many department stores post signs and posters Store,” or “Retail Opportunities.” Jobs may also be
touting their management career opportunities. advertised in ads for specific department stores.
Look for these at store entrances and in the cus- 5. Stop in to department stores and ask to fill out an
tomer service department. Don’t forget to check application. Ask that it be kept on file if there are
out the human resources department. no current openings.
4. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec- 6. Surf the net. Start by checking out traditional job
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications sites like monster.com and hotjobs.com. Then
including “Department Manager,” “Department look for sites specific to the retail industry.

62 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and implement public relations cam- Director of Public Relations for Larger or
paigns for department stores; handle crisis manage- More Prestigious Department Store, Vice
ment; act as official spokesperson for store; deal President of Public Relations, or Director
with media of Marketing
Alternate Title(s): Public Relations Director; PR Direc-
tor; Director of PR Director of Public Relations—
Salary Range: $35,000 to $72,000+ Department Store
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Assistant Public Relations Director
Best Geographical Locations for Position: Positions
may be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in
public relations, advertising, business, journalism, Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent
marketing, liberal arts, English, communications, or verbal and written communications skills; creativ-
a related area ity; personable; organized; understanding of the
Experience—Experience in public relations, public- retail industry; ability to multitask; detail oriented;
ity, or journalism necessary organized

Position Description ment, or an advertising agency, as well as vendors pro-


One of the main functions of public relations is to help moting the store, its image, and events.
promote a positive name, image, and awareness of a In addition to developing and implementing major
business. With the abundance of different places to PR campaigns, the Director of Public Relations is
shop and in an effort to increase their market share, expected to handle day-to-day public relations func-
retail outlets like department stores try to do everything tions for the department store. These might include
possible to promote their store in this manner. writing press releases about events at the department
The individual who handles this job for a depart- store, celebrity appearances, or other special promo-
ment store is called the Director of Public Relations. tions. He or she may also be responsible for developing
Depending on the specific department store and its size calendars of events and special promotions scheduled
structure, he or she may also be called the public rela- for the store as well as making sure that they are distrib-
tions director. uted to the media.
The Director of Public Relations for a department The Director of Public Relations is responsible for
store is responsible for the development and implemen- preparing feature stories, special-interest articles, and
tation of all of the store’s public relations campaigns. press releases for the news and other available media. It
In some situations, such as when a department store is is essential that the individual have the ability to come
part of a large chain, the individual works in conjunc- up with unique hooks or angles that make the story or
tion with either a senior director of public relations or release interesting so it will grab the attention of the
vice president of public relations who are located in the media.
store’s corporate headquarters. An important function of the Director of Public
Depending on the size and structure of the depart- Relations is having a good relationship with the media.
ment store, the individual may work with the store’s He or she must constantly keep the media apprised of
marketing director, the in-house advertising depart- all store special events and promotions that they might

Department Stores 63
want to cover. This may be done through press releases, tionship with the media at all times. In this way, he or
a calendar of event entries, e-mails, or phone calls. The she can help ensure that press releases will get placed
individual may work with the media to try to attain pre- in papers and special events are covered. Additionally,
event promotion, to cover the event as it occurs, and/or when there is a crisis or problem, the media may give
for post-event coverage. the Director of Public Relations a fair chance to handle
Sometimes these events are in store. In other situ- it before jumping on the story.
ations, the department store may lend its name as a The Director of Public Relations at a department
sponsor of an event or cause. Department stores may store is responsible for developing, planning, and imple-
work with local charities, sponsor events for not-for- menting unique special events and promotions that help
profit organizations, host celebrity appearances, spon- draw people into the store. These might include contests,
sor or cosponsor concerts or other cultural events, or sweepstakes, cooking demonstrations, fashion shows,
do an array of other things. The idea is continually celebrity appearances, product giveaways, etc. At times,
to work toward keeping the name of the store in the the director may work with store vendors cosponsoring
public’s eye in a positive manner. One of the most well- or promoting events. For example, a cookware company
known events sponsored by a department store is the that has their product in the department store may be
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade held annually in New having a birthday and giving away prizes through each
York City. department store carrying their merchandise.
Special events may be designed for a number of dif- The Director of Public Relations may call the media
ferent reasons. Some attract customers into the store to cover the event or develop promotions to coincide
while others may promote goodwill. Some may help with the vendor’s event. Depending on the size and
create a better image for the store, while still others may structure of the specific department store, special
simply get the store’s name out to the public. events may be handled by a special event director or
In addition to preparing articles and feature stories, coordinator.
the Director of Public Relations also arranges for mem- The Director of Public Relations may attend civic,
bers of the media to do these stories. As people tend to community, or not-for-profit meetings on behalf of the
believe stories they read or hear more than advertise- department store. He or she may additionally be asked
ments, these articles can be immensely useful to creat- to serve on committees of these groups or act as a liai-
ing a positive image for a department store. son between the store and the community group.
The Director of Public Relations is often the official Other responsibilities of the Director of Public Rela-
spokesperson for the department store. He or she may tions at a department store include:
be asked to speak on radio, appear on television, or at
press conferences. •  Developing media lists
The individual is responsible for fielding calls from •  Designing and developing promotional materials
the media. These calls might be to seek out general •  Attending vendor meetings
information regarding the department store or its •  Overseeing and managing staff
events or promotions. At times, the media may have
questions about other types of situations that are more Salaries
negative such as potential or current employee strikes, Earnings for the Director of Public Relations at a depart-
accidents, or injuries. The Director of Public Relations ment store can range from approximately $35,000 to
must be able to deal effectively with the media in every $72,000 or more. Variables affecting earnings include
situation, both positive and negative, always trying to the size, location, prestige, and popularity of the specific
improve the image of the department store. department store as well as the experience, responsibili-
Another essential function of the Director of Public ties, and professional reputation of the individual.
Relations is crisis management. If and when there is a
problem or crisis, the Director of Public Relations will Employment Prospects
be called upon to comment. He or she must find ways Employment prospects are fair for those aspiring to
to handle the crisis in the best manner possible. As part work as the Director of Public Relations at a department
of the job, the individual will often try to downplay the store. Individuals may find opportunities throughout
negatives of the crisis while highlighting the positive the country in large well-known department stores
things being done to fix the problem. as well as smaller local department stores. The most
The successful Director of Public Relations at a opportunities will exist in areas hosting large numbers
department store must maintain a good business rela- of department stores.

64 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Advancement Prospects public relations, and marketing is necessary to be suc-
Advancement prospects are fair for Directors of Pub- cessful in this type of position.
lic Relations at department stores. Individuals may
climb the career ladder in a number of ways. Some Unions and Associations
advance their careers by locating similar positions in Individuals interested in careers in this area may belong
larger or more prestigious department stores resulting to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
in increased responsibilities and earnings. Others may This organization provides professional guidance, edu-
be promoted to marketing directors either in the same cational support, and other important information to
store or land a position in another department store. members. They might also contact the National Retail
Still others strike out on their own and start their own Federation (NRF) for additional career information.
public relations firm.
Tips for Entry
Education and Training 1. Many department stores post their openings on
A minimum of a four-year degree is required for those their Web site. Check it out.
seeking positions as Director of Public Relations at 2. Even if you don’t see an opening, send your
department stores. Good choices for majors include résumé and a short cover letter. You can never tell
public relations, advertising, marketing, communica- when a job opening will occur. If your résumé is
tions, journalism, business, or a related field. Courses, there, you might get the call before someone else.
seminars, and workshops in public relations, market- 3. Don’t forget to check out some of the more pop-
ing, special events, publicity, and promotion, as well ular job search sites such as monster.com and
as in the retail industry, will prove useful for both the ­hotjobs.com. Surf the net looking for other job
informational value and the ability to make important sites that specialize in either retail or public rela-
contacts. tions jobs.
4. If you are still in college, contact department
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits stores in which you are interested in working to
Experience requirements vary for Directors of Public find out if they have any internship possibilities.
Relations at department stores. Larger, more prestigious 5. Join the student group of the Public Relations
department stores generally prefer applicants to have Society of America. (PRSA). This trade associa-
a fair amount of experience handling public relations tion provides you with an array of services to
and publicity in retail or a related industry. Smaller help you develop your skills and make important
department stores may have less stringent experience contacts.
requirements. 6. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
Successful Directors of Public Relations are creative, tions of newspapers under headings including
innovative individuals who can think outside of the box. “Public Relations,” “Director of Public Relations,”
The ability to communicate well both verbally and on “Public Relations Director,” “Department Store
paper is critical. The ability to be persuasive is essential. Public Relations Director,” “Retail Opportu-
Individuals need to be organized, detailed-oriented nities,” “Retail,” etc. Don’t forget to check out
people with the ability to multitask effectively with- display advertisements listing one or more job
out getting flustered. Excellent interpersonal skills are openings of a particular retailer.
necessary. Those working in public relations need to 7. Contact executive recruiters specializing in either
be personalble individuals who really like dealing with the public relations or the retail industry. Make
others. The ability to deal effectively with the media sure you check ahead of time to see who pays the
is critical. An understanding of publicity, promotion, fee when you get the job—you or the employer.

Department Stores 65
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
MANAGER—department store
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee and coordinate employee wage, salary, Compensation and Benefits Manager
and benefit programs in department store; supervise in Larger, More Prestigious Store,
payroll and benefits office employees Director of Compensation and Benefits,
Alternate Title(s): Payroll Manager; Benefits Manager; or Human Resources Manager
Compensation Manager
Salary Range: $33,000 to $55,000+ Compensation and Benefits Manager
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Payroll Clerk or Benefits Coordinator
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities host-
ing more department stores offer more possibilities
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Communi-
Education and Training—Educational require- cations skills; people skills; interpersonal skills; com-
ments vary; see text puter skills; patience; familiarity and understanding
Experience—Experience in human resources, ben- of compensation and benefits programs utilized in
efits, or labor relations the industry

Position Description pensation the employee will receive for the job. Some
Department stores generally have many employees employees are paid on an hourly basis. Others are com-
working in an array of areas. Depending on their type pensated with a set salary. The Compensation and Ben-
of work, experience, and responsibilities, individual efits Manager will explain to each employee whether he
employees may receive various compensation packages. or she will be paid on a weekly or biweekly basis.
In order to recruit and retain employees many depart- The Compensation and Benefits Manager also
ment stores also offer a variety of benefits in addition explains the benefits which are offered as part of the job
to earnings. The individual in charge of overseeing and to each employee. Depending on the store, benefits may
directing the various compensation and benefit plans include health insurance, life insurance, pension plans,
at a department store is called the Compensation and profit sharing, child care, educational reimbursement,
Benefits Manager. paid holidays, sick days, and vacations.
He or she may also be called the compensation man- In many cases, employees may have questions
ager or payroll manager. The manager oversees the regarding compensation or benefits. The Compensation
employees in the compensation and benefits or payroll and Benefits Manager may answer these questions him
office. Depending on the size and structure of the specific or herself or may refer employees to other employees
department store, the Compensation and Benefits Man- working in the department for answers and assistance.
ager may supervise benefits coordinators, payroll clerks, An important function of the Compensation and
compensation and benefits analysts, and benefit clerks. Benefits Manager is tracking employee evaluations, pro-
In some stores, the Compensation and Benefits motions, length of time they are in service, additional
Manager may administer the health insurance and education, and training information. These factors are
other benefit plans personally. In others, this task may often used to determine employee raises. Raises are
be handled by a benefits coordinator. usually within the policy previously set by the depart-
Generally, department store employees meet with ment store.
the Compensation and Benefits Manager during the Additional duties of the department store Compen-
hiring process. The manager discusses the type of com- sation and Benefits Manager may include:

66     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


•  Gathering information regarding salaries, wages, and In some stores, experience is accepted in lieu of
benefits offered within the industry as well as the geo- education. This is often the case when an individual has
graphic area in which the department store is located moved up the ranks in the compensation and benefits
•  Analyzing the store’s compensation and benefits pro- area.
grams and making recommendations for new ones
•  Assuring that employees meet the proper employ- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
ment requirements Compensation and Benefits Managers should have expe-
•  Maintaining accurate files on employees and the rience in various areas of human resources, personnel
compensation and benefits they receive administration, insurance administration, labor relations,
benefits, and compensation. Individuals should have an
Salaries understanding of insurance programs, retirement plans,
Earnings for Compensation and Benefits Managers labor relations, and wage and benefit trends.
working in department stores range from approximately Individuals should have excellent communications
$33,000 to $55,000 or more annually. Factors affect- and interpersonal skills. Management, administrative,
ing earnings include the size, structure, prestige, and and supervisory skills are also needed. The ability to
geographic location of the specific department store. handle multiple projects at one time without becoming
Other variables include the education, experience, and flustered is necessary.
responsibilities of the individual.
Unions and Associations
Employment Prospects Those interested in learning more about careers in this
Employment prospects for Compensation and Benefits field should contact the International Foundation of
Managers aspiring to work in department stores are fair. Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) and the American
Positions may be located throughout the country. Areas Compensation Association (ACA). Individuals might
hosting greater numbers of large department stores will also contact the National Retail Federation (NRF).
offer the most opportunities.
Tips for Entry
Advancement Prospects 1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
Compensation and Benefits Managers may climb of newspapers. Look under classifications such
the career ladder in a number of ways. Individuals as “Compensation Manager,” “Payroll Manager,”
may land similar positions in larger, more prestigious “Retail Opportunities,” “Department Stores,”
stores resulting in increased responsibilities and earn- “Benefits and Compensation,” “Benefits and
ings. Compensation and Benefits Managers may also Compensation Manager.”
be promoted to directors of payroll and benefits. 2. You might also look for jobs on the Internet.
Those who have the education and experience may Many department stores now have Web sites list-
even become assistant directors or directors of human ing their employment opportunities.
resources. 3. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
department stores. Ask that your resume be kept
Education and Training on file if there are no current openings.
Educational requirements for Compensation and Benefits 4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
Managers vary from store to store. Many stores require or department stores to see who you might contact
prefer individuals hold a degree in human resources, per- for this position in their local stores.
sonnel management, labor relations, compensation and 5. Department stores often promote from within.
benefits, business management, or economics. Get your foot in the door and move up the ranks.

Department Stores 67
PAYROLL CLERK—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Ensure that department store employee pay- Payroll Supervisor, Payroll Manager,
checks are correct; calculate earnings and deduc- or Compensation Manager
tions; compute pay; maintain backup files; research
payroll records Payroll Clerk
Alternate Title(s): Payroll Specialist; Payroll Techni-
cian; Compensation Clerk
Salary Range: $7.50 to $15.00+ or more per hour Payroll Clerk in other industry,
Employment Prospects: Fair Payroll Trainee or Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will Experience—Accounting or payroll background
offer more possibilities preferred, but not always required
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Detail ori-
Education and Training—Educational require- ented; organized; ability to work accurately with
ments vary numbers; data entry skills

Position Description or errors in data. The individual can then adjust the
Department stores employ large numbers of workers. errors.
Each expects his or her paycheck to be correct. Payroll In some situations, the department store utilizes the
Clerks, who may also be referred to as payroll special- services of a payroll service. In these circumstances the
ists, payroll technicians, or compensation clerks, help clerk still must give the service the correct information.
ensure that this happens. Payroll Clerks may be expected to enter the correct
Specific responsibilities of Payroll Clerks depend on data on checks, check stubs, and master payroll sheets
the specific department store and the manner in which or more commonly on forms for computer preparation
payroll is handled. Generally, Payroll Clerks input data of checks. Individuals are also expected to prepare and
regarding employees’ pay, as well as maintaining and distribute pay envelopes.
researching these records. Payroll Clerks may be called on by employees to cor-
Payroll Clerks are responsible for calculating the rect problems in their checks or to explain calculations.
earnings of the employee. This includes regular and These may include adjusting monetary errors or incor-
rect amounts of vacation time.
overtime hours. They must also calculate deductions
Other responsibilities of Payroll Clerks working in
such as income tax withholding, social security, credit
department stores may include:
union payments, and insurance. This task is usually
accomplished using computers. •  Performing additional clerical tasks
Generally hourly employees in department stores •  Maintaining records of employee sick leave pay and
punch time cards. At the end of the pay period, Payroll nontaxable wages
Clerks screen the time cards to make sure there are no •  Typing, checking, and filing wage information forms
calculating, coding, or other errors. Pay is then com- •  Keeping wage and fringe benefit information on
puted by subtracting allotments such as retirement, fed- employees
eral and state taxes, or insurance from the employee’s
gross earnings. Salaries
When a computer is used to perform these cal- Earnings for Payroll Clerks working in department
culations, it will alert the payroll clerk to problems stores range from approximately $7.50 to $15.00 per

68     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


hour or more. Factors affecting earnings include the Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
experience, level of training, and responsibilities of the Experience requirements vary from employer to
individual as well as the geographic location, size, and employer. In many situations this is an entry-level posi-
prestige of the specific department store. tion. Some employers, however, prefer or require expe-
rience or background in payroll.
Employment Prospects Clerks should be detail oriented and organized.
Employment prospects for Payroll Clerks are fair. Large The most successful Payroll Clerks enjoy working with
department stores may employ one or more people in numbers. The ability to work accurately, and find and
this position. As noted previously, even department correct math errors is essential. Data entry skills are
stores utilizing payroll services usually have at least one mandatory. Communications skills are helpful as well.
individual working in payroll.
Unions and Associations
Advancement Prospects Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field
Advancement prospects for Payroll Clerks are fair. might also obtain additional information from the
After obtaining additional experience and or training National Retail Federation (NRF) and the American
individuals may climb the career ladder by becoming Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA).
payroll supervisors, payroll managers, or compensation
managers. Tips for Entry
1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classified
Education and Training section under headings including “Payroll,” “Pay-
Educational requirements for Payroll Clerks can vary roll Specialist,” “Payroll Clerk,” “Payroll Technician,”
from employer to employer. While some employers “Retail Opportunities,” or “Department Store.”
prefer a college or business school background, many 2. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
employers will hire those with a high school diploma. department stores.
While no specific training may be necessary, Payroll 3. Many department stores also list openings on
Clerks must have the ability to use adding machines, their Web site.
calculators, computers, and word processors. The 4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
ability to use office machinery may be self taught or department stores to see who you might contact
learned in high school or business courses at voca- for this position in their local stores.
tional-technical schools, community colleges, or adult 5. Check out openings online by visiting traditional
education. job sites like monster.com and hotjobs.com. Then
Many department stores also offer on-the-job train- surf the net to find other job sites specializing in
ing, including payroll trainee positions. careers in the retail industry.

Department Stores 69
DIRECTOR OF HUMAN
RESOURCES—DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Direct operations of human resources depart- Director of Human Resources in


ment; supervise and monitor department employ- Larger, More Prestigious Department
ees; develop and administer policies; recruitment; Store, or VP of Human Resources
oversee employee relations
Alternate Title(s): Human Resources Manager; Human Director of Human Resources
Resources Director; Personnel Director
Salary Range: $33,000 to $68,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair Assistant Director of Human Resources
or Personnel Manager
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more opportunities
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Interper-
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree sonal skills; communications skills; management
required or preferred skills; knowledge of federal and state employment
Experience—Extensive experience in human resources laws; detail oriented; organized

Position Description The Director of Human Resources develops, writes,


Without employees, department stores couldn’t func- and administers policies. These policies have a direct
tion. Attracting, training, and retaining the best impact on the employees who are hired and the manner
employees available is essential to the success of every in which they are expected to work. They also have a
department store. great impact on the store atmosphere and the way the
The department handling a store’s employees is department store functions.
called human resources. Depending on the specific The human resources director is responsible for
store, it may also be referred to as the personnel or strategic planning as it relates to human resources. The
employment department. individual may develop programs designed to enhance
At one time or another, everyone who is hired must training, provide internship opportunities, and create
go through the human resources department. The indi- career development for employees within the depart-
vidual in charge of the department is called the Director ment store or any of its sister stores.
of Human Resources. He or she has a very important Other duties of the Director of Human Resources
position. working in a department store may include:
The director controls the operation of the depart-
ment, and is responsible for planning, organizing, and •  Developing employee relations programs
managing everything that happens within it. •  Working with negotiators during contract negotiations
In large stores, the human resources director may •  Overseeing special projects and promotional events
oversee several areas. Each of these is headed by a man- such as job fairs to stimulate recruitment of potential
ager specializing in a specific human resource activity. employees
These might include employment, compensation, bene- •  Developing and coordinating personnel programs
fits, employee relations, and training and development.
In smaller department stores, the human resources Salaries
director may be responsible for handling all these on his The Director of Human Resources working in depart-
or her own or with the help of one or more assistants. ment stores may earn between $33,000 and $68,000 or

70     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


more annually. Factors affecting earnings include the Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
geographic location, size, and prestige of the specific A great deal of experience working in human resources
store as well as the education, experience, and responsi- and related areas is usually necessary for this type of
bilities of the individual. Generally, those with the most position. Human Resources Directors usually have
education and experience working in larger stores will worked in the Human Resources department in various
earn the highest salaries. other positions. Many have been personnel directors
or the director of human resources in areas other than
Employment Prospects retail.
Employment prospects are fair for a qualified human Human Resources Directors should have supervi-
resources director seeking employment in department sory and administrative skills. Writing and communi-
stores. Those seeking jobs in this field may have to cations skills are also necessary. Individuals must have
relocate to areas hosting great numbers of large depart- in-depth knowledge of all federal and state employment
ment stores. laws.

Advancement Prospects Unions and Associations


Advancement prospects for the Director of Human Those interested in learning more about careers in this
Resources working in department stores are fair. Indi- field should contact the Society for Human Resources
viduals might climb the career ladder by locating a sim- Management (SHRM). This organization provides pro-
ilar position in a larger or more prestigious department fessional guidance and support to its members.
store. Some find similar jobs in other industries. After
obtaining a great deal of experience, some individuals Tips for Entry
move into positions as the vice president of Human 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classi-
Resources. fied section under headings including “Human
Resources,” “Human Resources Director,” “H.R.
Education and Training Director,” “Retail Opportunities,” or “Retail/
Most department stores today either require or pre- Human Resources Director.”
fer their Di­rectors of Human Resources hold a mini- 2. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
mum of a bachelor’s degree. The best major is human department stores.
resources. However, majors in other areas are often 3. Many department stores have Web sites listing
acceptable with work experience. their openings.
Additional courses, workshops, and seminars in 4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
human resources, labor relations, personnel, compen- department stores to see who you might contact
sation, employee relations, and the retailing industry for this position.
are very helpful. A graduate degree may give one appli- 5. Contact an executive search firm specializing in
cant an edge over another. retail and/or human resources.

Department Stores 71
HUMAN RESOURCES GENERALIST—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Schedule preemployment job interviews; screen Personnel Manager


applicants; check references; evaluate applicants
Alternate Title(s): Human Resources Interviewer;
Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Coordinator
Salary Range: $8.00 to $18.00 + per hour
Employment Prospects: Fair Human Resources Clerk
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more opportunities Special Skills and Personality Traits—Interper-
Prerequisites: sonal skills; people skills; communications skills;
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree required interviewing skills; personable; objective; detail
or preferred oriented
Experience—Experience in recruiting, counseling,
interviewing, or retail helpful

Position Description •  Handling administrative functions


Department stores employ many people. Prior to becom- •  Developing and placing ads for employees in newspa-
ing employed, each individual must be recruited, screened, pers and magazines
and interviewed. The Human Resources Generalist may •  Assisting the human resources department with spe-
have an array of duties depending on the specific job. cial projects
The Generalist, who also may be called an inter-
viewer or human resources coordinator, greets appli- Salaries
cants upon arrival at the department store’s human Human Resources Generalists may earn between $8.00
resources department for the initial interview. He or she and $18.00 or more per hour. Factors affecting earnings
schedules and conducts preemployment job interviews include the geographic location, size, and prestige of
with potential applicants. This determines their qualifi- the specific department store as well as the experience,
cations as well as if they match those of the job openings. education, and responsibilities of the individual. Gen-
The individual ascertains the skills, personality traits, erally, those with the most education and experience
education, and training of applicants. In this manner, working in larger stores will earn the highest salaries.
the Human Resources Generalist determines other jobs
for which the potential employee may be qualified. Employment Prospects
There may be a number of people for each job open- Employment prospects are fair for qualified Human
ing. The Human Resources Generalist may be respon- Resources Generalists seeking employment in depart-
sible for screening applicants to weed out those who do ment stores. The most opportunities will be in areas
not have the proper qualifications or might not fit into hosting large numbers of department stores.
the department store environment.
Other duties of the Human Resources Generalist Advancement Prospects
may include: Advancement prospects for Human Resources Gener-
alists working in department stores are fair. Individuals
•  Assisting applicants with applications may climb the career ladder in a number of ways. Some
•  Checking references Human Resources Generalists obtain experience and

72     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


locate similar positions in larger or more prestigious should be objective and articulate. Good communica-
department stores. Others who have the proper educa- tions skills and interviewing skills are essential. The
tion and training eventually may be promoted to differ- ability to make people comfortable is useful.
ent positions in the human resources department.
Unions and Associations
Education and Training Those interested in learning more about careers in
Department stores may prefer, but not always require, this field might be members of the Society for Human
their Human Resources Generalists hold a college degree. Resources Management (SHRM). This organization
Good majors include human resources, liberal arts, mar- provides professional support and guidance.
keting, communications, and retail. However, majors in
other areas are often acceptable with work experience. Tips for Entry
Courses, workshops, and seminars in human 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classi-
resources, labor relations, personnel, compensation, fied section under headings including “Human
employee relations, and the retailing industry are also Resources,” “Human Resources Generalist,”
helpful. “H.R. Interviewer,” “Retail Opportunities,” or
“Retail/Human Resources Generalist.”
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits 2. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
Experience working in human resources, recruiting, or department stores.
vocational counseling is usually required. Prior to getting 3. Many department stores have Web sites listing
their job in the department store, many Human Resources their openings.
Generalists have worked in public or private personnel 4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
offices or departments. Some have moved up the ranks in department stores to see who you might contact
the human resources department of the store. for this position.
A knowledge and understanding of the retailing 5. Get experience in this department by starting out
industry is necessary. Human Resources Generalists as a secretary or administrative assistant.

Department Stores 73
TRAINING MANAGER—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and facilitate classes, seminars, work- Training Manager for More Prestigious
shops, and other training programs for employees; Store or Company
develop key management programs
Alternate Title(s): Training and Development Man- Training Manager
ager; Training Director
Salary Range: $27,000 to $58,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair Trainer
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Areas
hosting large numbers of department stores and
chains Special Skills and Personality Traits—Commu-
Prerequisites: nications skills; interpersonal skills; employee rela-
Education and Training—College degree preferred tions skills; writing skills; ability to speak in public;
Experience—Experience in training and develop- creative; organized; motivating
ment

Position Description and regulations. In others, the individual may work


Department stores employ large numbers of employees. with other members of the human resources depart-
Training Managers are employed to develop programs ment on this task.
for employees in a multitude of areas and a variety of As department stores learn that success can be built
subjects depending on the needs of the specific depart- on customer service, it is essential that each and every
ment store. employee be trained to treat customers in a courteous
The Training Manager has a great deal of responsi- and gracious manner. An important function of Train-
bility. The manager may facilitate all classes personally ing Managers in department stores is teaching employ-
ees what good customer service is and how it should be
or work with a staff which may include a training coor-
provided.
dinator and other trainers to handle this task.
The Training Manager may offer classes for man-
The Training Manager works with the human
agement in learning how to communicate with their
resources director who writes and administers policies.
employees. Other subjects covered in this type of
These policies have a direct impact on the way employ-
class may include acceptable methods for disciplining
ees are expected to work. The human resources director employees and how to speak to subordinates without
may, at his or her discretion, ask the Training Manager to coming across abruptly. The individual may also develop
develop programs designed to enhance training as well classes for employees dealing with sexual harassment in
as providing internship opportunities within the store. the workplace and avoiding this problem.
The Training Manager may develop and facilitate The Training Manager may develop classes specific
orientation programs for new employees. During orien- to certain jobs in the department store such as cashiers,
tation, employees will learn the policies of the depart- salespeople, or customer service.
ment store, and the way they are expected to act on the Other duties of the Training Manager may include:
job and react to difficult situations.
In some situations, the department store Training •  Creating and directing programs to teach department
Manager may be expected to develop and put together directors, managers, and supervisors methods of con-
an employee handbook discussing workplace policies ducting training within their department

74     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


•  Teaching department directors, managers, and super- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
visors proper procedures for interview techniques Experience working in training and development is
and handling employment reviews almost always required. Additional experience in retail-
•  Training employees in team building so that manag- ing may also be needed.
ers, supervisors, and subordinates all work together Training Managers must have excellent people and
employee relations skills. They must also have both
Salaries good verbal and written communication skills. The
Annual earnings for Training Managers working in ability to speak effectively in front of groups of people is
department stores can range from approximately essential to success in this position.
$27,000 and $58,000 or more. Factors affecting earn-
ings include the geographic location, size, and prestige Unions and Associations
of the specific department store as well as the educa- Those interested in learning more about careers in this
tion, experience, and responsibilities of the individual. field should contact the American Society of Train-
ing Developers (ASTD) and the Society for Human
Employment Prospects Resources Management (SHRM).
Employment prospects for department store Training
Managers are fair. The greatest number of opportuni- Tips for Entry
ties will be in areas hosting large numbers of depart- 1. Become either an active or affiliate member of the
ment stores. Certain department store chains employ ASTD. This may give you the edge over another
a Training Manager in their main store or corporate applicant with the same qualifications.
office instead of one in each store. Note that not every 2. If you have experience in training, see if a posi-
department store employs a Training Manager. Some tion exists as a trainer. Get your foot in the door
facilities utilize the services of the human resources of the department store, obtain some experience,
director to handle the training functions as well. and climb the career ladder.
3. Openings are often advertised on the Internet.
Advancement Prospects They may be located via the home pages of
Training Managers working in department stores may department stores. They may also be found by
advance their careers by locating a similar position in doing a search of department store job oppor-
larger or more prestigious facilities. Individuals might tunities.
also climb the career ladder by becoming an assistant 4. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
director of human resources or director of human tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
resources. These promotions usually require additional such as “Department Store Training Manager,”
experience, training, and education. “Training and Development Manager,” “Retail
Opportunities,” or “Human Resources.”
Education and Training 5. You may be asked to conduct an impromptu
Educational requirements vary from employer to training presentation as part of your interview
employer. Generally department stores require or process. Develop a sample program ahead of
prefer individuals to hold a minimum of a bachelor’s time and rehearse before the interview.
degree in human resources, communications, retail, or 6. Search out openings online. Start by checking
a related field. There are some department stores, how- out traditional job search sites such as the Mon-
ever, which may accept individuals with a high school ster board and Yahoo! HotJobs. Then surf the net
diploma and a background and experience in training, for other sites specific to the retail industry to
human resources, or the retail industry. find other opportunities.

Department Stores 75
STOCK ROOM MANAGER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee stock room; supervise and coordinate Warehouse Manager or Stock Room
activities of stock room workers Manager in Larger Store
Alternate Title(s): Stock Room Supervisor
Salary Range: $22,000 to $35,000+ Stock Room Manager
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Assistant Stock Room Manager
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—On-the-job training
Experience—Experience working in stock room
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Supervisory
skills; organized; ability to lift cartons of various
weights and sizes

Position Description The Stock Room Manager is expected to organize the


Department stores are filled with great amounts of mer- stock room. He or she may plan the layout of the stock-
chandise. When merchandise is received it is unloaded room, warehouse, and other storage areas. This is impor-
and brought into the stock room. The stock room of a tant so that merchandise can be stored both safely and so
store is the area in which merchandise is checked in, it can be located easily. When doing this, the Stock Room
priced, and stored until it is put out on the selling floor. Manager must take certain factors into account, such as
The individual responsible for the stock room is called the amount of merchandise needed to be stored, the size
the Stock Room Manager. and weight of the items, and the expected turnover time.
The Stock Room Manager supervises and coordi- Additional duties of Stock Room Managers might
nates the activities of the stock room workers. He or she include:
will assign duties to each worker so that the stock room
is run effectively and efficiently. •  Unpacking and repacking cartons of merchandise
The Stock Room Manager assigns workers to receive •  Checking inventory for specific items
merchandise as well as inventory control. In many •  Scheduling workers for inventories
•  Handling loss prevention in the storeroom area
stores today, this is accomplished with the help of hand-
held scanners and computers. UPCs (Universal Product Salaries
Codes) which look like lines or bars are found on mer- Annual earnings of Stock Room Managers can range
chandise or merchandise tags and tickets. Once these from approximately $22,000 to $35,000 or more. Vari-
bars are scanned, employees of the store or the Stock ables affecting earnings include the size and geographic
Room Manager can instantly find out what is and is not location of the store and the experience and responsi-
in stock. bilities of the individual.
The individual keeps records of merchandise
received and merchandise returned. He or she is Employment Prospects
responsible for reviewing these records and determin- Employment prospects for Stock Room Managers are
ing any discrepancies. The Stock Room Manager must good. Positions may be located throughout the country.
also be sure that procedures regarding returning defec- The greatest number of openings are located in large
tive merchandise are followed. areas hosting a great number of stores.

76     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Advancement Prospects Tips for Entry
The most common method of career advancement for 1. Jobs are often advertised in the classified section
Stock Room Managers is locating similar positions in of the newspaper. Look under headings such as
larger department stores. This will result in increased “Stock Room Manager,” “Stock Room,” “Depart-
responsibilities and earnings. Individuals may also find ment Store,” or “Retail Opportunities,” Specific
jobs as warehouse supervisors or managers. stores may also advertise a number of job oppor-
tunities.
Education and Training 2. There is often turnover in these positions. Stop in
Generally, Stock Room Managers have moved up stores and ask the manager if you can fill out an
the ranks and obtained their experience through the application.
on-the-job training necessary to perform their job. 3. Remember to bring the names, addresses, and
Some stores might also provide more formal training phone numbers of a few people you can use
programs. as references with you when applying for jobs.
Make sure you ask people if you can use them as
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits references BEFORE you use them.
Prior experience working in stock rooms is necessary. 4. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
Supervisory experience is helpful. Stock Room Manag- jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
ers should be very organized people. Communications ment office.
skills are useful as are computer skills. 5. Stores often promote from within. Get your foot
in the door, do a little bit extra, and climb the
Unions and Associations career ladder.
Individuals may get additional career information by
contacting the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Department Stores 77
LOSS PREVENTION MANAGER—
RETAIL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop loss prevention plan for store; hire, Loss Prevention Manager in Larger,
train, and supervise loss prevention associates for More Prestigious Store, or Loss
store; oversee loss prevention plan Prevention Director at Corporate Level
Alternate Title(s): Shrinkage Control Manager; Shrink-
age Control Director; Security Manager Loss Prevention Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $68,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair Assistant Loss Prevention Manager
or Assistant Security Director
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training skills; people skills; communications skills; com-
may be required puter skills
Experience—Experience in retail security and loss Special Requirements—Good moral character;
prevention clean police record; state licensing required if car-
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Supervisory rying firearms.
skills; good judgment, responsibility; interpersonal

Position Description It should be noted that some retail stores employ


Loss prevention is an important part of the retail indus- their own security department while others contract it
try and every store takes it seriously. While most people out utilizing the services of a security company. How-
are honest, a great deal of theft still occurs in stores. ever, one way or the other, most larger stores will still
This may encompass shoplifting by shoppers, as well as hire their own Loss Prevention Manager to oversee the
inside theft by store employees and others. security department.
The Loss Prevention Manager is the individual The Loss Prevention Manager is responsible for
responsible for developing a plan to control the shrink- recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising security
age of store’s inventory. Shrinkage is a tremendous guards for the store. It is essential that each guard know
problem to stores. Shrinkage is the loss of merchandise and understand the store’s policies and procedures and
from various means, the most prominent being shop- is instructed in the ways to carry them out.
lifting. Loss prevention is very important to the bottom The Loss Prevention Manager is expected to rec-
line of a store. Depending on the specific employment ommend the type of security devices the store should
situation, the Loss Prevention Manager may have var- utilize. These may include closed-circuit cameras, elec-
ied responsibilities. tronic security devices, security tags, and mirrors. The
The Loss Prevention Manager in a retail environ- individual must also determine how many security
ment is responsible for overseeing the safety of the guards are needed as well as if they should be under-
store, its employees, and customers. The individual is cover or uniformed. Undercover officers are often used
in charge of developing and implementing the store’s to catch shoplifters as well as watching out for internal
safety and security plan. In some situations, the Loss theft by store employees. Security guards are used to
Prevention Manager works for the corporate office of a provide a security presence within the store.
chain or department store. In these cases, he or she will The Loss Prevention Manager must develop pro-
develop plans for all the stores in the chain. cedures for handling shoplifting incidents within the

78     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


store. These must follow legal procedures for stopping, affecting earnings include the experience, training, and
searching, and holding suspected shoplifters. Generally, responsibilities of the individual.
once a suspect is stopped, the local law enforcement
agency is called in to make an arrest. Employment Prospects
The Loss Prevention Manager may develop semi- Employment prospects are fair for Loss Prevention
nars for store employees to help them find ways to Managers in the retail industry. Individuals may find
cut their shrinkage. However, in some instances, the employment in department stores and chain stores as
shrinkage in retail stores is internal (involving employ- well as specialty shops selling big ticket items. Positions
ees). In these cases, the Loss Prevention Manager must may also be located with the corporate office of chains
utilize undercover officers or involve the police in the and department stores. The best prospects for employ-
investigation. Internal shrinkage is often more difficult ment will be in areas hosting a large number of retail
to find until stores conduct their inventory. stores.
The Loss Prevention Manager may work with others
in store management scheduling inventories and going Advancement Prospects
over results. A large shrinkage, no matter what the rea- Loss Prevention Managers working in retail may
son, means people are not doing their jobs correctly. advance their career in a number of ways. The most
The Loss Prevention Manager in many situations common method is finding similar positions in larger,
is also responsible for safety issues within the store. more prestigious retail stores. This results in increased
He or she may recommend policies regarding safety of responsibilities and earnings. Individuals may also be
employees, customers, and the handling of emergen- promoted to the position of loss prevention director.
cies. The Manager may also develop and run seminars Some might advance to positions such as vice president
for store employees to help them find ways to make the of Loss Prevention and Security. This type of position,
store safer and more pleasant in which to shop. however, is usually only found in the corporate office
The Loss Prevention Manager needs to develop of chains and department stores. Others may climb
policies on dealing with potential disturbances and the career ladder by striking out and starting their own
problems such as calming loud or boisterous custom- security firms.
ers, evicting customers who are acting in a disorderly
fashion, helping in a medical emergency, or dealing Education and Training
with lost children. The individual must be sure store Education and training requirements vary for this type
employees know how to handle emergency situations of position. While some retail stores require their Loss
such power outages, weather problems, and medical Prevention Managers to hold a minimum of a high
emergencies. school diploma, most stores will prefer or require indi-
Additional duties of retail Loss Prevention Manag- viduals to have a college background or degree.
ers may include: Certain states may require individuals working in
security to go through specified training programs
•  Assuming duties of security guards offered in the area. Some states may also require an
•  Checking to make sure daily shift reports detailing annual in-service course to refresh or update officers
occurrences in stores are complete in changes in the security field. The Loss Prevention
•  Preparing reports for management on security and Manager may fall into this category.
safety in store If the Loss Prevention Manager is armed when
•  Making recommendations to store management working, he or she must go through a firearms training
about store security and safety concerns course. These usually involve both classroom instruc-
•  Formulating policies regarding safety and determin- tion and a specified number of hours on the firing
ing needs for safety programs range.
Classes, seminars, and workshops in loss prevention
Salaries and retail loss prevention are helpful in keeping abreast
Annual earnings for Loss Prevention Managers work- of new techniques and strategies in this field.
ing in retail can range from approximately $26,000 to
$68,000 or more. Variables affecting earnings include Special Requirements
the geographic location, size, and prestige of the spe- A clean record and good moral character are essential.
cific store as well as the number of stores for which the Those who are armed usually also must be registered
Loss Prevention Manager is responsible. Other factors with their specific state to carry firearms.

Department Stores 79
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits Tips for Entry
The Loss Prevention Manager working in retail is 1. Openings may be advertised in the classified sec-
required to have a great deal of experience in security, tions of newspapers. Look under heading clas-
loss prevention, and retail. Some have worked as police sifications such as “Loss Prevention Manager,”
officers or mall security directors prior to their current “Director of Loss Prevention,” “Retail Opportu-
appointment. Others have experience in the military or nities,” “Retail Security Director,” “Retail Security
other areas of civil service. There are also some individ- Manager,” or “Shrinkage Control Manager.” Also
uals who obtained experience working in security and look under specific store listings for job oppor-
loss prevention and moved up the career ladder. tunities.
The Retail Loss Prevention Manager should have an 2. Jobs may be located on the Internet. Many
array of skills. As in all other security and loss preven- retail stores have their own Web sites which list
tion positions, individuals should be responsible with employment opportunities.
good judgment. Leadership skills are important. Inter- 3. Don’t forget to look on some of the World
personal and customer relations skills are essential. Wide Web job sites. Start with some of the
Communications skills are mandatory. more popular ones such as the Monster board
An understanding of the retail industry is necessary. (www.monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.
hotjobs.com) and go from there.
Unions and Associations 4. Contact the corporate office of chains and
Retail Loss Prevention Managers may obtain additional department stores. Send a short cover letter and
information by contacting the National Retail Federa- your résumé inquiring about openings.
tion (NRF). Individuals may also obtain information
about possible licensing requirements from their state
or local licensing commission.

80 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


RECEIVING CLERK—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Receive, unpack, and check in merchandise Receiving Clerk in Larger Store
Alternate Title(s): Stock Clerk or Stock Room Assistant Manager
Salary Range: $7.50 to $9.50+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Good Receiving Clerk
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Entry Level
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—On-the-job training
Experience—No experience required
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Organized;
ability to lift cartons of various weights and sizes

Position Description individual must account for its delivery before a final
Department stores, by definition, sell many different acceptance. The Receiving Clerk will then sign the slip
types of merchandise. This merchandise is delivered by indicating that the merchandise has been delivered and
trucks on a regular basis. Some stores have daily deliv- accepted.
eries, others weekly or biweekly. Boxes of merchandise usually come with packing
Deliveries of merchandise are received and put into lists telling what should be in each box. Packing lists
the stock room until they can be inventoried and tick- may include information such as the number of items,
eted. While smaller stores may just employ stock clerks the color, and the size. The list will also include the
to handle stock room functions, larger department identification numbers corresponding to each piece of
stores may have a number of different employees work- merchandise.
ing in the stock room. These may include a stock room When unpacking each box, the Receiving Clerk is
manager, ticketers, stock clerks, inventory clerks, and responsible for checking to see if any of the items are
Receiving Clerks. damaged or broken. The store is usually not responsible
Receiving Clerks work in the stock room of the for paying for damaged merchandise. If the Receiving
department store, unloading the merchandise off the Clerk finds damaged goods, he or she will record the
truck. In some situations the truck driver will take information. This will then be used when the store does
the merchandise off the truck and place it on a load- a final accounting for payment.
ing dock. The Receiving Clerk must then move the Depending on the specific department store and
merchandise from the loading dock to the store’s its size and structure, Receiving Clerks may also ful-
stock room. Generally, when merchandise is delivered fill some duties handled by others in the stock room
it comes with a delivery or shipping list, indicating of smaller stores. For example, individuals may scan
exactly what merchandise is supposed to be in the incoming merchandise into the store’s computer sys-
delivery. tems. Additionally, they may be responsible for ticketing
For example, the delivery might include 18 boxes. or putting prices on merchandise. In other stockrooms
The Receiving Clerk must check to be sure each box is this may be done by a ticketer or a stock clerk.
accounted for. Sometimes the delivery doesn’t come in Additional duties of Receiving Clerks might include:
boxes. Clothing might come on racks. The Receiving
Clerk must then count the dresses or jackets against the •  Repacking merchandise and returning it to manu-
list. No matter what the merchandise or container, the facturer

Department Stores 81
•  Keeping records of merchandise which must be sent are still in school. However, there are many who will
back hire able people who are eager to work no matter what
•  Checking inventory for specific items their educational background.
•  Storing merchandise in correct area of store room
•  Stocking shelves Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
As noted previously, this is an entry-level position. No
Salaries prior experience is needed. Receiving Clerks should
Receiving Clerks working in department stores earn be organized with the ability to keep good records.
between $7.50 and $9.50 per hour or more. Variables The ability to lift large boxes or heavy merchandise is
affecting earnings include the size and geographic loca- necessary.
tion of the store and the experience and responsibilities
of the individual. Unions and Associations
Individuals may get additional career information
Employment Prospects by contacting the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Employment prospects for Receiving Clerks are good. Depending on the specific department store, Receiving
Jobs may be located throughout the country. The great- Clerks may belong to house unions.
est number of openings are located in areas hosting
large department stores. Tips for Entry
1. Jobs are located in the classified section of news-
Advancement Prospects papers under headings such as “Receiving Clerk,”
This is an entry-level position. Advancement prospects “Stock Room,” or “Retail Opportunities.”
are based, to a great extent, on individual career aspira- 2. Specific stores may also list job openings in the
tions. Some Receiving Clerks may find similar posi- classifieds.
tions at larger department stores resulting in increased 3. There is a great deal of turnover in these posi-
responsibilities and higher earnings. With additional tions. Visit the human resources department of
experience and training, the Receiving Clerk may climb stores and ask to fill out an application.
the career ladder by becoming an inventory or stock 4. Remember to bring with you the names, addresses,
room assistant manager. and phone numbers of a few people you can use as
references on your applications. Make sure you ask
Education and Training people if you can use them as references. BEFORE
Receiving Clerks generally do not need any specialized you use them.
training. On-the-job training is often provided by the 5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
stock room manager or other stock room employees. jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
Most employers prefer to hire those who hold a high ment office.
school diploma or the equivalent, or individuals who

82 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Supervise customer service desk; oversee cus- Customer Service Manager in Larger,
tomer service department; handle returns and other More Prestigious Store
problems for customers; handle difficult customers; or Assistant Store Manager
provide information regarding the store to customers
Alternate Title(s): Customer Service Director Customer Service Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $49,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Customer Service Representative
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Educational require- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Pleasant
ments vary; see text personality; supervisory skills; outgoing; interper-
Experience—Experience in retail, customer service, sonal skills; people skills; communications skills
and management

Position Description sets policies for returns and exchanges. While many
Most department stores have customer service desks. department store chains have policies set by the corpo-
These areas are set up so the store can handle various rate office, the Customer Service Manager often has the
services for customers. The individual responsible for authority to make exceptions. For example, even if the
overseeing this area in the department store is called store has a 30-day return policy, the Customer Service
the Customer Service Manager. Manager may override the policy for a customer if the
It is the main function of the Customer Service merchandise has not been used and the individual has
Manager to make the shopping experience as pleasant a receipt.
as possible for every customer. He or she may offer sug- Many department stores offer an array of other
gestions to the store management regarding steps that customer services including gift wrapping, shipping,
can be taken to accomplish this goal. For example, cus- layaways, gift certificates, and personal shopping. The
tomers may approach the Customer Service Manager Customer Service Manager may oversee all of these areas.
to complain about dirty rest rooms. The individual will Problems can vary tremendously in department
bring this to the attention of the store manager who will stores. The Customer Service Manager must be adept
see that the situation is corrected. at handling an array of situations in a calm and help-
The Customer Service Manager oversees the cus- ful manner. It is not uncommon in department stores
tomer service department. He or she will not only for customers to lose their wallets, leave their purses
determine how many individuals are needed at par- in dressing rooms or rest rooms, and put bags of mer-
ticular times in order to adequately cover the desk, but chandise down and forget to take them. Customers
schedule them as well. may find large sums of money or jewelry that others
As part of the job, the Customer Service Manager have dropped by mistake or bags of merchandise that
is expected to train his or her staff. The individual may someone else has lost. The Customer Service Manager
develop programs or work with the department store’s generally has a policy for handling these situations so
training department. customer service representatives know what to do.
The customer service area will usually handle Some situations are more stressful than others and
returns and exchanges. The Customer Service Manager need more understanding. Children often wander away

Department Stores 83
from parents, husbands can’t find wives, customers slip ferred, it is not always required. College gives indi-
or fall, or other accidents may occur. The Customer viduals the opportunity to gain experience and may
Service Manager may assist the store manager or others be useful in career advancement. It may also give one
in keeping everyone calm while following the store’s applicant an edge over another who doesn’t have a col-
procedures. Depending on the situation, he or she may lege degree. There are also many seminars, courses, and
be expected to call store management, security, or even workshops in the area of customer service that will be
the police when needed. useful in honing skills and may give one applicant an
Additional duties of Customer Service Manager edge over another.
working in department stores may include:
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Handling special orders for customers Customer Service Managers must possess the ability
•  Answering customers questions regarding store to make decisions quickly and effectively. Individuals
policies should enjoy dealing with the public and have a pleas-
•  Calling other stores in the chain to look for merchan- ant personality. Interpersonal and customer relations
dise for customers that may not be available in their skills are essential. The ability to lead others is neces-
specific store sary as well.
•  Answering phone inquiries regarding merchandise Customer Service Managers should have excellent
in the store written and oral communications skills. In addition to
dealing with the public, individuals may be responsible
Salaries for developing written policies, writing reports, and
Department store Customer Service Managers can have handling other paperwork.
annual earnings ranging from approximately $26,000 to
$49,000 or more. Variables affecting earnings include Unions and Associations
the size, prestige, and geographic location of the spe- Individuals interested in becoming department store
cific store as well as the experience, education, and Customer Service Managers can obtain additional
responsibilities of the individual. information by contacting the National Retail Mer-
chants Association (NRMA) and the National Retail
Employment Prospects Federation (NRF).
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking
positions as Customer Service Managers in department Tips for Entry
stores. Jobs can be located throughout the country in a 1. There are many seminars, workshops, and
variety of types of stores ranging from discount chains courses offered throughout the country in cus-
to upscale department stores. tomer service. These are useful to hone skills,
The greatest number of opportunities will be located obtain new ideas, and make useful contacts.
in areas hosting large number of department stores. 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sec-
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
Advancement Prospects such as “Customer Service Manager,” “Cus-
Department store Customer Service Managers climb the tomer Service,” “Retail Opportunities,” or spe-
career ladder by locating similar position in larger or more cific department store ads advertising multiple
prestigious stores. Depending on experience and training, positions.
some individuals advance their career by becoming either 3. Many department stores today have Web sites
an assistant or full-fledged store manager. where they advertise employment opportunities.
4. Trade journals also may advertise openings.
Education and Training 5. Stop by the human resources office of depart-
Educational requirements vary from store to store. ment stores to fill out an application.
While a college background or degree is usually pre-

84 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CUSTOMER SERVICE
REPRESENTATIVE—
DEPARTMENT STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Handle returns and exchanges for customers; Customer Service Director or
sell gift certificates; wrap gifts; provide information Customer Service Manager
regarding stores and merchandise
Alternate Title(s): Customer Service Clerk Customer Service Representative
Salary Range: $7.50 to $15.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Good
Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—High school diploma or Special Skills and Personality Traits—Pleasant
equivalent preferred personality; outgoing; interpersonal skills; people
Experience—No experience necessary skills; communications skills

Position Description customers so they can take advantage of these discounts


Most department stores have customer service areas and promotions. The individual might also offer cus-
where special services are provided for customers. tomers sale flyers and advertised coupons.
These areas are usually centrally located in the store so Some department stores provide gift wrapping ser-
customers can find them easily. The customer service vices either free or for a small fee. The representative
area is staffed by Customer Service Representatives. may be expected to wrap customers’ gifts in a neat and
The Customer Service Representative’s duties vary attractive manner.
depending on the specific store, its structure, and the ser- Other stores offer shipping or delivery services for
vices provided. One of the main responsibilities of Cus- the convenience of customers. In these instances, the
tomer Service Representatives is handling returns and Customer Service Representative may be responsible for
exchanges for customers. The individual is expected to weighing items, packaging them for shipping, collecting
follow the store’s policies regarding returns. He or she may monies, and getting the correct shipping information.
issue a credit, return cash, or do an exchange depending If a customer has a problem in the store, he or she
on the customer’s wishes. If there is a problem, the Repre- usually will go to the customer service counter and
sentative must call the customer service manager or store speak to a Customer Service Representative. It is the
manager to see if he or she can handle the difficulty. responsibility of the individual to help the customer as
The Customer Service Representative may answer much as possible. Problems can vary tremendously in
customers’ questions about store merchandise either in department stores. Whether it is customers losing their
person or on the phone. He or she may direct individu- wallets, someone finding a handbag in a dressing room,
als to a specific department to find merchandise they an angry shopper, or a child who has wandered away
are seeking or give directions to the store’s rest rooms, from his or her parents, the Customer Service Repre-
restaurants, elevators, or escalators. sentative must be adept at handling any situation in a
Many department stores have special promotions to calm and helpful manner.
attract shoppers such as frequent buyer’s clubs or senior The Customer Service Representative may also sell
citizen discounts. The Customer Service Representa- gift certificates or gift cards and explain how they may
tive may give out applications and prepare cards for be used and any conditions and limitations.

Department Stores 85
Additional duties of Customer Service Representa- the equivalent. However, there are also many stores that
tives may include: hire individuals who are still attending school.
Informal on-the-job training is usually provided for
•  Holding merchandise for customers until they pick this position. Those seeking to advance their careers in
it up retail may want to consider college.
•  Checking with a department manager to see if spe-
cific merchandise is in stock Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Assisting lost children and others looking for each This is usually an entry-level position. Most stores do
other in the store not require experience.
•  Making announcements on the public address system The Customer Service Representative working in
•  Answering phone inquiries regarding store hours or a department store should be an outgoing individual
availability of merchandise with a pleasant personality. He or she should be articu-
late with good customer service skills. Interpersonal
Salaries and customer relations skills are essential. The ability
Customer Service Representatives working in depart- to empathize with a customer who has a problem is a
ment stores can earn between $7.50 and $15.00 or more plus.
per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo-
graphic location, size, and prestige of the store as well as Unions and Associations
the experience and responsibilities of the individual. Individuals interested in learning more about careers
One of the added perks of working in a department in retail customer service can obtain additional infor-
store is often an employee discount. mation by contacting the National Retail Merchants
Association (NRMA) and the National Retail Federa-
Employment Prospects tion (NRF).
Employment prospects are good for Customer Service
Representatives seeking employment in department Tips for Entry
stores. Almost every department store employs Customer 1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
Service Representatives. Most employ more than one. of newspapers. Look under classifications such
Jobs can be located throughout the country. Pos- as “Customer Service Representative,” “Customer
sibilities include large chains stores like Wal-Mart, K- Service Clerk,” “Customer Service,” or “Retail
Mart, Target, Kohls, J.C. Penney, Sears, Macy’s, Dillards, Opportunities.” Specific stores may also advertise
and Bloomingdales. Individuals may also find employ- multiple jobs in an advertisement.
ment working in smaller department stores. 2. Stop in stores and ask to fill out an application.
Customer Service Representatives may work full Request that it be kept on file if there are no cur-
time or part time depending on the specific position. rent openings.
3. Local chambers of commerce or community col-
Advancement Prospects leges often offer hospitality and customer service
Advancement prospects for Customer Service Repre- seminars. These may be helpful in giving you the
sentatives working in department stores are fair. After edge over another applicant.
obtaining experience, motivated individuals may move 4. There are also many seminars, courses, and
up to positions as assistant customer service managers workshops in the area of customer service which
or full-fledged customer service managers. They may, will be useful in honing skills and may give one
however, need to find positions in other stores. applicant an edge over another.
5. Many department stores now have Web sites
Education and Training where they list employment opportunities. Some
Most stores prefer to hire Customer Service Represen- even allow you the opportunity to fill out an
tatives with a minimum of a high school diploma or application on line.

86 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


GREETER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Welcome customers entering store; check Cashier or Sales Associate


receipts of customers leaving to ensure merchan-
dise has been paid for; say good-bye to customers; Greeter
answer customers’ questions
Alternate Title(s): None
Entry Level
Salary Range: $7.00 to $9.50+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—On-the-job training
Experience—No experience necessary
Special Skills and Personality Traits—People skills;
communications skills; pleasant smile

Position Description or tag the merchandise and then direct the individual to
Customers like to feel valued by the stores in which they the customer service area for returns.
shop. Many department stores employ people called Additional duties of Greeters may include:
Greeters to welcome customers as they enter a store.
The main function of Greeters is to make custom- •  Informing management when shopping carts are
ers feel important when they walk into the store. They needed
accomplish this by warmly welcoming customers, say- •  Thanking customers for visiting and wishing them
ing hello as the people walk through the door, and well when they leave the store
smiling. •  Keeping an eye out for people leaving the store with-
Greeters may help customers get shopping carts to out paying for merchandise
make shopping easier. They may also assist customers
in getting wheelchairs or mobile shopping carts. Salaries
In some department stores, Greeters give children Earnings for Greeters working in department stores
little toys, balloons, stickers, or coloring books. These can range from approximately $7.00 to $9.50 or more
products may be emblazoned with the store’s logo. per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo-
Greeters may also hand out flyers or store coupons to graphic location, size, and prestige of the store, the
shoppers. specific days and hours the individual works, as well the
Greeters answer customers’ questions as they enter experience and responsibilities of the individual. Earn-
the store. Customers may ask the Greeter the location ings for Greeters are also dependent on the demand for
of specific items in the store or where specific depart- employees in a given area.
ments are located within the store. Customers may ask
where rest rooms are or if the store has a baby changing Employment Prospects
area. Sometimes customers need to know where extra Employment prospects are good for Greeters. Individu-
flyers or shopping baskets can be found. Others may be als may find work throughout the country.
looking for the customer service or lay-a-way desk. One of the selling points for many people seeking
Depending on the department store, the Greeter this job is the flexibility of working hours. Individuals
may be responsible for tagging merchandise customers may work full time, part time, mornings, afternoons,
come into the store to return. The Greeter may stamp evenings, weekdays, weekends, or holidays.

Department Stores 87
Advancement Prospects ing on the place of the employment, Greeters may
Advancement prospects for Greeters are dependent to belong to house unions.
a great extent on the individual’s career aspirations.
Some people take jobs as Greeters while in school or on Tips for Entry
a part-time basis to augment other income. These indi- 1. There is a great deal of turnover in these posi-
viduals usually move on to other types of jobs depend- tions. Stop in stores in which you are interested
ing on their training. Others may start out as Greeters in working and ask to fill out an application.
and move into positions as sales associates or cashiers. 2. Openings may be posted in store windows. Look
for announcements stating “Greeters Wanted.”
Education and Training 3. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
Generally, there are no educational requirements for of newspapers. Look under classifications such
Greeters. Most employers prefer people who have either as “Greeters” or “Retail Opportunities,” “Depart-
a minimum of a high school diploma or are still in ment Stores,” or see the ads of specific depart-
school. Individuals are trained on the job. ment stores.
4. Remember to bring with you the names,
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits addresses, and phone numbers of a few people
This is an entry-level position. No experience is you can use as references when filling out appli-
required. Good interpersonal and customer relations cations. Make sure you ask people if you can use
skills are essential, as is a pleasant personality. Greeters them as references BEFORE you use them.
are on their feet a good portion of the workday. 5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
Unions and Associations ment office.
Greeters may get additional career information by con-
tacting the National Retail Federation (NRF). Depend-

88 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


STORES, CHAINS,
SHOPS, AND
BOUTIQUES
DISTRICT MANAGER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee stores in district; oversee transfer of Regional Manager


merchandise; assure stores in district are running
properly; oversee key staffing positions; oversee District Manager
merchandising in stores; work with staff to help
store meet sales and profit goals
Store Manager
Alternate Title(s): District
Salary Range: $36,000 to $75,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Experience—Experience in retail management
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Manage-
be located throughout the country
ment skills; problem solving skills; communications
Prerequisites:
skills; organizational skills; ability to deal well with
Education and Training—Training requirements
people; administrative skills
vary; see text

Position Description individual may visit the store to help deal with the
Chain and department stores often have multiple out- situation.
lets in locations from one end of the country to the The District Manager is the liaison between the cor-
other. To assure that all the stores are run properly, cor- porate office and the store. He or she is responsible
porations divide the areas in which they are located into for communicating routine corporate policies to store
regions. Regions are overseen by regional managers. managers as well as letting them know of any policy
These regions are then divided into districts. Depend- changes. For example, the corporate office may want
ing on the specific company, a district may have eight customer returns handled in a certain manner. The
to 15 stores or more. Each district is overseen by an District Manager must make sure all store managers are
individual called a District Manager. familiar with the policy and make sure they follow it.
District Managers are responsible for overseeing all The individual may either send a written letter or fax or
of the stores in a specific area or district. They are make a call to each store manager.
expected to make sure each store in the district is run- One of the main functions of the District Manager
ning properly. is working with his or her stores to make sure they
The District Manager is ultimately responsible for meet corporate sales and profit goals. He or she may
everything that happens within the stores in the dis- visit the store to motivate employees as well as to give
trict. The individual communicates with each store on them product information helpful in making sales. The
a regular basis. Many District Managers speak to their individual may make suggestions about displays, mer-
store managers daily. During these conversations, they chandising, and other visual opportunities designed to
check to see if there are any problems in the stores and attract the attention of potential customers.
make sure the day-to-day management is going well. What sells in one store may not sell in another. In
He or she will usually ask how sales are, about store many stores, the District Manager will supervise the
traffic, and what merchandise is moving and what is transfer of merchandise that is not moving to a store
not. The District, as he or she may be referred to, may where it might.
ask about personnel issues or possible problems with Stores generally keep accurate records of sales fig-
the landlord or mall management. ures on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. This
If there are problems in any of the stores, the Dis- information is used to help project profits. Based on
trict Manager will offer suggestions to effectively deal these figures, along with various other information, the
with them. This may be handled on the phone or the corporate offices set sales goals. In many stores, the

90     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


store manager is expected to call in or fax the daily fig- Advancement Prospects
ures to the District Manager. District Managers may climb the career ladder in a
The District Manager is often responsible for number of ways. Some individuals find similar jobs
recruiting managers and assistant managers for his or with larger or more prestigious chains or retail out-
her stores. He or she may write and place ads for the lets. Others are promoted to positions overseeing
newspaper or other media, schedule interviews, and larger districts. Another common method of career
hire qualified individuals. advancement for District Managers is landing a job as
Many stores, especially chains, have weekly promo- a regional manager. These individuals oversee a num-
tions and sales advertised in the local paper and flyers. ber of districts.
These promotions, ads, and flyers are used to attract
customers. The District Manager will make sure the Education and Training
store management in his or her district knows about Educational backgrounds of District Managers vary.
the promotions so they can be run effectively. There are many District Managers who hold a high
The District Manager is often required to step in school diploma and no higher education. There are
to handle a customer service problem when it can’t be others who have college backgrounds and degrees.
handled on the store level. A customer, for example, While stores may not require individuals to hold
may have had a problem with a store manager and anything above a high school diploma, some may prefer
wants to deal with a person on a higher level. The District Managers with college backgrounds or degrees.
District Manager, as everyone else in retail, constantly Good majors include retailing, merchandising, busi-
strives to make sure his or her store excels in customer ness, management, marketing, communications, adver-
service. tising, liberal arts, or related fields.
There is a great deal of traveling involved in this Training requirements vary from store to store.
job. District Managers may work out of an office or Some stores provide formal training programs. Others
one of the stores in their area. They may travel to visit have on-the-job training.
stores three or four times a week. This is essential to
make sure stores are merchandised properly, every- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
thing is going well, and all problems are taken care of District Managers usually have gone through the ranks
immediately. getting experience as sales associates, assistant man-
Additional duties of District Managers may include: agers, and then store managers prior to their place-
ment in current positions. Individuals need a complete
•  Preparing new stores for opening knowledge of management principles as well as a total
•  Handling loss prevention understanding of the retail industry. Leadership skills,
•  Terminating key employees self-confidence, and the ability to make decisions are
•  Recommending raises and promotions for key essential. The ability to deal with and work well with
employees others is necessary. Individuals need to be good prob-
lem solvers who are energetic, detail oriented, and
Salaries highly motivated. Communications skills, both written
Earnings for District Managers can range from approx- and verbal, are necessary as well.
imately $36,000 to $75,000 or more. Variables affecting
earnings include the number of stores in the specific Unions and Associations
district, as well as the size, prestige, and geographic Individuals interested in learning more about careers
locations of each. Other variables include the experi- in this field should contact the American Collegiate
ence, responsibilities, and education of the individual. Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa-
Generally, those with the highest salaries will have a tion (NRF), and the National Retail Merchants Associa-
great deal of responsibility and oversee large districts. tion (NRMA).

Employment Prospects Tips for Entry


Employment prospects are good for District Managers. 1. Stores often promote from within. Get your foot
Positions are located throughout the country. Employ- in the door, learn everything you can, and move
ers may include chain and department stores, conve- up the career ladder.
nience stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and stores in 2. Many chains and department stores offer
specialty chains. management training programs. Contact the

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 91


headquarters of these stores to find out about (www.monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs
requirements. (www.hotjobs.com). Then search for career
3. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec- sites specializing in the retail industry.
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications 5. You might also check specific store Web sites.
including “District Manager,” “Retail Opportuni- Many post job openings.
ties,” or “Management Opportunities.” Look also 6. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
in the ads of specific stores. specializing in management positions in retail.
4. Jobs in this field, may be located on the Inter- 7. Send your résumé and a short cover letter to the
net. Begin your search on some of the more corporate offices of chain and department stores.
popular job search sites such as Monster board

92 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


REGIONAL MANAGER—RETAIL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee stores in region, coordinate the activi- Regional Manager for Larger
ties of district managers; assure stores in region are or More Prestigious Company or
running properly; recruit and train district manag- Director of Stores
ers; work with key employees to help store meet
sales and profit goals Regional Manager
Alternate Title(s): Regional
Salary Range: $46,000 to $100,000+
District Manager
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Manage-
Education and Training—Training requirements ment skills; problem solving skills; communications
vary; see text skills; ability to work well with people; administra-
Experience—Extensive experience in retail man- tive skills; leadership skills
agement

Position Description Sales can decline for numerous reasons. For exam-
The day-to-day management of a single retail store is ple, sales may be off for a simple reason such as bad
handled by a store manager. Many retail stores have weather, which may keep people off the roads. This will
multiple outlets in locations from one end of the coun- resolve itself as soon as the weather gets better. Some-
try to the other. In order to assure all the stores are run times, if there has been a big storm during a storewide
properly, corporate management divides the areas in scheduled promotion, the Regional Manager will sug-
which stores are located into regions. These regions are gest to corporate that the promotion be extended.
overseen by individuals called Regional Managers. Sales may be off because a new competitor has just
The Regional Manager oversees all the stores in the opened a store in the area. In this case, the Regional
region. The Regional Manager is expected to coordi- Manager may call the marketing department and rec-
nate the activities of the district managers in his or her ommend additional advertising, coupons, or promo-
region. The Regional Manager provides leadership and tions for a short period of time. On the other hand,
motivation and works with district managers and their sales may be off because a store in the region is not
stores to help each meet sales and profit goals. being managed properly or customer service is poor.
The Regional Manager works with the corporate The Regional Manager will work with the district man-
office to set both long- and short-term sales goals and ager straightening out the situation.
strategies. These are based on a number of factors and Regional Managers are responsible for overseeing all
information including prior sales figures. Stores gener- of the stores in his or her region. They are expected to
ally keep accurate records of sales figures on a daily, make sure each store in the region is running properly.
weekly, monthly, and annual basis. These figures are To do this, the individual communicates with each dis-
usually called in or faxed to the district manager who in trict manager on a regular basis.
turn gets them to the Regional Manager. The Regional Manager also works closely with dis-
The Regional Manager tracks the sales figures. If trict managers to identify and correct general manage-
he or she sees sales slipping in one or more stores, the ment problems within stores in the region. This may
individual will call the district manager to see what the include things such as improving traffic and merchan-
problem is and how it can be remedied. dising matters, dealing with personnel issues, and han-

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 93


dling any possible problems with the landlord or mall Advancement Prospects
management. Regional Managers may climb the career ladder in a
The Regional Manager may visit stores with the dis- number of ways. Some individuals find similar jobs
trict manager to deal with specific problems or to see first- with larger or more prestigious stores. Others are pro-
hand how things are going. The individual is the liaison moted to positions overseeing larger regions. Another
between upper corporate management and the district method of career advancement for Regional Managers
managers. He or she is responsible for communicating is landing a job as a director of stores.
routine corporate policies and policy changes to district
managers so they, in turn, can inform store managers. Education and Training
In many cases, the Regional Manager will assist Educational backgrounds of Regional Managers vary.
upper corporate management in the development of There are many Regional Managers who hold a high
policies and policy changes. The Regional Manager school diploma and no higher education. There are
often recruits district managers, and he or she may also others who have college backgrounds and degrees.
assist the district managers in recruiting and hiring key While some companies may not require individuals
personnel such as managers or assistant managers for to hold anything above a high school diploma, some
stores in the region. may prefer or require Regional Managers with college
The Regional Manager may work with others in backgrounds or degrees. Relevant majors include retail-
upper corporate management recommending mer- ing, merchandising, business, management, market-
chandise, sales, or marketing programs. ing, communications, advertising, liberal arts, or other
Regional Managers travel a great deal in their job. related fields.
Depending on the specific company and its structure, Training requirements also vary from company to
they may work out of a corporate office or out of one company. Some companies provide formal training
of the stores in their region. Regional Managers often programs, while others have on-the-job training.
travel to meet with their district managers as well as to
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
visit stores in their region.
Regional Managers are required to have a great deal
Additional duties of Regional Managers may include:
of experience in retail management. Most have gone
through the ranks getting experience as sales associ-
•  Preparing new stores for opening
ates, assistant managers, store managers, and regional
•  Helping close stores in the chain
managers prior to their current positions. Individuals
•  Meeting or calling the landlord or mall management
need a complete knowledge of management principles
to discuss problems and complaints
as well as a total understanding of the retail indus-
•  Terminating district managers or other key employees
try. Leadership skills, self-confidence, and decisiveness
•  Recommending raises and promotions for district
are essential. The ability to deal with and work well
managers or other key employees
with others is necessary. Individuals need to be good
problem solvers who are energetic, detail oriented, and
Salaries
highly motivated. Communications skills, both written
Earnings for Regional Managers can range from
and verbal, are necessary as well.
approximately $46,000 to $100,000 or more. Variables
affecting earnings include the number of districts and Unions and Associations
number of stores in the specific region, as well as the Individuals interested in learning more about careers
size, prestige, and geographic locations of each. Other in this field should contact the American Collegiate
variables include the experience, responsibilities, and Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa-
education of the individual. Generally, those with the tion (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Associa-
highest salaries will have a great deal of responsibility tion (NRMA).
and oversee large regions.
Tips for Entry
Employment Prospects 1. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
Employment prospects are good for Regional Managers. specializing in management positions in retail.
Positions are located throughout the country. Employ- 2. Trade journals often advertise openings.
ers may include chain and department stores, conve- 3. Retail companies like to promote from within.
nience stores, supermarkets, drug stores, and stores in Get your foot in the door, learn everything you
specialty chains. can, and move up the career ladder.

94 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


4. Many chains and department stores offer manage- lar job search sites such as the Monster board
ment training programs. Contact the headquar- (www.monster.com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.
ters of these stores to find out about requirements. hotjobs.com).
5. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec- 7. You might also check specific store Web sites.
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications Many post job openings.
including “Regional Manager,” “Retail Opportu- 8. Send your resume and a short cover letter to the
nities,” or “Management Opportunities.” Look corporate offices of chain and department stores.
also in the ads of specific stores. Ask that your resume be kept on file if there are
6. Jobs in this field may be located on the Internet. no current openings.
Begin your search on some of the more popu-

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 95


MANAGER—SPECIALTY OR
CHAIN STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Handle day-to-day management of store; over- Store Manager for Larger or More
see staffing needs of store; deal with customer ser- Prestigious Store or Regional Manager
vice issues; assist customers; prevent theft; work
with staff to help store meet sales and profit goals; Store Manager
handle advertising and promotional needs of store
Alternate Title(s): Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $75,000+ Assistant Store Manager
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem
Prerequisites: solving skills; negotiation skills; communications
Education and Training—Training requirements skills; ability to deal well with people; management
vary; see text skills; administrative skills; organizational skills;
Experience—Experience in retail management understanding of retail industry.

Position Description to the safe and take out cash to fill cash drawers with
While department stores are prevalent in this country, change for the day.
there are an array of other types of stores where people The Manager is expected to make sure all scheduled
shop. These include specialty stores selling merchandise employees are present. If employees call in sick, the
such as toys, fabrics, clothing, hardware, jewelry, lug- Manager is responsible for calling in replacement staff.
gage, electronics, books, plants, cosmetics, and gourmet The Manager is responsible for the recruiting and
foods, among other items. Each of these stores needs training needs of the staff for the store. He or she
a Manager. In some stores, the owner may act as the may place ads, conduct interviews, and hire needed
Manager. employees. The Store Manager is also expected to
The Store Manager handles the day-to-day manage- make sure that all employment regulations are fol-
ment of the store. His or her management techniques lowed within the store. These might include things
will have a direct impact on the success of the store. like following labor rules, making sure teenagers don’t
Specific responsibilities will depend, of course, on work more hours than their allotted time, and forms
the type of store the individual is managing. However, are filled out for tax purposes. The Manager will rec-
there are general duties all Store Managers must fulfill. ommend raises and promotions and is also expected
As in all retail outlets, the Store Manager is expected to to terminate employees.
work with his or her staff to meet sales and profit goals. The Store Manager must constantly strive to keep
The Store Manager is responsible for opening the customers happy. The climate of the store is often
store each day. This responsibility may be shared with dependent, to a great extent, on the Store Manager.
other key holders such as the assistant manager or Those who can make a store a pleasant shopping expe-
third key. Before the gates or doors are opened to the rience for customers and a pleasant workplace for
public, the Manager makes sure the store is ready. If employees will be most successful.
the carpet or floor wasn’t cleaned the night before, the To accomplish these goals, the Manager must pro-
Manager or his or her staff may vacuum. The indi- vide the best customer service possible. It is the respon-
vidual must be sure the shelves, displays, and racks sibility of the Manager to train the rest of the staff to
are stocked and neat. The Store Manager will also go provide excellent customer service as well.

96     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


The Manager will usually be the individual called •  Closing the store after hours
upon when a customer has a problem no one else can •  Scheduling employees work hours
or wants to handle. He or she will always try to resolve •  Approving customers’ returns
customer complaints to the customer’s satisfaction.
The Manager must make sure that the store is Salaries
stocked with merchandise that customers want. If the Annual earnings for Store Managers can range from
store has sales and promotions, the Manager must be approximately $26,000 to $75,000 or more. Variables
sure stock is available, and must keep abreast of what affecting earnings include the size, prestige, and geo-
is selling and what is needed. When merchandise is graphic location of the specific store. Other variables
low, the Manager may place an order personally or may include the experience, responsibilities, and education
inform the store’s buyer or owner. of the individual. Some Store Managers may also receive
The individual is often responsible for accepting bonuses when sales meet or exceed goals.
merchandise shipped to the store. He or she may also
supervise its unpacking. At times, the Manager will also Employment Prospects
supervise the repacking of merchandise to send back to Employment prospects are excellent for Store Man-
a manufacturer or to another store. agers seeking to work in retail. Positions are located
The Manager may design store windows and dis- throughout the country. There are an array of possi-
plays so that merchandise is attractively shown. In bilities ranging from small boutiques to larger specialty
other cases, the individual may assign this duty to the stores, chains, franchises, and everything in between.
assistant manager or another member of the staff. Stores like Dress Barn, J. Crew, Petco, Rite Aid, Victo-
The individual is expected to deal with any emergen- ria’s Secret, The Gap, Borders, and Barnes and Noble
cies or problems within the store. These might include have locations nationwide.
accidents or incidents in which either customers or
employees are hurt. The individual may call paramed- Advancement Prospects
ics or ambulances when needed. He or she will also The most common method of climbing the career lad-
be expected to file reports detailing incidents for store der for Store Managers is locating similar jobs in larger
owners or insurance purposes. or more prestigious stores. Those working in chains
The Manager is responsible for loss prevention. He may climb the career ladder by promotion to larger
or she must key an eye out for shoplifters as well as stores within the chain. Individuals also may advance
employee theft, and may work with local police agen- their careers by becoming area managers or moving
cies or private investigators. into other areas of corporate management.
The Store Manager is ultimately responsible for
overseeing all monies in the store. He or she may go Education and Training
over the day’s receipts as well as weekly and monthly Educational backgrounds of Store Managers vary. While
reports. In many stores, the Manager must report daily stores may not require individuals to hold anything
figures to the corporate office or store owner. above a high school diploma, they may prefer Manag-
At the end of the day, the Store Manager, an assis- ers with college backgrounds or degrees. Good majors
tant, or key holder will be responsible for cashing out include retailing, merchandising, business, manage-
registers and counting the day’s receipts. Depending ment, marketing, communications, advertising, liberal
on the specific store, the individual may either put arts, or other related fields.
the day’s receipts in the store’s safe or deposit it in the Chain stores often require their management
bank. recruits to go through their own formal training pro-
Some Store Managers develop and implement adver- grams. These may be necessary even if a Manager has
tising campaigns, promotions, and special events. He or worked in the same position in a store outside of the
she may also write advertising copy, design ads, and specific chain. These programs train the individual in
place them in various media. store policies and management techniques necessary to
Additional duties of Store Managers may include: running the store effectively.

•  Assisting customers Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits


•  Representing the store at community events and The most successful Store Managers work in stores
organizations where they have some knowledge or interest in the
•  Handling emergencies and crises after hours products or merchandise being sold. Most Managers

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 97


have had experience on the selling floor as well as Tips for Entry
third keys and assistant managers prior to their cur- 1. Positions may be advertised in the classified
rent position. sections of newspapers. Look under classifica-
Store Managers must be self-confident, enthusi- tions including “Store Manager,” “Retail Oppor-
astic leaders who are energetic, detail oriented, and tunities,” “Store Management,” or “Management
highly motivated. They must know a great deal about Opportunities.” Other positions may be adver-
the products and merchandise the store carries in order tised under specific store names.
to be able to assist customers effectively. The ability to 2. Many chain stores offer management training
solve problems and make quick decisions is essential. programs. Contact the headquarters of these
Customer service skills are vital for store manage- stores to find out about requirements.
ment. The ability to deal with and work well with people 3. Many stores now have Web sites where they also
is mandatory. Store Managers should also be articulate list employment opportunities.
with good communications skills. 4. Jobs may also be located on the Internet. Begin your
search on some of the more popular job search
Unions and Associations sites such as the Monster board (www.monster.
Individuals interested in learning more about careers com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.com).
in this field should contact the American Collegiate 5. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
Retailing Association (ACRA), National Retail Federa- specializing in management retail positions.
tion (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Associa- 6. Send your resume and a short cover letter to the
tion (NRMA). corporate offices of chain stores.

98 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ASSISTANT MANAGER—
SPECIALTY OR CHAIN STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist manager in daily operations; deal with Store Manager


customer service issues; assist customers; assist with
loss prevention; work with staff to help store meet Assistant Store Manager
sales and profit goals
Alternate Title(s): Key holder
Salary Range: $22,000 to $48,000+ Third Key
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem
Prerequisites: solving skills; negotiation skills; communications
Education and Training—Training requirements skills; ability to deal well with people; management
vary skills; administrative skills
Experience—Experience in retail management

Position Description In order for stores to stay in business they need to sell
There are many different types of stores. Some might merchandise. Assistant Managers are expected to help
specialize in selling clothing, toys, accessories, fabrics, motivate the staff to work to meet sales and profit goals.
luggage, pet products, or gifts, among other things. The Assistant Manager may take turns with the store
Some may specialize in more niche markets such as manager and the third key opening the store. Before the
gourmet teas, hair pieces, antique clothing, or music gates or doors are opened to the public, the individual
boxes. Some stores may be a part of chains or franchises. works with other employees making sure the store is
Others may be privately owned. Each of these stores has ready for customers. This might include checking to see
a manager. Most also have Assistant Managers. if shelves, displays, and racks are neat and fully stocked,
These individuals are second in command in the the floor is clean, and the registers have change.
store. They assist the store manager with day-to-day The Assistant Manager may be required to fill in
store operations. Assistant Managers also step in and when other employees call in sick and replacement staff
assume the duties of the manager when he or she is off. can’t be located. The individual may assist the store
While there are similarities between the manage- manager in recruiting and training staff. He or she will
ment of department stores and other types of stores, work with the manager assuring that all employment
there are also differences. In smaller independent regulations are followed within the store. These might
stores, for example, the Assistant Manager may have include things like following labor rules, making sure
more generalized duties. He or she may work with the teenagers don’t work more hours than their allotted
manager to buy merchandise. The individual may also time, or filling out forms for tax purposes.
assist with the store’s accounting and bookkeeping One of the main responsibilities of the Assistant
functions. Manager is making sure the store employees provide
Depending on the store, the Assistant Manager may excellent customer service, and that shopping in the
be expected to help develop and implement advertis- store is a pleasant experience. In the event a customer
ing campaigns, writing copy, designing ads, and plac- does have a problem or complaint, the Assistant Man-
ing them. The individual might also help the manager ager may be called to resolve it.
develop promotions and special events to attract cus- The Assistant Manager makes sure that merchandise
tomers to the store. sold during the day is replaced from the stock room at

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 99


regular intervals. In this way displays always look filled gious stores. This results in increased responsibilities
and appear inviting to customers. and earnings.
The individual is expected to deal with any emer- Another common method of career advancement
gencies or problems within the store when the manager for Assistant Managers is promotion to store manager.
is not available. These might include accidents or inci- Those working in chains may climb the career ladder
dents in which either customers or employees are hurt. by promotion to larger stores within the chain.
He or she will also be expected to file reports detailing
incidents for store owners or insurance purposes. Education and Training
The Assistant Manager works with others in the Educational backgrounds of Assistant Managers vary.
store on loss prevention. He or she must keep an eye While stores may not require individuals to hold any-
out for shoplifters as well as employee theft. The Assis- thing above a high school diploma, they may pre-
tant Manager and the manager may work with local fer Assistant Managers with college backgrounds or
police agencies or private investigators. degrees. Good majors include retailing, merchandis-
Depending on who is working at the close of busi- ing, business, management, marketing, communica-
ness, the Assistant Manager, manager, or third key will tions, advertising, liberal arts, or related fields. College
be responsible for cashing out registers and counting is especially helpful for individuals seeking to advance
the day’s receipts. One or more of these individuals may their careers.
put the day’s receipts in the store’s safe or deposit it at a Chain stores often require their management
bank. recruits to go through their own formal training pro-
Additional duties of Assistant Store Managers may grams. These may be necessary even if the individual
include: has worked as an Assistant Manager in a store outside
of the specific chain. These programs train the indi-
•  Assisting customers vidual in store policies and management techniques
•  Handling emergencies and crises after hours when necessary to running the store effectively.
the manager is not available
•  Closing the store after hours when manager is not Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
on duty Assistant Managers are required to have experience
•  Assisting with the scheduling of employees work hours working in a retail environment. Most have worked on
•  Approving customers’ returns the selling floor as well as been in third key positions.
Assistant Store Managers should be highly moti-
Salaries vated, self-confident, and enthusiastic individuals.
Annual earnings for Assistant Store Managers can They should be detail oriented and have the ability
range from approximately $22,000 to $48,000 or more. to do multiple projects at one time. Customer service
Variables affecting earnings include the size, prestige, skills are essential. Good communications skills are
and geographic location of the specific store. Other mandatory.
variables include the experience, responsibilities, and
education of the individual. Some Store Managers may Unions and Associations
also receive bonuses when sales meet or exceed goals. Individuals interested in learning more about careers
in this field should contact the American Collegiate
Employment Prospects Retailing Association (ACRA), the National Retail Fed-
Employment prospects are good for Assistant Manag- eration (NRF) and the National Retail Merchants Asso-
ers. Positions may be located throughout the country. ciation (NRMA).
There are an array of possibilities ranging from small
boutiques to larger specialty stores, chains, franchises, Tips for Entry
and everything in between. Chain stores such as Dress 1. Stores often post signs in their windows advertis-
Barn, J. Crew, Petco, Rite Aid, Victoria’s Secret, The ing openings for management positions.
Gap, Borders, and Barnes and Noble have locations 2. You might also stop in stores and ask to fill out an
nationwide. application. Ask that your resume be kept on file
if there are no current positions.
Advancement Prospects 3. Positions may be advertised in the classified
Some Assistant Store Managers advance their careers sections of newspapers. Look under classifica-
by landing similar positions in larger or more presti- tions including “Assistant Store Manager,” “Retail

100 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Opportunities,” “Store Management,” or “Man- 5. Many stores now have Web sites where they also
agement Opportunities.” Other positions may be list employment opportunities.
advertised under specific store names. 6. Remember to check out corporate Web sites of
4. Many chain stores offer management training chain stores as well.
programs. Contact the headquarters of these
stores to find out about requirements.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 101


THIRD KEY
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee small staff; assist customers; sell mer- Assistant Store Manager
chandise; open store; close store; cash out registers;
handle deposits Third Key
Alternative Titles(s): Junior Assistant Manager
Salary Range: $8.00 to $18.00+ per hour
Sales Associate
Employment Prospects: Excellent
Advancement Prospects: Excellent
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Manage-
Education and Training—On-the-job training ment skills; customer service skills; sales ability;
Experience and Qualifications—Retail sales expe- communications skills; pleasant attitude; money
rience required handling skills

Position Description Conversely, the Third Key may be scheduled to close


Retail establishments may have an array of supervisors the store at the end of business hours. When doing this
and managers running the store. Depending on the size he or she must first make sure all customers are out of
and structure of the establishment these might include the store and then close the doors or pull the gate for
managers, assistant managers, department managers, the evening. The Third Key may be expected to cash
supervisors, and Third Keys. out the registers, do cash counts and then prepare a
The Third Key is an entry-level management posi- deposit. Some stores may have safes where money is
tion with varied duties depending on the organization. kept until a morning deposit. In other stores, only mon-
The Third Key may be in charge of overseeing staff. ies designated for change will be kept in a safe at night.
A Third Key may often work either on weekends or The rest of the day’s receipts must be dropped in a night
evenings when a manager or assistant manager is not deposit by the Third Key or another member of the
on duty. During this time, the Third Key will supervise management staff.
the staff. In this position, the Third Key may handle Before the Third Key leaves, he or she must make
problems which might occur within the store. These sure the store is ready to open the next day. He or she
might include unhappy or irate customers, accidents will work with other members of the staff putting back
with customers or employees, shoplifters, or difficult merchandise, vacuuming the store, and straightening
merchandise returns. displays in preparation for the next day’s business.
The Third Key reports to the assistant manager and Some Third Keys may be assigned to specific parts
manager of the store. He or she may work full time or of the store or departments. The individual may, for
part time and usually will be expected to work evenings example, be in charge of keeping display tables stocked
or weekends. and arranged attractively. This may need to be done a
Depending on the store, managers, assistant man- number of times a day as customers rifle through stock
agers, and Third Keys may hold the keys to the store. looking for merchandise.
One of the responsibilities of the Third Key may be Third Keys are also expected to assist customers.
opening the store for business in the morning. To do Like sales associates, they must determine the needs
this the individual unlocks the door, makes sure the of customers to make each person feel comfortable
store is straightened and ready to open, puts cash in whether they come in the store to browse or buy. Third
the registers for change, and makes sure all scheduled Keys often take payment when customers decide on
employees are accounted for. purchases.

102     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


The Third Key job is a stepping stone to a management Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
position in retail. Other duties of Third Keys include: Third Keys need retail sales experience. They usually
start out as sales associates. Individuals should be reli-
•  Stocking, pricing, and ticketing merchandise able with management skills and the ability to supervise
•  Displaying merchandise others.
•  Training new employees They should be courteous, pleasant people with
•  Handling loss prevention good customer service skills. Sales ability and money
•  Accounting for sales handling skills are essential.
•  Handling returns
Unions and Associations
Salaries Those interested in learning more about careers as sales
Earnings for Third Keys range from approximately associates can obtain information from the National
$8.00 to $18.00 or more per hour. Factors affecting Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) or the Ameri-
earnings include the geographic location, size, prestige, can Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA).
and specific type of retail establishment. Other variables
include the experience and responsibilities of the indi- Tips for Entry
vidual. A perk of the job for many individuals is often 1. Larger stores often have management training
an employee discount in the store in which they work. programs. If you are aspiring to a career in retail
seek these out.
Employment Prospects 2. Jobs are often advertised in the classified sections
Employment prospects are excellent for Third Keys. of newspapers. Look under classifications such
Individuals may find positions throughout the country as “Retail,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Third Key,”
in a variety of retail establishments. Third Keys may or “Management—Retail.”
work full time or part time, as well as various shifts. 3. Many larger stores have job hotlines. These are
Most stores employ Third Keys or the equivalent. frequently recorded updated messages listing job
Many employ more than one person in this position. availability. Call stores directly to obtain their job
As noted, this is an entry-level management position. hotline phone numbers, or check their ads.
There is a great deal of turnover as individuals climb 4. Stop by the human resources department of
the career ladder or move to other jobs. larger stores to learn about job openings.
5. Stop in smaller stores and ask the manager if
Advancement Prospects there are any openings or if you can fill out an
Advancement prospects are excellent for Third Keys. application.
With experience or additional training, Third Keys 6. Many stores post “help wanted” signs in their
often advance to positions as assistant store managers. store’s windows.

Education and Training


The Third Key usually receives on-the-job training at
the store in which he or she works. Many stores also
provide formal training programs.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 103


SALES ASSOCIATE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist customers; sell merchandise; handle Third Key, Floor Supervisor,
cashier duties or Assistant Store Manager
Alternate Title(s)(s): Salesclerk, Salesperson, Sales-
woman, Salesman Sales Associate
Salary Range: $7.00 to $15.00+ per hour; associates
may also receive commissions or salary.
Entry Level
Employment Prospects: Excellent
Advancement Prospects: Excellent
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Customer
Education and Training—High school diploma or service skills; sales ability; communications skills;
equivalent; on-the-job training pleasant; money handling skills
Experience and Qualifications—Sales experience
helpful, but not always required

Position Description Other duties of Sales Associates include:


There are a variety of retail establishments of every size
and type. These include department stores, specialty •  Handling loss prevention
shops, grocery stores, convenience stores, newspaper •  Accounting for sales
and sundry shops, souvenir stores, kiosks, clothing •  Handling returns
stores, and boutiques and gift shops to name a few. No
matter what they sell, every store and shop needs Sales Salaries
Associates, also referred to as salesclerks. Salaries for Sales Associates may vary greatly. Many
Sales Associates assist customers, and determine the associates earn minimum wage. Others may be paid
needs of each customer. Sales Associates must make every between $8.00 and $15.00 or more per hour. Factors
person who comes into the retail establishment feel com- affecting earnings include the geographic location, size,
fortable whether they are just browsing or they want to prestige, and specific type of retail establishment. Other
buy. Customer service is extremely important in this job. variables include the experience and responsibilities of
Sales Associates must know the stock in their store the individual. In some stores, Sales Associates may be
and be able to answer questions regarding merchandise. paid a commission in addition to their hourly wage
Individuals may offer suggestions to customers regard- boosting their earnings.
ing purchase possibilities. One of the perks many Sales Associates enjoy is an
Once patrons decide what they want to purchase, employee discount in the store in which they work.
Sales Associates may be responsible for taking payment.
Individuals must know how to ring up purchases and Employment Prospects
make correct change if people are paying with cash. Employment prospects are excellent for Sales Associates
They also must know the proper procedure for accept- throughout the country. One of the great things about
ing checks or processing credit card charges. working as a Sales Associate is the flexibility it affords.
Sales Associates in some stores stock, price, and Sales Associates might work full time, part time, nights,
ticket merchandise. They are responsible for put- weekends, or holidays. In addition to being a good
ting merchandise out in displays. Individuals also are career choice for those interested in retail, it is often an
expected to clean and to organize shelves as well as keep excellent opportunity for students or people looking for
the shop or store neat and orderly. a second income.

104     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Advancement Prospects Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) or the National
With experience and/or additional training, Sales Asso- Retail Federation (NRF).
ciates are often promoted to supervisory or managerial
positions. Depending on career aspirations individuals Tips for Entry
might be promoted to third key, floor supervisor, or 1. While retail experience is not always needed, it
even assistant store manager. may be preferred. Include any prior retail experi-
ence on your job application or resume.
Education and Training 2. Jobs are often advertised in the classified sections
Generally, Sales Associates receive on-the-job training. of newspapers in areas hosting large department
Depending on the specific employer, training might stores. Look under classifications such as “Retail,”
include how to help customers with sales, as well as “Retail Opportunities,” “Sales Associates,” or
how to use the cash register and credit card machines “Salesclerks.”
properly. 3. Many larger stores have job hotlines. These are
frequently recorded updated messages listing job
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits availability. Call stores directly to obtain their job
Experience requirements for Sales Associates vary. hotline phone numbers, or check their ads.
There are many entry-level positions in sales requiring 4. Stop by the human resources department of
no experience. Others may prefer or require some type larger stores to learn about job openings.
of retail sales experience. 5. Feel free to stop in smaller stores to ask the man-
Sales Associates must be courteous, pleasant, and ager if there are any openings or if you can fill
have good customer service skills. Sales ability and out an application.
money handling skills are essential. The most success- 6. Look for help wanted signs in store windows.
ful Sales Associates enjoy being around people.

Unions and Associations


Those interested in learning more about careers as sales
associates can obtain information from the National

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 105


BRAND MANAGER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Developing and implementing marketing cam- Senior Brand Manager, Senior Vice
paigns for a specific brand; developing direction of President in Charge of Branding, or
specific brand; working with research and develop- Corporate Director of Marketing
ment (R&D) to develop new products within brand
Alternate Title(s): Product Manager Brand Manager
Salary Range: $35,000 to $150,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Assistant Brand Manager, Associate
Advancement Prospects: Good
Brand Manager
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education or Training—Bachelor’s degree in mar- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
keting, advertising, communications, or related ingenuity; motivation; ambition; ability to think
field outside the box; verbal and written communication
Experience—Marketing and branding experience skills; market research skills; analytical skills; inter-
necessary personal skills

Position Description with the company’s research and development team


Large corporations are frequently composed of smaller in developing new products for the brand or creating
companies or divisions that have their own brands. new features for one or more of the company’s existing
Disney, for example, is the parent company of ABC products.
television and CNN. Mars, Inc., is the parent com- Brand Managers work with various departments
pany of M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, Mars, Milky Way, and within the company to maximize promotion for the
an array of others. Kraft has numerous brands under brand. These include the marketing, advertising, public
their umbrella, including Velveeta, Philadelphia Cream relations, and art departments.
Cheese, and Kraft Salad Dressing. Brand Managers may use various types of campaigns
The person in charge of developing and implement- to increase customers' awareness of their brand as well
ing marketing campaigns for a particular brand is called as maximizing the brand promotion. These can include
the Brand Manager. Brand management uses a variety broadcast and/or print advertising, point of purchase
of marketing techniques to increase a specific brand’s displays, public relations, promotions, sweepstakes and
value to consumers. This in turn increases the brand contests, Web promotion, e-mail blasts, and more.
equity and worth which can mean millions of dollars Whether campaigns are aimed at television advertis-
to a company. ing, billboards, print ads, the Web, or packaging, Brand
Brand Managers have a number of different respon- Managers must ensure brand consistency. This is essen-
sibilities. Their main function is leading a company’s tial so potential customers can easily identify the spe-
specific brand through development, execution, and cific brand on a continuing basis.
product strategy to increase product sales. They are The Brand Manager must develop budgets for his or
responsible for developing a strong brand with high her departments. In doing so, the individual determines
visibility. how best to spend the monies allocated in order to
Individuals are expected to develop both long- and increase sales. Should more monies go toward research?
short-term marketing plans for their brand. Within the What about advertising? How about changing the pack-
scope of their job, Brand Managers may handle new aging? The decisions of the Brand Manager can affect
products or existing products. Indviduals may work the bottom line of that brand.

106     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Part of the responsibilities of the Brand Manager Some individuals are promoted to positions within
is to work with the research and development team. their company, handling larger or more prestigious
This is necessary for many reasons. Research might brands. This generally results in increased responsi-
determine, for example, how products in the brand can bilities and earnings. Others climb the career ladder by
be improved. Research often can help determine the finding similar positions with larger, more prestigious
feeling customers (or potential customers) have about a companies. Still others become corporate marketing
product. For example, do customers not like something directors.
about the product or brand? Do customers purchase a
product once and then not again? If so the Brand Man- Education and Training
ager must determine the reason why, as well as what can A minimum of a bachelor degree in marketing, adver-
be done to turn the problem around. As part of the job, tising, communications, or a related field is required for
Brand Managers must locate key markets and potential positions in this area. Many Brand Managers also hold
customers. Once that is done, the individual must find postgraduate degrees. Classes, seminars, and workshops
ways to reach those customers. in marketing, market research, branding, advertising,
The Brand Manager is crucial to the success of a and related areas are helpful for both honing skills and
brand. The decisions he or she makes in this role can making important contacts.
ultimately make the difference between a brand making
it or falling between the cracks. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Additional responsibilities of Brand Managers may In order to become a Brand Manager, individuals need
include: a fair amount of experience in marketing. Depending
on the specific job, applicants may also need experi-
•  Launching a media blitz for a new brand campaign ence in brand management. There are a lot of brands.
•  Coordinating public relations activities Finding ways to get the market share takes a lot of effort
•  Monitoring and controlling advertising and promo- and ingenuity. In order to be successful, Brand Manag-
tions for the brand ers need to be highly motivated, ambitious individuals.
Creativity and innovation are critical. It takes a lot of
Salaries thinking outside the box to make a brand stand out
Earnings for Brand Managers can vary tremendously, among other brands.
ranging from $35,000 to $150,000 or more. Factors As the Brand Manager needs to lead his or her team,
affecting earnings include the size, structure, prestige, there is a tremendous amount of communication neces-
and popularity of the specific company for which the sary. Both excellent written and verbal communication
Brand Manager works, as well as its geographic loca- skills are essential. The ability to do market research is
tion. Other variables affecting earnings include the vital, as is the ability to effectively analyze the results.
experience and responsibilities of the individual and his Brand Managers should be detail-oriented people
or her level in the organization. with the ability to handle multiple tasks at once. Time
It should be noted that in addition to base salaries, management skills, the ability to prioritize tasks, and
Brand Managers often also receive bonuses for meeting the ability to meet tight deadlines are critical.
sales quotas as well as increased sales of the brand.
Unions and Associations
Employment Prospects Individuals interested in careers in this field might
Employment prospects are good for qualified individu- belong to a number of professional or trade associations
als seeking positions as Brand Managers. Jobs may be that provide professional support and guidance. These
located throughout the country. Individuals may, how- include the American Marketing Association (AMA),
ever, need to relocate for a specific position. Positions the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the Market-
are most often available in companies that host multiple ing Research Association (MRA), and the Advertising
brands. These might include companies that manufac- Research Foundation (ARF). Brand Managers may also
ture products, as well as those that provide services. belong to trade associations specific to the corporate
area in which they work.
Advancement Prospects
Advancement prospects are good for talented Brand Tips for Entry
Managers. Those who have proven themselves may move 1. Corporate Web sites often list job openings. Visit
up the corporate career ladder in a number of ways. the sites of companies for which you might be

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 107


interested in working. (A listing of selected compa- 4. If you are still in college, either ask your adviser or
nies can be located in Appendix VIII of this book.) contact a company yourself regarding internship
2. Even if you don’t see a job opening, send your opportunities. These are valuable for experience,
résumé and a short cover letter to the human as well as the important contacts you will make.
resources department of any company in which 5. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
you are interested in working. Ask that your tions of newspapers under headings including
résumé be kept on file even if there is no current “Brand Manager,” “Product Manager,” “Market-
opening. You can never tell when a job opportu- ing,” “Corporate and Industry,” or in specific cor-
nity will occur. If your résumé is there, you might porate company advertisements.
get a call before someone else. 6. Contact executive recruiters specializing in exec-
3. Don’t forget to surf the net for openings. Start utive jobs in marketing and brand management.
by checking out popular job search sites such as Make sure you check ahead of time to see who
those at www.monster.com, www.hotjobs.com, pays the fee when you get the job—you or the
indeed.com, and simplyhired.com. Then go from employer. Generally, the hiring company pays
there. the fee when they find applicants for jobs.

108 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


BUYER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Determine which products are best; find sup- Head Buyer or Merchandise Manager
pliers and vendors; negotiate lowest prices; award
contracts Buyer
Alternate Title(s): Purchasing Professional
Salary Range: $27,000 to $75,000+
Junior Buyer or Assistant Buyer
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will Experience—Experience in buying or merchandising
offer more possibilities Special Skills and Personality Traits—Self-confi-
Prerequisites: dence; leadership; communications skills; organiza-
Education and Training—College degree preferred tion; ability to foresee trends

Position Description nationally. Buyers find merchandise in a variety of ways.


Every time you walk into a store full of merchandise, They may meet with vendors to look at merchandise in
you are seeing the work of a Buyer. The Buyer is the their own offices or may visit showrooms or factories.
individual responsible for choosing the merchandise Individuals might review listings in catalogs, indus-
that is sold in the store. In some stores, especially smaller try periodicals, directories, and trade journals. Buyers
ones, the owner or manager assumes the responsibili- often research the reputation and history of suppliers to
ties of the Buyer. assure that they are reliable.
Responsibilities of Buyers can vary depending on the Buyers often must travel a great deal. Individuals
specific employment situation. Buyers may be respon- may go on buying trips as well as attend meetings, trade
sible for buying the merchandise for an entire store or shows, and conferences. Individuals also may visit ven-
may be responsible for buying for one or more specific dors’ plants and distribution centers, so they can exam-
departments. A large department store may, for exam- ine products as well as assess the vendor’s production
ple, have a toy buyer, a women’s clothing buyer, and a and distribution capabilities.
small appliance buyer. In large chains, Buyers of specific The Buyer solicits bids from vendors to obtain the best
departments often are expected to buy merchandise for prices for the merchandise. He or she must then price the
all of the chain’s stores. merchandise so that it sells at the best markup possible.
Buyers usually have a number of different vendors The Buyer must keep abreast of changes affecting the
to choose from when selecting merchandise. They must supply and demand for products. If products aren’t sell-
evaluate and select vendors or suppliers based on a ing he or she must mark down prices in an effort to move
number of criteria. While price is important, it can not them and improve sales. The bottom line is to keep the
be used solely in choosing suppliers of merchandise. store or department as profitable as possible.
Other factors to be considered when choosing suppli- Additional duties of Buyers might include:
ers include the quality of the merchandise, availability,
selection, and reliability of the vendor. •  Studying sales record and inventory levels of current
One of the Buyers most important functions is find- stock
ing the correct merchandise. The individual may look •  Working with the advertising department to create ad
for merchandise which is currently in demand as well campaigns for specific merchandise
as predict trends and seek out new merchandise which •  Visiting the selling floor to assure products are dis-
may be in demand in the future. played properly
Depending on the situation, the individual may look •  Meeting with sales staff to discuss new merchandise
for suppliers and vendors both domestically and inter- or trends in the marketplace

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 109


•  Developing good working relationships with vendors Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Overseeing assistant buyers Generally Buyers begin their careers as trainees, junior
buyers, and assistant buyers. Some companies promote
Salaries qualified employees to assistant buyer positions. Others
Annual earnings for Buyers can range from approxi- recruit and train college graduates as assistant buyers.
mately $27,000 to $75,000 or more depending on a One way or the other, individuals must have experience
number of variables. These include the size, prestige, for this position.
and geographic location of the specific employers as Buyers should be motivated, confident individuals
well as the experience, responsibilities, and education with an interest in merchandising. They should be good
of the individual. at planning and decision making. Good judgment is
essential. Successful Buyers need the ability to predict
Employment Prospects sales trends and anticipate consumer preferences.
Employment prospects for Buyers are good. Individuals Buyers should have good communications skills.
may find employment in a variety of retail or wholesale The ability to deal with stress and pressure is necessary.
outlets throughout the country. These might include
large retail organizations, small stores, department Unions and Associations
stores, specialty stores, or chain stores. The greatest Buyers might belong to a number of associations
opportunities will exist in areas hosting large numbers including the American Collegiate Retailing Asso-
of retail and wholesale outlets. ciation (ACRA), American Purchasing Society, Inc.
(APS) or the National Association of Purchasing Man-
Advancement Prospects agement, Inc. (NAPM). Individuals might also obtain
Advancement prospects for Buyers are good. After additional career information from the National Retail
obtaining experience, Buyers may climb the career ladder Federation (NRF).
by moving to a department managing a larger volume
of merchandise resulting in increased responsibilities Tips for Entry
and earnings. An individual might also become a senior 1. Make sure that you register with the placement
buyer, purchasing manager, or merchandising manager. office at your college. Retail recruiters often work
with these placement offices.
Education and Training 2. Check out the Web sites of stores in which you’re
Educational requirements vary depending on the interested in working. Many have employment
specific employer. While there are exceptions, most opportunities on the site.
employers prefer to hire Buyers holding college degrees. 3. Jobs can often be located on-line too. Look at
Depending on the size of the organization, employers some of the major sites such as www.hotjobs.
usually prefer to hire individuals with a minimum of an com and www.monster.com. Then surf the net
associate’s or bachelor’s degree. for career sites specific to the retail industry.
Good majors for this type of career include business, 4. Positions are often advertised in the classified
retailing, merchandising, and marketing, among oth- sections of newspapers under headings includ-
ers. These are useful because many schools with majors ing “Retail Opportunities,” “Retail,” “Buyer,” and
in these fields work with employers on internship and “Purchasing Professional.”
placement programs. Once on the job, individuals often
go through either formal or informal training programs.

110 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ASSISTANT BUYER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Assist buyer in determining which products are Buyer


best; handle clerical duties; help buyer in locating
suppliers and vendors; handle customer service Assistant Buyer
Alternate Title(s): Junior Buyer
Salary Range: $24,000 to $32,000+
College Student or Trainee
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more possibilities Experience—Experience requirements vary; see text
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Clerical
Education and Training—College degree and/or skills; leadership; self-confidence; communication
executive training program skills; organization; ability to foresee trends

Position Description shows, and conferences as well as visit vendors’ plants


The job of buyers can be tremendous. Generally, they and distribution centers. In this manner he or she can
have one or more Assistant Buyers to help them handle learn about examining products as well as assessing
their responsibilities. The Assistant Buyer may have the vendor’s production and distribution capabilities.
varied depending on the specific employer and the It’s essential at this point that the Assistant become
structure of the company. familiar with consumer trends so he or she will begin
One of the best things about a job as an Assistant to understand what types of merchandise will sell and
Buyer is the opportunity for the individual to watch the what won’t.
buyer do his or her job. From this experience, the Assis- Depending on the situation, the Assistant may work
tant learns the ropes. The individual starts out handling with a buyer responsible for the merchandise for an
routine functions. He or she might, for example handle entire store or may work with a buyer responsible for
records and do clerical work. As part of that function, one or more specific departments. An individual work-
the Assistant might check that orders go out and verify ing in a large department store may, for example, work
that shipments come in. as the assistant toy buyer, assistant children’s clothing
As the individual gains more experience, he or buyer, or assistant domestics buyer.
she will be assigned projects with more responsibili- Sometimes the difference between merchandise sell-
ties. The buyer may ask the Assistant to write special ing and not selling is the way it is presented. Assistant
orders or reorders of merchandise which is selling Buyers often work closely with the store’s salespeople to
well. As part of the job, the individual might also make sure merchandise is displayed attractively. Indi-
check on stock and keep the buyer appraised of the viduals may help the sales staff choose which mer-
status of that stock. If something is selling particu- chandise should be presented in windows or on wall or
larly well, the Assistant must alert the buyer so more stand-alone displays.
can be ordered. On the other hand, if something isn’t Additional duties of Assistant Buyers might include:
moving, an alert by the Assistant can help the buyer
decide to do price markdowns so the merchandise •  Studying sales record and inventory levels of current
moves. stock to see what is selling and what is not
Gradually, the Assistant will learn more about deal- •  Handling special orders for customers
ing with vendors. He or she might sit in on meetings •  Visiting the selling floor to assure products are dis-
with vendors or accompany the Buyer on buying trips. played properly
The individual may also attend other meetings, trade •  Overseeing inventory counts

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 111


Salaries Assistant Buyers should be eager to learn. Individu-
Annual earnings for Assistant Buyers can range from als need to be motivated and confident with an interest
approximately $24,000 to $32,000 or more depending in merchandising. Clerical skills are often necessary
on a number of variables. These include the size, pres- when assisting the buyer. Good communications skills
tige, and geographic location of the specific employer as are essential, as is the ability to deal with stress and
well as the experience, responsibilities, and education pressure.
of the individual.
Unions and Associations
Employment Prospects Assistant buyers might belong to a number of asso-
Employment prospects for Assistant Buyers are good. ciations including the American Collegiate Retailing
Individuals may find employment in a variety of retail Association (ACRA), American Purchasing Society,
or wholesale outlets throughout the country. These Inc. (APS) or the National Association of Purchasing
might include large retail organizations, small stores, Management, Inc. (NAPM). Individuals might also
department stores, specialty stores, or chain stores. The obtain additional career information from the National
greatest opportunities will exist in areas hosting large Retail Federation (NRF).
numbers of retail and wholesale outlets.
Tips for Entry
Advancement Prospects 1. Contact stores you are interested in working at
Advancement prospects are good for motivated individ- to find out if they offer executive training pro-
uals. After obtaining experience, Assistant Buyers may grams.
climb the career ladder by becoming full-fledged buyers. 2. Make sure that you register with the placement
office at your college. Retail recruiters often work
Education and Training with these placement offices.
Educational requirements vary depending on the 3. Check out the Web sites of stores where you’re
specific employer. While there are exceptions, most interested in working. Many have employment
employers prefer to hire Assistant Buyers holding col- opportunities on the site.
lege degrees. Based on the size or the organization, 4. Jobs can often be located on-line too. Look at
employers usually prefer to hire individuals with a min- some of the major sites such as www.hotjobs.
imum of an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. com.
Appropriate majors for this type of career include 5. Positions are often advertised in the classified
business, retailing, merchandising, and marketing. These sections of newspapers under headings including
are useful because many schools with majors in these “Retail Opportunities,” “Retail,” “Assistant Buyer,”
fields work with employers on internships and place- and “Junior Buyer.”
ment programs. Generally, once on the job, individuals 6. Contact executive recruiters specializing in the
go through either formal or informal training programs. retail industry. Make sure you check ahead of
time to see who pays the fee when you get the
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits job—you or the employer.
Assistant Buyers often start their careers on the sales floor.
Many individuals have been recruited from colleges.

112 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ADVERTISING DIRECTOR—
RETAIL STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Plan, develop, and implement print, broadcast, Advertising Director in Larger
or Internet advertising campaigns for retail store or More Prestigious Store, Marketing
Alternate Title(s): Ad Manager; Advertising Manager; Director, or V.P. of Advertising
Director of Advertising
Salary Range: $26,000 to $75,000+ Advertising Director—Retail Store
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Assistant Advertising Director
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
or Advertising Assistant
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in adver-
tising, business, journalism, public relations, market-
ing, liberal arts, English, communications, or business Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
Experience—Experience in retail advertising nec- ability to handle details; knowledge of retail indus-
essary try; knowledge of copywriting, graphics, and layout

Position Description This might include an assistant advertising director,


In any given area, there are an array of stores from advertising assistants, graphic artists, art directors,
which customers can choose to shop. In order to attract copywriters, or producers.
potential shoppers, most retail stores advertise in some The Advertising Director works closely with the
manner. The individual responsible for the advertising store’s marketing director. Together they plan the
is called the Advertising Director. direction of the store’s marketing and advertising cam-
Retail stores utilize advertising for a number of rea- paigns.
sons. It helps people learn what a specific store carries. The Advertising Director develops and plans the
Advertising also lets customers know when products store’s annual advertising budget. Depending on the
are on sale. Additionally, advertising helps put the name store or chain, this may encompass weekly sales fly-
of a store in the public’s mind and eye. ers, inserts in newspapers, print ads in newspapers and
A retail store can carry just the right product that magazines, radio and television commercials, and bill-
everyone wants at a lower price than their competi- boards. Advertising may also include promotions, pro-
tors. However, if no one knows it’s available and few motional merchandise, and other items used to draw
people are familiar with the store, the product will not attention to the store and its merchandise.
sell. One of the functions of the Advertising Director is Today, many retail stores advertise on the World
making sure this doesn’t happen. Wide Web utilizing banner ads and other advertise-
The Advertising Director plans, develops, and im- ments. Additionally, many traditional retail stores now
plements the advertising campaigns and individual ads also have on-line stores. The Advertising Director must
for the store. Those working in the corporate offices of be able to advertise both effectively.
retail chains will be responsible for handling the adver- The Advertising Director must develop ad cam-
tising for the entire chain. paigns and single ads which are memorable and effec-
In smaller stores the Advertising Director may work tive. Many stores such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and Target
alone or with the help of an assistant and perhaps a have continuing advertising themes carried through
graphic designer. In larger stores or in the corporate in their print, television, and Internet ads. This helps
office, the Advertising Director will work with a staff. keep the name of the store in the public’s mind. In

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 113


many circumstances, the individual will develop ads include the responsibilities, experience, and education
and campaigns for the entire year. These may include of the individual.
advertising for holidays, promotions, special events, In addition to a salary, some Advertising Directors
and sales programs. also receive bonuses when there are sales increases in
Most stores feel that as long as they have people given sales periods.
walking through and browsing, they will have shop-
pers. While these people may not make immediate pur- Employment Prospects
chases, they may buy at a later date. The Advertising Employment prospects are fair for Advertising Direc-
Director works with the marketing, promotional, and tors. Individuals may find employment throughout
public relations departments to develop ads and cam- the country in a variety of retail outlets. These include
paigns that will help make as many people as possible small, midsized, and large stores, chain and department
aware of what the store offers. stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and more.
Depending on the size and structure of the specific
retail store, the Advertising Director may be required
Advancement Prospects
to do copywriting, graphics, layout, and production
Retail Advertising Directors may climb the career lad-
for advertisements and commercials or may work with
der in a number of ways. Some individuals find similar
copywriters, graphic artists, and producers. He or she
might also lay out rough ideas for advertisements and positions in larger or more prestigious stores. Others
have the publication’s or broadcast station’s advertising may become directors of retail marketing. Still others
department put the ad together. In some instances, the may be promoted to the vice president of Advertising.
Advertising Director may also work with advertising There are also individuals who find positions in adver-
agencies that handle some of these functions. tising agencies or become advertising directors in other
As part of the job, the Advertising Director is industries.
expected to decide what media to place ads in or on,
specific sections of publications to have ads inserted Education and Training
and when to schedule broadcast commercials. He or Most employers require or prefer their Advertising
she is responsible for making sure all advertisements Directors hold a minimum of a four-year college degree.
and commercials have accurate copy and graphics and Good choices for majors include advertising, business,
are mailed or delivered to the correct media before journalism, public relations, retail, marketing, liberal
deadline. arts, English, communications, and business.
Additional duties of the Advertising Directors may Courses and seminars in advertising, copywriting,
include: business, or retail management are also helpful.
•  Developing and putting together weekly advertising Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
flyers Retail Advertising Directors should be creative people
•  Tracking tear sheets, clippings, visual cuts, and audio-
with an understanding of both advertising and the retail
tapes
industry. Individuals are often asked to show their port-
•  Checking bills for ad placement and authorizing
folio of ads and campaigns prior to being hired. These
payment
are used to illustrate talent to potential employers.
•  Advertising special events and promotions store is
hosting Advertising Directors working in retail need the
•  Working on cooperative ads or billboards with malls ability to communicate well, both verbally and on paper.
in which their stores are located Experience working in advertising in the retail industry
is usually required.
Salaries Individuals need the knowledge to develop both
Salaries for Advertising Directors can range from single ads and entire advertising campaigns which are
approximately $26,000 to $75,000 or more annually. successful and effective. The ability to work on multiple
Factors affecting earnings include the size and prestige projects at one time and meet deadlines is essential.
of the specific store, as well as its geographic location.
Other factors include the store’s advertising budget and Unions and Associations
whether the individual is responsible for the advertising Retail Advertising Directors may belong to a number
for one store or an entire retail chain. Other variables of trade associations providing support and guidance.

114 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


These may include the American Advertising Fed- tise a number of opportunities in a boxed clas-
eration (AAF), the Business/Professional Advertising sified ad.
Association (B/PAA) and the American Marketing 3. Send your resume and a cover letter to specific
Association (AMA). Individuals interested in this type retail stores as well as to their corporate offices.
of career might also contact the National Retail Fed- Ask that your resume be kept on file.
eration (NRF) and the American Collegiate Retailing 4. Larger chain stores often offer internship or sum-
Association (ACRA) for additional information. mer jobs as assistants. Contact both stores in
your area and corporate offices of chains to check
Tips for Entry into the possibilities.
1. Join trade associations and attend their meetings 5. Take seminars and courses in advertising, promo-
and conventions. These are invaluable sources of tion, public relations, marketing, and publicity.
information and networking opportunities. 6. A good way to gain experience in advertising is
2. Positions are often advertised in the classi- to work in the advertising department of a local
fied sections of newspapers. Keep in mind the newspaper, magazine, or television or radio
Sunday paper usually has the largest classified station.
section. Look under headings including “Adver- 7. Start working on your portfolio now. Make it
tising,” “Marketing,” “Advertising Director,” or diverse and full of your best work. As noted, a
“Retail Opportunities.” Stores also often adver- good portfolio can get you a job.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 115


DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE—STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Find properties to locate stores; visit proper- V.P. of Real Estate
ties and sites to make appraisals and evaluations; do
selections of stores within shopping centers; negoti- Director of Real Estate
ate business terms and conditions
Alternate Title(s): Real Estate Director; Leasing Director
Real Estate Manager
Salary Range: $37,000 to $150,000+
or Assistant Real Estate Manager
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Negotiating
Education and Training—Educational require- skills; problem solving skills; communications skills;
ments vary ability to deal well with people; assertive
Experience—Experience working in real estate and Special Requirements—Real Estate or Real Estate
leasing necessary Brokers license may be required.

Position Description While at a mall, the Director of Real Estate may stop
There are many places retail stores can be located. into mall stores and listen to comments by customers or
These include indoor malls and shopping centers, out- employees. All this information helps him or her make
door strip centers, stand alone stores, and more. Many an informed decision about the viability of a property
retail stores, most notably chains, employ Directors of for a new store.
Real Estate. These individuals, also known as leasing Once the decision has been made that a store would
directors, are the people who are responsible for finding be viable in a mall, the real estate director is responsible
just the right locations for retail stores. for selecting the specific store within the center.
Within the scope of the job, the Director of Real The Director of Real Estate may contact mall leas-
Estate may have varied duties. His or her main function ing directors or real estate agents representing available
is to find the perfect location for the retail chain’s stores. properties, or management companies to find out about
Depending on the size and structure of the real estate rents, other charges, and availabilities. The individual
department, the individual may be assisted by one or may ask for leasing packages or may set up meetings to
more managers, assistants, and other staff members. discuss pertinent information. The real estate director
The Director of Real Estate is often contacted by may also visit the various locations to see the physical
the corporate office when they determine that they are spaces.
interested in opening new stores in one or more geo- Sometimes the Director of Real Estate may be
graphic areas. The individual may also be responsible contacted by malls which are interested in having the
for scouting out new locations where stores might be Director’s stores in the mall. The Director of Real Estate
viable. In some situations a leasing director from a mall may meet with mall management or other real estate
may contact the store’s Director of Real Estate. people a number of times before a lease is signed. He or
The Director of Real Estate is expected to do exten- she may ask to see sales figures of other stores, foot traf-
sive research on various locations. He or she often must fic reports, or advertising budgets.
go to look at properties and sites. The individual may The Director of Real Estate negotiates leases. The
visit malls or other centers to make an evaluation. business terms of the lease may include rents, taxes,
The Director of Real Estate may check out things CAM (common area maintenance) charges, advertising
such as the foot traffic, the condition of the mall, and charges, preparation of the space, length of the lease,
how the management company cares for the property. options, and kick-out clauses. (A kick-out clause is a

116     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


clause in a lease whereby a tenant may leave without pany. Many Directors of Real Estate strike out on their
penalty if certain conditions are not met. For example, own and become leasing consultants or form their own
not meeting a specified amount of sales.) The director leasing companies.
is expected to make the best deal possible for the store.
The individual may also negotiate for any necessary Education and Training
construction costs before the store can move in. This is Educational requirements for Directors of Real Estate
especially important with chain stores which often have vary from store to store. Most retail chains today pre-
similar layouts in every location. fer individuals have a college background and degree.
The Director of Real Estate must keep track of when There are individuals in this position who hold law
leases are up for all his or her stores. In this way the degrees or have majors in accounting, retail manage-
individual can handle renewals or exercise any options ment, business, marketing, real estate, public adminis-
available according to the lease agreement. tration, finance, liberal arts, or related fields.
There is a great deal of paperwork in this job. The While experience is the best teacher, many employ-
Director of Real Estate must keep immaculate records. ers also prefer that individuals have some sort of real
He or she must make sure leases incorporate all negoti- estate training. Others require it. Most positions will
ated points. The individual must also be sure all leases also prefer or require the Director of Real Estate to hold
are executed and signed by all parties. a real estate agent or broker’s license. In order to obtain
Additional duties of the Director of Real Estate for this licensing, individuals must usually take and pass
retail stores might include: a written test as well as go through at least 30 hours of
classroom instruction to become an agent or 90 hours
•  Handling lease administration of training to become a broker.
•  Working with real estate agents Professional and trade associations often offer help-
•  Dealing with mall management or landlords regard- ful seminars and courses in all aspects of real estate.
ing problems in the mall or on the property
•  Attending conventions and other leasing events Special Requirements
As noted previously many employers prefer or require
Salaries individuals in this position to either hold a real estate
Real estate directors working in retail stores and chains license or real estate broker’s license.
can earn between $37,000 and $150,000 or more. The
tremendous range is dependent on a number of factors. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Variables affecting earnings include the size, prestige, The Director of Real Estate needs a great deal of expe-
and geographic location of the property and number rience for this position. Many individuals started out
of properties the individual is responsible for leasing. in real estate first as salespeople and then as brokers.
Other variables include the experience, responsibilities, Others have gone through training programs in retail
and education of the individual. environments. Some started out as assistant leasing
administrators and obtained experience moving up the
Employment Prospects ranks.
Employment prospects are fair for Directors of Real Directors of Real Estate need to be highly motivated,
Estate in a retail chain environment. Individuals may energetic individuals. They should be pleasantly aggres-
find employment in the corporate offices of a variety sive with the ability to deal with and work well with
of chain and other retail stores. These might include others. Individuals need to be good problem solvers
drug stores, department stores, supermarkets, clothing and negotiators.
stores, furniture stores, or toy stores.
While jobs may be located throughout the country, Unions and Associations
individuals may need to relocate for specific positions. Directors of Real Estate working in retail chains may be
members of a number of associations providing career
Advancement Prospects guidance and support. These include the National
The most common method of career advancement for Association of Realtors (NAR), local state real estate
Directors of Real Estate is to find similar positions in associations, the Outlet Retail Manufacturers Associa-
larger, more prestigious companies. Another way an tion (ORMA), the International Council of Shopping
individual may climb the career ladder is to land a posi- Centers (ICSC) and the Institute of Real Estate Manage-
tion as a vice president of real estate in the retail com- ment (IREM).

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 117


Tips for Entry tions including “Leasing Director,” or “Store
1. Many large chain stores offer internship and Leasing Director,” or “Retail Leasing Director,”
training programs in this area. “Director of Leasing,” or “Real Estate Director-
2. There are a number of executive search firms Retail.”
dealing exclusively with jobs in retail. 5. Openings are also advertised in trade journals.
3. Send your resume and a cover letter to the corpo- 6. Jobs in this field may be located on-line. Begin your
rate offices of large chain stores. search on some of the more popular job search
4. Positions are often advertised in the classified sites such as the Monster board (www.monster.
sections of newspapers. Look under classifica- com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.com).

118 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CASHIER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Take payment from customers for purchases; Cashier Supervisor


ring up sales; complete credit card transactions; give
change to customers Cashier
Alternate Title(s): Clerk
Salary Range: $7.00 to $10.00+ per hour
Entry Level
Employment Prospects: Excellent
Advancement Prospects: Excellent
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Ability to
Prerequisites:
use cash register; basic math skills; people skills;
Education and Training—On-the-job training
communications skills; good moral character
Experience—Experience requirements vary

Position Description tions according to procedures. This may include get-


Cashiers are the individuals responsible for taking the ting approval from the credit card company for putting
payment from customers for their purchases. Within the through the charge. The Cashier must also be sure the
scope of the job, Cashiers may perform varied duties. customer signs the credit card slip and that he or she
After customers choose the items they are interested gets a copy of the transaction.
in purchasing they bring them to a Cashier. The indi- At the end of his or her shift, the individual compares
vidual is expected to ring up the merchandise. This may the totals on the cash register with the amount of cur-
be done in a variety of ways depending on the situation. rency in the register to verify balances. In doing this, he
Cashiers in grocery stores, for example, might scan the or she must take into account checks and charge slips.
selected items over a special scanning device. Those Additional duties of the Cashiers may include:
working in other stores may scan the pricing label or
manually punch in prices on a cash register. In some •  Processing refunds
situations, the Cashier may ring up a price from a sales •  Taking layaways
slip prepared by a salesperson. In performing this func- •  Performing the duties of a salesperson
tion, the individual may need to punch in certain codes •  Packing merchandise
to make sure correct taxes are charged.
After the Cashier rings up the customer’s purchases, Salaries
he or she informs the customer the amount that is due. Earnings for Cashiers working in retail environments
The customer may pay the amount due in a number can range from approximately $7.00 to $10.00 or more
of different methods. These include cash, check, or a per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo-
credit card. graphic location, size, and prestige of the store as well
If the customer chooses to pay in cash, the Cashier as the experience and responsibilities of the individ-
must make sure he or she gives the individual the cor- ual. Earnings for Cashiers are also dependent on the
rect amount of change. In the event the customer is demand for employees in a given area.
paying by check, the Cashier is expected to follow the
correct procedures. For example, the individual may Employment Prospects
need to take down identifying information from the Employment prospects are excellent for Cashiers. Indi-
customer’s license or may need to get approval from a viduals may find work throughout the country in a
supervisor for accepting the check. variety of retail situations including department stores,
Many people pay with credit cards or debit cards. convenience stores, grocery stores, boutiques, and
In these cases, the Cashier must complete the transac- stores selling every conceivable type of merchandise.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 119


One of the perks for many people seeking this job is personality. Cashiers are on their feet a good portion of
the flexibility of working hours. Individuals may work the workday.
full time, part time, mornings, afternoons, evenings,
weekdays, weekends, or holidays. Unions and Associations
Cashiers may get additional career information by con-
Advancement Prospects tacting the National Retail Federation (NRF). Depend-
Advancement prospects for Cashiers depend to a great ing on the place of the employment and the specific
extent on the individual’s career aspirations. Some peo- type of store, Cashiers may be members of unions.
ple take jobs as Cashiers while in school or on a part-
time basis to augment other incomes. These individuals Tips for Entry
usually move on to other types of jobs depending on 1. There is a great deal of turnover in these posi-
their training. Others interested in a full-time career tions. Stop in stores in which you are interested
in retail, may start out as Cashiers and move into sales in working and ask to fill out applications.
positions or cashier supervisors. 2. Openings may be posted in store windows. Look
for announcements stating “Cashier Wanted.”
Education and Training 3. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
Generally, Cashiers are trained on the job. Individu- of newspapers. Look under classifications such
als will learn how to run cash registers and use charge as “Cashiers,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Depart-
card systems. Most employers prefer people who have a ment Stores,” or “Grocery Stores.”
minimum of a high school diploma. 4. Remember to bring with you the names,
addresses, and phone numbers of a few people
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits you can use as references when filling out appli-
There are many entry-level positions available as cations. Make sure you ask people if you can use
Cashiers as well as those for experienced people. Indi- them as references BEFORE you use them.
viduals must have basic math skills with the ability 5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
to make change correctly. The ability to handle large jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
sums of money is mandatory. Good interpersonal and ment office.
customer relations skills are essential as is a pleasant

120 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


TAILOR—CLOTHING STORE,
DEPARTMENT STORE/BOUTIQUE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Alter clothing purchased in store to fit indi- Tailor at Larger, More Prestigious
vidual customers Store or Boutique or Supervisor
Alternate Title(s): Seamstress; Alteration Tailor of Alteration Workroom
Salary Range: $24,000 to $55,000+
Employment Prospects: Good Tailor
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
Tailor Apprentice
located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Training requirements
vary; see text
Experience and Qualifications—Experience in tai-
loring, dressmaking, sewing
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Fitting skills;
tailoring skills; alteration skills; hand-sewing skills;
machine-sewing skills; customer service skills;
pleasant; communication skills

Position Description For example, a woman may be purchasing a suit


Off-the-rack clothing often does not fit every body per- and need the skirt shortened and tapered, and the jack-
fectly. Sometimes parts of an article of clothing may et’s sleeves shortened. A man purchasing a suit may
be too big, too small, too long, too short, or too tight. need the pants hemmed and buttons moved on the
While there are some people who alter their own cloth- jacket. Individuals may need waistlines expanded or
ing and others who may use tailors off-site, many peo- narrowed, collars or shoulders raised or lowered, or
ple prefer their clothing to fit correctly when they take buttons changed.
it home from a store after a purchase. To handle this Sometimes alterations are simple. Often they may be
function, stores often employ Tailors. more complex. The Tailor must be capable of handling
An on-site Tailor is a customer service many cus- both. Some alterations are done using hand sewing.
tomers appreciate. Tailors are coveted employees. A tal- Others may be accomplished better by machines.
ented on-site Tailor can mean the difference between a Once the individuals try on the articles of cloth-
customer shopping at one store or shopping at another ing, the Tailor will mark the alterations needed with
with similar merchandise. Depending on the store, the tailor’s chalk and pins. He or she may need to remove
service may be offered for a fee or free of charge to cus- stitching from clothing by using a seam ripper or
tomers purchasing the store’s clothing. razor. In many instances, the individual will need to
The main function of Tailors employed by stores is cut excess fabric, make the alterations, and resew the
to alter clothing purchased at the store to fit the individ- garment making sure the drape, style, and proportions
ual customer. When a customer decides to purchase an are maintained.
item, he or she will either go to the Tailor’s office or the A good Tailor knows and uses correct pressing tech-
Tailor will go to the dressing room. He or she will then niques to finish his or her work. In this manner, the
have the customer try on the garment. The Tailor may garment will appear fresh and finished. In some cases,
be asked perform a variety of alterations depending on the Tailor may work with an apprentice, supervising his
what is needed and what the customer wants done. or her work.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 121


Customers may have an idea of what they want done Education and Training
or may ask the advice of the Tailor. Some people like Many Tailors are self-taught. Others have attended
things looser or tighter. The individual must be able classes, courses, and workshops or have gone through
to be communicate with customers so they know what certificate programs in tailoring from vocational-tech-
the customer is looking for in fit. It is essential that the nical schools. Some Tailors apprentice with experienced
customer be pleased when the garment is done. Tailors to learn the tricks of the trade. As a rule, if an
Other duties of on-site Tailors include: individual can prove he or she can handle the job skill-
fully, there are no education or training requirements.
•  Repairing defective garments
•  Repairing garments altered by people trying them on Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
•  Replacing buttons or zippers Tailors need experience handling a variety of altera-
•  Shortening or pressing drapes or other household tions. No retail store wants a Tailor coming in and ruin-
accessories sold in the store ing an article of clothing a customer has purchased.
•  Creating headpieces or accessories to go with clothing Tailors need a full working knowledge of hand- and
machine-sewing techniques. They must be experts at
Salaries tailoring, fitting techniques, and alterations. Customer
Salaries for Tailors can vary greatly. Full-time Tailors service skills and communications skills are essential.
may have annual earnings ranging from $24,000 to
$55,000 or more. Factors affecting earnings include Unions and Associations
the specific store size, prestige, and geographic loca- Those interested in learning more about careers as Tai-
tion in which the individual is working. Other vari- lors can obtain information from the National Retail
ables include the experience, responsibilities, and Federation (NRF).
talent of the Tailor. If the individual is in an area with
a shortage of Tailors, he or she can also command a Tips for Entry
higher salary. 1. Try to find an experienced Tailor with whom
In some stores, individuals may be paid a base sal- you can apprentice. This will give you the best
ary plus a commission on fees charged to customers for experience.
tailoring. 2. Jobs are often advertised in the classified sec-
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
Employment Prospects such as “Retail,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Tailor,”
Employment prospects are good for Tailors. The need or “Seamstress.”
for talented Tailors is greater than the number of quali- 3. Take as many classes, workshops, and seminars
fied people available to handle the jobs. Individuals as you can. Each one will give you the opportu-
may find employment throughout the country both full nity to learn a new technique.
time or part time. 4. Contact the human resources manager of depart-
Possible employment includes department stores, ment stores to find if you can fill out an employ-
specialty clothing stores, and boutiques for men and ment application. Ask that your application be
women. kept on file. Check back frequently.
5. Don’t forget to check out boutiques, men’s cloth-
Advancement Prospects ing stores, wedding boutiques, and specialty
Tailors generally climb the career ladder by locating stores for job possibilities.
similar positions at either larger, more exclusive, or 6. Look for help wanted signs in store windows.
more prestigious stores. Some Tailors advance their 7. Check out opportunities online. Many stores
careers by becoming supervisors of alteration work- put openings on their Web site. You might also
rooms in large stores. Still others strike out on their find openings on job sites such as those at www.
own. hotjobs.com or www.­monster.com

122 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


BILLING MANAGER—DEPARTMENT
OR SPECIALTY STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Oversee billing department; supervise billing Billing Manager in Larger


clerks; look into errors and discrepancies on cus- or More Prestigious Store
tomer bills; handle customer service
Alternate Title(s): Billing Supervisor Billing Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $47,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Entry Level or Bookkeeping
Advancement Prospects: Fair
or Accounting Clerk
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs
may be located throughout the country; areas host-
ing many large department stores will offer more
opportunities
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Aptitude for
Education and Training—Training requirements numbers; orderly; detail oriented; office skills; com-
vary puter skills; communication skills; good judgment;
Experience—Experience working in retail billing customer relations skills
office necessary

Position Description also utilize billing machines or special billing software


Depending on a store’s policies there are a number of to help prepare monthly statements. The individual
methods customers can use to pay for merchandise. may show employees how to run computer or billing
These include cash, checks, major credit cards, and machines as well as explain how to use the software
store charge cards among others. Stores that have their effectively.
own charge cards or allow customers to charge mer- The Billing Manager must make sure billing clerks
chandise usually employ a Billing Manager. fully understand everything about monthly statements.
When customers use store credit cards, they sign a This includes purchases, late charges, finance charges,
slip promising to pay for their purchases. Some stores and unpaid balances. It also includes customer dis-
may not utilize store credit cards for charges. Instead, counts and credits of payments previously made. In
customers may just sign charge slips when making a some stores there are special codes for each charge. The
purchase. Whatever the method of charges, the store Manager also must be sure the staff knows what each of
must keep track of customer purchases and monies these codes represents. This is essential when custom-
owed. ers call to complain about errors on a bill. Sometimes
The Billing Manager has a number of different there truly is an error. Other times, the customer may
responsibilities depending on the size and structure of not understand how to read the monthly statement.
the store and the setup of the billing department. His or The Billing Manager assists billing clerks when they
her main function is to oversee the billing department. can not fully explain statements to customers. He or she
The Billing Manager coordinates and supervises the is also called in when dealing with angry or irate cus-
activities of the other employees in the department. tomers. The Billing Manager often has the authority to
These may include an assistant billing manager or take off a late charge or a finance charge on a customer’s
supervisor, billing clerks, and sometimes credit clerks. bill. He or she is always trying to find ways to keep the
The Billing Manager trains each employee so he or customer satisfied.
she can accomplish assigned tasks. Today, most bill- The Billing Manager is responsible for setting the
ing statements are computer generated. Some stores tone for customer service in the billing department. It is

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 123


essential to a store’s success for everyone working there or at least have some college background. Other stores
to make a customer feel that he or she is appreciated. may hire individuals with a minimum of a high school
This is especially important in the billing department diploma if they have experience and can illustrate that
where customers usually call when there is a problem. they can handle the job effectively.
The Manager tries to teach the staff how to maintain a Courses in bookkeeping, accounting, computers,
good relationship with each customer. and accounting software are helpful.
In some stores, the Billing Manager may be expected
to supervise the monitoring of customers’ payments to Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
make sure they are updated. In other stores, this may be Billing Managers should like working with numbers.
handled by the collection department. The ability to solve problems is needed. Individuals
Other duties of the Billing Manager may include: should be organized and detail oriented. Customer ser-
vice skills and the ability to calm irate customers is
•  Writing letters and other correspondence regarding necessary. Supervisory and leadership skills are also
customers’ bills needed.
•  Answering customers’ questions regarding billings
•  Developing policies for the billing department Unions and Associations
•  Recommending salary increases for department Billing Managers interested in working in retail envi-
employees ronment may get additional career information by con-
•  Recommending termination of employees tacting the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Salaries Tips for Entry


Annual earnings for Billing Managers working in retail 1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
stores can range from approximately $26,000 to $47,000 of newspapers. Look under headings such as
or more. Variables affecting earnings include the geo- “Billing Manager,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Billing
graphic location, size, and prestige of the specific store Department,” “Billing Supervisor,” and “Depart-
as well as the experience, education, and responsibili- ment Store Opportunities.” Positions may also be
ties of the individual. located in the ads of specific stores.
2. Visit the human resources office of larger stores
Employment Prospects to fill out an application. In smaller stores, ask
Employment prospects are fair for Billing Managers. to see the manager. Ask that your application be
Individuals may find jobs in both larger department kept on file if there are no current openings.
stores and smaller local stores throughout the country. 3. Many larger chain stores have internship and
training programs. Contact the corporate offices
Advancement Prospects to find out about opportunities.
Billing Managers working in retail environments can 4. Department stores often promote from within.
climb the career ladder by landing similar jobs in larger Get your foot in the door in the billing depart-
or more prestigious stores. This results in increased ment, learn what you can, and climb the career
responsibilities and earnings. ladder.
5. Check out store Web sites. Many post openings
Education and Training on their site.
Educational requirements vary. Some stores require or
prefer their Billing Managers to hold a college degree

124 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


BILLING CLERK—DEPARTMENT
STORE OR SPECIALTY STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Produce bills used to settle customer accounts; Billing Supervisor or Manager
send bills to customers; correct errors on customer’s
bills Billing Clerk
Alternate Title(s): Billing Representative
Salary Range: $7.50 to $25.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Fair Entry Level or Bookkeeping
or Accounting Clerk
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs
may be located throughout the country; areas host-
ing many large department stores will offer more Experience—Billing or bookkeeping experience
opportunities preferred, but not always required
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Aptitude for
Education and Training—High school diploma or numbers; orderly; detail oriented; office skills; com-
equivalent; on-the-job training; additional training puter skills; communication skills; good judgment;
may be required customer relations skills

Position Description correct. In addition to charges for purchases, there may


Stores make money by selling merchandise to custom- be additional charges. These might include unpaid bal-
ers. Some customers pay for purchases using cash or ances, late charges, and finance charges. Discounts and
checks. Others pay with major credit cards. Many stores credits may also be added.
also have their own credit cards. Once bills are prepared, they are printed out. At this
Customers who use these store credit cards may point, the Billing Clerk often verifies them for accuracy.
The individual is then responsible for sending them to
receive special promotions or other considerations.
the customer.
When customers use store credit cards, the store keeps
Even if bills are computer generated and checked
track of purchases. They then send bills to customers.
for errors, there may be mistakes. When customers get
Depending on the store and its structure, bills might be
bills they feel are wrong, they often become angry or
sent monthly or bimonthly. irate and call the store to complain. The Billing Clerk
Billing Clerks work in the billing department. The is then responsible for checking the bill, trying to find
main function of these individuals is to produce the the errors, and preparing a corrected bill. It is essential
bills that are used to settle customers’ accounts. Bill- that the individual practice good customer service skills
ing Clerks take information regarding the customer’s when speaking to unhappy customers so they feel they
purchases and input it into a computer system. They are important to the store.
do this by reviewing charge slips to calculate the total Often the mistake is not a mistake at all. Instead, the
amount due from a customer. customer may be upset about a bill carrying a finance
Today, most bills are computer generated. Many charge he or she does not feel should be included. Per-
stores also utilize billing machines or special bill- haps the bill was held up in the mail or the customer
ing software to help Billing Clerks prepare monthly forgot to make a payment. Whatever the situation, the
statements. Clerk tries to maintain a good relationship with the
Billing Clerks must input information into the com- customer. He or she may, for example, take off the
puter or billing machine. The individual must be sure finance charge from a customer’s bill or may refer the
the customer’s name, address, and account number is individual to the billing manager.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 125


In some stores, the Billing Clerk may be expected to Education and Training
monitor customers’ payments to make sure they are up to Billing Clerks generally must hold a minimum of a
date. If they aren’t, the individual may be required to call high school diploma or the equivalent. Many larger
customers and issue a friendly reminder. In other stores, department stores may prefer a college background or
this may be handled by the collection department. some business courses, but don’t require it. Classes in
Many stores have codes for various categories on bookkeeping, accounting, computers, and accounting
bills. For example, there may be one code for charges in software are helpful.
the men’s department, another for charges in the chil- In some situations, the store will provide in-service
dren’s department, one for late charges, and yet another training in the use of software programs or specific bill-
for finance charges. The Billing Clerk must be familiar ing procedures used.
with the codes and have the ability to explain them to
customers. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Often customers may call the billing department Billing Clerks should have a strong aptitude for num-
because they don’t understand their bill. Billing Clerks bers. Individuals need to be careful, orderly, and detail
must be able to explain the bills to customers in an oriented. They should be comfortable using computers.
easy-to-understand manner. There is often a lot of customer contact in this job. The
Other duties of department store Billing Clerks may ability to deal well with people is essential. Customer
include: service skills are mandatory.

•  Printing out monthly billing and payment reports Unions and Associations
•  Writing letters and other correspondence regarding Billing Clerks interested in working in retail environ-
customers bills ment may get additional career information by con-
•  Answering customers’ questions regarding billings tacting the National Retail Federation (NRF). Those
working in department stores may belong to house
Salaries unions.
Earnings for Billing Clerks working in retail stores can
range from approximately $7.50 to $25.00 or more Tips for Entry
per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo- 1. Courses and workshops in billing, accounting,
graphic location, size, and prestige of the specific store and bookkeeping techniques as well as billing
as well as the experience and responsibilities of the software are helpful in making you more market-
individual. able.
One of the perks for individuals working in stores is 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
that individuals often receive employee discounts. of newspapers. Look under classifications such
as “Billing Clerk,” “Department Store,” “Billing
Employment Prospects Office,” and “Retail Opportunities.”
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seek- 3. Visit the human resources office of larger stores
ing this position. Jobs may be located in both larger to fill out an application. In smaller stores, ask
department stores and smaller local stores throughout to see the manager. Ask that your application be
the country. Depending on the size and structure of the kept on file if there are no current openings.
store, there may be one or more Billing Clerks on staff. 4. Remember to bring with you the names,
Individuals may work full or part time. addresses, and phone numbers of a few people
you can use as references when filling out appli-
Advancement Prospects cations. Make sure you ask people if you can use
Billing Clerks working in retail may advance their them as references BEFORE you use them.
career in a number of ways. After obtaining experience, 5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
individuals may take on additional duties or find simi- jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
lar positions in larger, more prestigious stores. Others ment office.
may be promoted to billing managers.

126 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


WINDOW DRESSER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Displaying merchandise in retail store windows Window Dresser in Larger,


in a visually pleasing manner More Prestigious Stores
Alternate Title(s): Window Designer
Salary Range: $25,000 to $58,000+ Window Dresser
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Assistant Window Dresser
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Large
metropolitan areas will offer the most opportunities
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Education and training
requirements vary; see text Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creative;
Experience—Experience designing windows and artistic; sense of color and style; good aesthetic
displays necessary judgment

Position Description products or items not sold by the store. The Window
People often wait with anticipation to see how well- Dresser may use prefabricated display items to augment
known stores are going to decorate their windows for the window or may be responsible for constructing
holiday seasons. Stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and items of various materials. These might include items
Bloomingdale’s in New York City, for example, may have made of fabric, glass, paper, plastic, or wood, among
lines of people waiting to see annual holiday displays. other things. Sometimes, the Dresser may use items
Display windows may showcase products sold in stores which have movement such as a moving mannequin to
as well as attract the attention of potential shoppers. create innovative and exciting windows.
Every time someone passes by a store’s display win- Window Dressers may also be responsible for devel-
dows, they are viewing the work of a Window Dresser. oping interesting displays within the store as well as
In some cases, the person who handles this function arranging showcases in a pleasing manner.
may have additional duties, and dress the store’s win- No matter what type of project the individual is
dows as part of his or her job. working on, he or she may be expected to develop
Window Dressers are responsible for developing and sketches ahead of time for approval by store manage-
designing store display windows. Depending on the ment. These may be done freehand or may be done
specific store, they might display clothing and acces- with the help of a computer.
sories, furniture, CD’s, books, computers, software, or Additional duties of Window Dressers might include:
food items.
In some cases, the Window Dresser is responsible •  Making changes in window displays as needed
for creating fantasy windows designed to attract atten- •  Dressing mannequins for use in window displays or
tion instead of just showcasing products sold. in displays in other parts of the store
In order to do their job, Window Dressers must •  Adding prices and descriptive signs on backdrops,
know what the store wants to spotlight. The store may fixtures, and merchandise
want certain products which are currently on sale high-
lighted in the window. Conversely, they might want to Salaries
showcase unique products the store sells. Earnings for Window Dressers range from approxi-
In order to put together aesthetically pleasing win- mately $25,000 to $58,000 or more. Factors affecting
dows, the Window Dresser must keep in mind the size, earnings include the size, location, and prestige of the
shape, and color of items used in the display. To make specific employer as well as the experience, expertise,
the window display exciting, the individual may utilize and talent of the individual.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 127


Employment Prospects while working in sales. Others worked as assistant Win-
While employment prospects for Window Dressers can dow Dressers prior to their current job.
be located throughout the country the greatest number Successful Window Dressers are creative and artis-
of opportunities will be located in large metropolitan tic. They have a good sense of color, balance, and style.
areas where there are more large retail stores. Smaller The ability to sketch, draw, and illustrate is helpful in
stores often have other employees handle the functions putting together design ideas for windows. Good aes-
of the Window Dresser. thetic judgment and an eye for detail are essential.
Window Dressers are used in a variety of types of
stores including department stores, gift shops, furni- Unions and Associations
ture stores, and clothing stores. Individuals may be Window Designers may get additional information
employed on staff or may freelance. from the National Association of Schools of Art and
Design (NASAD).
Advancement Prospects
Advancement prospects are difficult to determine. Tips for Entry
A great deal of advancement for Window Dressers is 1. Openings may be advertised in the newspaper’s
dependent on the talent, creativity, and aspirations of classified section under headings including,
the individual. The most common method of career “Window Dresser,” “Window Designer,” “Win-
advancement for Window Dressers is locating similar dow Design,” “Window Display,” or “Retail
positions in larger or more prestigious settings. Some Opportunities.”
Window Dressers strike out on their own. 2. Visit department stores and large retail outlets to
see if there are any openings in this area.
Education and Training 3. If you can’t find a position right away in a retail
Educational requirements for Window Dressers vary. outlet, check out design firms and interior design
Employers may require individuals to hold a college companies.
degree. Good majors include fine art, commercial art, 4. Take pictures of windows and displays you have
or design. Employers will often hire talented individu- worked on. Make sure you put together a portfo-
als who have proven themselves in this line of work lio of your best work.
without a college background. 5. Check for internships at design firms, interior
design firms, department stores, and large retail
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits outlets.
Some Window Dressers obtained experience putting
together store windows and showcases and displays

128 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


STOCK CLERK
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Receiving, unpacking, and checking in mer- Stock Clerk in Larger Store,
chandise; stocking shelves Stock Room Manager, or Salesperson
Alternate Title(s): Stock Control Clerk; Inventory
Clerk; Shipping Clerk; Receiving Clerk Stock Clerk
Salary Range: $7.00 to $8.50+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Good
Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—On-the-job training Special Skills and Personality Traits—Organized;
Experience—No experience required ability to lift cartons of various weights and sizes

Position Description Most stores have stock rooms where extra merchan-
Stock Clerks have a number of different responsi- dise is stored. Stock Clerks keep it organized until it is
bilities depending on the specific size and structure of ready for display. They may place merchandise in bins,
the store in which they are working. Their main func- on floors, or on shelves, as well as organize merchan-
tions are receiving, unpacking, storing, and tracking dise in an orderly fashion.
merchandise. In large stores, the Stock Clerk may be expected to
Stock Clerks check the merchandise as it comes into handle more specific tasks such as inventory, receiv-
the store. This is usually done in the stock room. They ing, or stocking shelves. In smaller stores, the individ-
might check the number of items and the descriptions ual will be expected to handle more general stocking
of each to be sure that they match packing slips. Indi- duties.
viduals might also be responsible for inspecting goods Additional duties of Stock Clerks might include:
for damage or spoilage.
Stock Clerks may be expected to track merchan- •  Unpacking cartons of merchandise
dise which has been received. They will keep records •  Repacking merchandise
of merchandise which enters the stock room as well •  Checking inventory for specific items
as merchandise that leaves. In many situations, Stock •  Handling the duties of a salesperson
Clerks will be responsible for scanning items into com-
puter systems so that the store knows what is in the Salaries
inventory. This makes it easier to locate merchandise Stock Clerks earn between $7.00 and $8.50 or more per
quickly and easily. hour. Variables affecting earnings include the size and
Stock Clerks sort, organize, and mark items with geographic location of the store and the experience and
codes which identify the merchandise. This may responsibilities of the individual.
include prices and stock or inventory control codes.
This is often done with hand-held scanners connected Employment Prospects
to computers. This is necessary to keep inventories in Openings for Stock Clerks can be found throughout the
stores up to date. country. The greatest number of openings are located
Stock Clerks bring merchandise to the sales floor in grocery stores and department stores. Large urban
and stock shelves and racks as needed. This may be areas hosting a great many shopping centers, groceries,
done during store hours or after hours. and warehouses will offer the most opportunities.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 129


Advancement Prospects Food and Commercial Workers International Union
This is an entry-level position. Advancement prospects or house unions. Individuals may also get additional
are based, to a great extent, on the individual’s career career information by contacting the National Retail
aspirations. Individuals may find similar positions at Federation (NRF).
larger stores resulting in increased responsibilities and
higher earnings. Others may climb the career ladder by Tips for Entry
becoming an inventory or stock room manager. Some 1. There is a great deal of turnover in these posi-
people move into sales positions. tions. Stop in stores and ask the manager if you
can fill out an application.
Education and Training 2. Remember to bring the names, addresses, and
Generally there is informal on-the-job training pro- phone numbers of a few people you can use as
vided by the employer. Most employers prefer to hire references when filling out applications. Make
those who hold a high school diploma or the equivalent sure you ask people if you can use them as refer-
or those who are still in school. However, there are ences BEFORE you use them.
many who will hire able people who are eager to work 3. Look in the classified section of newspapers
no matter what their educational background. under heading classifications such as “Retail,”
“Retail Opportunities,” “Stock Clerks,” “Inven-
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits tory Clerks,” “Department Stores,” or “Grocery
As noted previously, this is an entry-level position. As a Stores.”
rule, no prior experience is needed. Stock Clerks should 4. Many stores post job openings in windows. Visit
be organized people with stamina. Communications your local mall, department store, or grocery
skills are helpful as are computer skills. store to check out possibilities.
5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
Unions and Associations jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
Depending on the type of store in which the individual ment office.
works, Stock Clerks might be members of the United

130 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


TRAINER—RETAIL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Facilitate classes, seminars, workshops, and Training Manager


other training programs for store employees; pre-
pare training programs Trainer
Alternate Title(s): Facilitator
Salary Range: $25,000 to $60,000+
College Student or
Employment Prospects: Fair
Human Resources Associate
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
may be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Leadership
Education and Training—College degree preferred skills; communications skills; interpersonal skills;
Experience—Experience in training and workshop employee relations; writing skills; public-speaking
facilitation skills; creative; organized

Position Description Trainers may be responsible for developing and


Trainers working in a retail environment are respon- facilitating programs for employees in a variety of
sible for preparing and conducting training programs subjects depending on the needs of the employer. For
for the company’s employees. Depending on the situ- example, some stores may have Trainers conduct ses-
ation and the retail outlet, the individual may train sions for all new employees on providing excellent cus-
employees to perform specific jobs, customer service tomer service. Other Trainers may be expected to work
skills, selling techniques, or the use of products and with employees on handling specialized skills.
merchandise being sold. Some Trainers may develop and facilitate orienta-
Trainers may work under the direction of a human tion programs for new employees. During orientation,
resources director, training manager, or store man- employees will learn the policies of the retail outlet.
ager. They confer with management on training needs The orientation program may also explain to employ-
for the specific retail outlet. Once training needs are ees the way they are expected to act on the job and
identified, the individual must formulate an outline for responses to difficult situations that are acceptable as
training sessions. These must include content as well as well as unacceptable.
methods. Some Trainers use comedy in their presenta- No matter the type of retail outlet, good customer
tions. Others are more straightforward. The Trainer service can mean the difference between success and
will use the most effective methods to ensure employ- failure. It is therefore essential that each and every
ees understand the material and can put it to use. employee treat customers in a courteous and gracious
Trainers may present material in a variety of for- manner. An important function of Trainers is teaching
mats. They may facilitate workshops or seminars, or employees what good customer service is and how it
give demonstrations. Some Trainers set up meetings should be provided.
and conferences or give lectures to present material. In Trainers may offer classes for management in learning
some situations, Trainers also may work with employ- how to communicate with their employees. Other sub-
ees on a one-on-one basis. jects covered in this type of class may include acceptable
Trainers may prepare handouts, overheads, slides, methods for disciplining employees and how to speak to
or PowerPoint presentations to help employees absorb subordinates without coming across abruptly. The indi-
and understand needed skills. They may be expected to vidual may also develop classes for employees dealing
develop booklets or other training materials. with and avoiding sexual harassment in the workplace.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 131


Trainers may also be expected to provide classes diploma and experience in training, human resources,
specific to certain jobs such as cashiers, salespeople, or the retail industry.
customer service, or call center representatives. Individuals training employees in a special skill such
Other duties of the Trainers may include: as selling computers may be hired whatever their edu-
cational background as long as they have the ability to
•  Training employees in teamwork skills train people with easy to understand, effective methods.
•  Facilitating programs to teach department directors,
managers, and supervisors methods of conducting Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
training within their department Experience requirements vary. Generally experience
•  Teaching department directors, managers, and super- in training and development is required or preferred.
visors proper procedures for interview techniques Additional experience in retailing also may be needed.
and handling employment reviews Some employers will hire individuals out of college who
have gone through internship programs.
Salaries Good Trainers have the ability to motivate others.
Annual earnings for Trainers working in retail envi- They know how to explain things so they are easy to
ronments can range from approximately $25,000 to understand and remember.
$60,000 or more. Factors affecting earnings include the Individuals should have excellent people and
geographic location, size, type, and prestige of the spe- employee-relations skills. They must also have both
cific store. Other factors include the education, experi- good verbal and written communications skills. The
ence, and responsibilities of the individual. ability to speak effectively in front of people is essential
to this position.
Employment Prospects
Employment prospects are fair for Trainers work- Unions and Associations
ing in retail environments. Individuals may find Those interested in learning more about careers in this
employment in either the local or corporate office of field should contact the American Society of Train-
department stores, chains, or specialty stores. Other ing Developers (ASTD) and the Society for Human
opportunities exist for Trainers in call centers or cata- Resources Management (SHRM).
log houses.
It should be noted that not every retail outlet Tips for Entry
employs a Trainer. In many instances, a training man- 1. Become either an active or affiliate member of
ager, human resources director, or even the store man- the American Society of Training Developers
ager may handle training functions. (ASTD). This may give you the edge over another
applicant with the same qualifications.
Advancement Prospects 2. If you have the opportunity, go to some of the
Trainers working in retail environments may advance ASTD seminars and workshops. These are valu-
their careers in a number of ways. Some locate similar able for the learning opportunity as well as net-
positions in larger or more prestigious stores. Others working possibilities.
climb the career ladder by becoming training manag- 3. Openings are often advertised on the Internet.
ers. Still others may strike out on their own and become They may be located via the home pages of
corporate training consultants. department stores, chains, specialty stores, call
centers, and catalogs.
Education and Training 4. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
Educational requirements vary from employer to tions of newspapers. Look under classifications
employer. Most require or prefer individuals to hold a such as “Trainer,” “Training and Development,”
minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Good majors for those “Retail Opportunities,” or “Human Resources.”
interested in this field might include human resources, 5. You may be asked to conduct an impromptu
communications, retail, business, public relations, mar- training presentation as part of your interview
keting, liberal arts, or a related field. There are also process. Develop a sample program ahead of
stores which may accept individuals with a high school time and rehearse before the interview.

132 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


PROMOTIONS MANAGER—
RETAIL STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop, create, and implement promotions for Director of Marketing,


retail store to attract shoppers and create advertising Public Relations, or Advertising
tie-ins
Alternate Title(s): Promotions Director Promotions Manager
Salary Range: $27,000 to $55,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Publicity or Promotion Assistant
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree pre- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
ferred detail oriented; imagination; innovation; communi-
Experience—Experience in promotions, advertis- cations skills; knowledge of retail industry
ing, marketing special events, publicity, or public
relations preferred

Position Description Promotions Managers might also use sweepstakes


Many retail stores utilize a variety of promotions in which customers need only put their name, address,
throughout the year to attract customers. The pro- and phone number in a drop box to win prizes. Other
grams are designed to keep customers who have already promotions may encompass special sales, discount cou-
shopped at the store as well as to bring in new ones. pons, or percentage scratch-off cards. Some promo-
Retail stores generally plan promotions well in tions are simple; others are more innovative and novel.
advance. Generally, the Promotions Manager must pre- Whichever type they are, they must have the potential
pare an annual calendar of promotions. In this way the of bringing more customers in to the store.
advertising and marketing department will be able to Promotions are often the result of brainstorming
adequately advertise and publicize the promotions. efforts of the Promotions Manager in conjunction with
Depending on the specific situation, Promotions others in the promotions, marketing, public relations,
Managers often plan the special sales stores have special events, and advertisement departments. The
throughout the year. These may include, for example, Promotions Manager may develop promotional tie-ins.
seasonal sales such as January white sales, February These may include copromotions with manufacturers
president’s birthday sales, “Spring Into Summer” sales, of products sold in the store.
“July 4th blowouts,” back to school sales, and Christ- The individual handling promotions for a chain
mas sales. of gourmet food products may run chain-wide recipe
Some promotions might utilize contests or sweep- contests using food items sold in the stores. After the
stakes. For example, stores might mail out keys to contest has ended, the promotion may include having
customers on their mailing list. The keys need to be a tasting of the winning recipes in the store as well as a
brought in to the store be tried to see if they open a cookbook giveaway with the top recipe entries included.
treasure chest full of money or prizes. Another promo- This type of promotion not only brings people into the
tion might advertise that every customer who visits the store, but makes a lasting impression.
store can pick a key out of a receptacle and try to see if it The Promotions Manager works with the commu-
starts a car. The customer whose key starts the car wins nity relations department developing promotions that
the automobile. help attract attention to the store as well as helping

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 133


the community. The individual may, for example, put bachelor’s degree. Good majors include communica-
together programs such as the sponsorship of not-for- tions, public relations, marketing, advertising, business,
profit events or make donations in the store’s name to journalism, retail management, English, liberal arts, or
worthwhile causes. related fields. In some situations, work experience may
These promotions are used to help keep the store’s be accepted in lieu of education.
name in the public eye. They are used for advertising as Seminars and workshops in promotions, public rela-
well as public relations and goodwill purposes. tions, marketing, publicity, and advertising are helpful.
The Promotions Manager is expected to develop a
basic plan for promotions and their implementation. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Depending on the structure of the company, this may Promotions Managers are required to have experience
be given to the director of marketing, advertising, or in promotions, publicity, marketing, public relations,
public relations for approval. and advertising. This is often obtained through posi-
Other duties of the Promotions Manager working tions as assistants in publicity, promotion, public rela-
for a retail store or chain may include: tions, marketing, or advertising. Any experience in
retail is also useful.
•  Preparing a budget for promotions Promotions Managers should be creative, detail-ori-
•  Working with the advertising department creating ented, organized individuals. The ability to work on a
promotional ads and direct mail advertising pieces variety of projects at one time without becoming flus-
•  Developing marketing materials, including ads and tered is essential.
brochures Communications skills, both written and verbal,
•  Developing promotions for the store’s Web site are mandatory, as is an understanding of the retail
industry.
Salaries
Earnings for Promotions Managers working in retail Unions and Associations
stores or chains can range from approximately $27,000 Promotions Managers working in retail may be mem-
to $55,000 or more. Factors affecting earnings include bers of a number of associations and organizations pro-
the specific retail store or chain for which the indi- viding professional support and educational guidance.
vidual works as well as its size, prestige, and location. These might include the Public Relations Society of
Other variables include the education, experience, and America (PRSA), the International Council of Shop-
responsibilities of the individual. ping Centers (ICSC), the National Retail Merchants
Association (NRMA) or the National Retail Federation
Employment Prospects (NRF).
Employment prospects are fair for Promotions Manag-
ers. Individuals may find employment in the corporate Tips for Entry
offices as well as local stores of a variety of chains and 1. Contact the International Council of Shopping
other retail outlets. These might include drug stores, Centers, the Public Relations Society of America
department stores, supermarkets, clothing stores, furni- and other organizations to see when and where
ture stores, or toy stores. they hold seminars or workshops in mall promo-
While jobs may be located throughout the country, tion and special events.
individuals may need to relocate for specific positions. 2. Positions may be located in the newspaper help
wanted section. The Sunday classified section is
Advancement Prospects usually the largest of the week. Look under head-
Advancement prospects are fair for Promotions Manag- ings such as “Promotions,” “Promotion Manager,”
ers working in retail situations. Individuals may climb “Retail,” “Retail Opportunities,” or “Marketing.”
the career ladder by landing similar jobs in larger or 3. Jobs may be advertised on retail store and chain
more prestigious stores or chains. After obtaining expe- Web sites.
rience, they might also be promoted to the director of 4. Openings may also be listed or advertised in
either marketing, advertising, or public relations. trade publications.
5. Look for an internship or a position as a promo-
Education and Training tions assistant in a retail store or chain. These
While there are exceptions, most retail chains and stores will give you great experience and get your foot
require Promotions Managers to hold a minimum of a in the door.

134 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ART DIRECTOR—RETAIL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop, design, and create advertisements for Art Director in Larger, More Prestigious
retail stores and outlets; design and create advertis- Store or Art Director in Other Industry
ing sales flyers, posters, show cards, and promo-
tional materials Art Director
Alternate Title(s): Advertising Art Director; Retail Art
Director
Graphic Artist
Salary Range: $25,000 to $60,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions Experience—Experience working in advertising
may be located throughout the country or art department in any industry helpful, but not
Prerequisites: always required
Education and Training—Four-year degree in Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
fine arts or commercial art required for some posi- artistic ability; understanding of retail advertising
tions; others may not have any specific educational industry; knowledge of graphics, layout, paste-ups,
requirements photography, and typography

Position Description parers, and copywriters, or may work with outside or


The Art Director working in a retail outlet may work freelance people. He or she is still usually responsible
in a number of different job situations. He or she may for developing the advertising concepts and designing
work for small or large department stores, supermar- the ads.
kets, regional retail chains, or national retail chains. The Art Director often designs the store posters and
The Art Director might also work for a cataloger. flyers used for advertising weekly specials and sales.
This is a retail business that may or may not have an He or she also designs and creates advertising show
actual store but sells its products or services through cards and counter signs. These are the cards or pieces
catalogs. Art Directors may also work for on-line seen on the countertops or windows or hanging from
catalogs. the ceiling advertising new products, price breaks, and
The individual’s responsibilities vary depending on sales specials. As these cards change frequently, the
the size and structure of the retail outlet. The Art Direc- individual usually letters them by hand with markers,
tor in the retail world may also be expected to perform paint, or ink or electronically prints them with the use
the functions of an advertising director. In some stores of a computer or other printing mechanism.
he or she is also referred to as the Advertising Art The Art Director designs promotional material for
Director. the retail store. Depending on the size and structure of
In a small retail store the Art Director may be the the outlet, he or she may just do the designing or may
only person in the art department. He or she may per- be responsible for the development, writing the promo-
form the tasks of a sketch and graphic artist, layout tional copy, or creating the artwork.
and mechanical person, or letterer. The owners of the Much of the artwork and advertising for large retail
store may offer their suggestions. The individual is then chains may be done by an advertising agency. How-
responsible for developing, creating, and in some cases ever, the stores often put out local advertisements and
actually placing the ads. The advertising Art Director catalogs. The Art Director may provide the layout and
may also be in charge of choosing the media in which all graphics for these advertisements, sale flyers, and
to advertise. catalogs.
In larger retail situations, the Art Director may When creating advertisements, posters, flyers, show
supervise a staff of artists, layout and mechanical pre- cards, and counter signs, the Art Director must make

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 135


sure that everything used in advertising and promoting four-year college degree in fine arts or commercial art.
the store will retain a unified identity and image. This Courses or seminars in advertising are a plus.
means that while every ad may be advertising a differ- Smaller retail stores may or may not require a col-
ent weekly special, each must look somewhat like the lege degree. Certain stores may accept an applicant
others. Logos must remain the same and be in a similar with art school training or even a self-taught indi-
position on each ad. The store name must always look vidual who can demonstrate that he or she possesses
the same. In this way, when customers read and see the the required skills.
ads and promotional materials they will automatically
think of the store. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Additional duties of the Art Director may include: Art Directors working in the advertising department
of retail stores need a thorough understanding of
•  Working with outside printers the concepts of retail advertising and art. Individuals
•  Negotiating prices or getting bids for printing of large must be very creative and artistic to come up with
quantities of flyers and advertising sales pieces concepts for advertisements as well as to design them
•  Performing functions of copywriter and bring the ads to fruition. Individuals must be
able to sketch, draw, paste up, lay out, put together
Salaries mechanicals, and choose type. A great deal of this is
Earnings for the Art Director of the advertising depart- done by computer today.
ment working in retail stores can vary greatly depend- A portfolio or “book” made up of the individuals
ing on the job. The range may begin around $25,000 best work is usually necessary in order to show samples
and go up to $60,000 or more. and illustrate skills.
Generally, individuals with little experience or those
working in smaller stores will earn less than their coun- Unions and Associations
terparts with more experience in larger, more presti- Art Directors working in the advertising depart-
gious stores and retail outlets. ment in a retail setting do not usually belong to any
bargaining union. They may, however, belong to a
Employment Prospects number of trade associations which offer professional
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking guidance, education, and information. These might
this position. Jobs may be located throughout the coun- include the American Advertising Federation (AAF),
try. More and more retail stores are following the cur- the Art Director Club, Inc. (ADC), the One Club,
rent trend toward in-house advertising departments. the Society of Illustrators (SOI), the Graphic Artists
As noted previously, individuals might find employ- Guild (GAG) and the American Institute of Graphic
ment in a variety of settings including large department Arts (AIGA).
stores, supermarkets, regional retail chains, national
retail chains, catalogs, or on-line catalogs and E-tailing Tips for Entry
Web sites. 1. Start working on your portfolio now. A good
portfolio can give you an edge over other appli-
Advancement Prospects cants. In many instances, it can take the place of
Prospects for career advancement for Art Directors educational requirements. Make sure your port-
working in the retail industry are fair. Individuals have folio includes some work relevant to the retail
a number of different options for moving up the career advertising field even if you have to do samples.
ladder. The most common is to become the Art Direc- 2. Join trade associations. Many have student
tor for a larger, more prestigious store. An individual memberships. Others offer critique sessions on
might advance his or her other career by becoming improving your portfolio. All of them will help
the advertising or art director in a large corporation, you make important contacts.
depending on his or her qualifications. The individual 3. Many retail chain stores offer internships and
might also locate a position as an Art Director in an training programs. Contact the company head-
advertising agency. quarters or ask the manager in your local store
of the chain about whom to contact to get more
Education and Training information.
Most employers in large retail stores, department stores, 4. Obtain experience working in a newspaper adver-
or chains will usually require an applicant to have a tising department. In addition to gaining experi-

136 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


ence you will make contact with local advertisers sification headings of “Retail,” “Art Director,” or
who might have a job opening down the line. “Advertising.”
5. Positions are often advertised in the classified 6. Other positions may be located on career Web
sections of the newspaper. Look under the clas- sites or specific store sites.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 137


GRAPHIC ARTIST—RETAIL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop, design, and create graphics for adver- Art Director
tisements for retail stores and outlets; design and
create graphics for advertising sales flyers, post- Graphic Artist
ers, show cards, and promotional materials; design
graphics for catalogs
Graphic Artist in Other Industry
Alternate Title(s): Graphic Designer; Artist
or Student
Salary Range: $23,000 to $48,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions Experience—Art and advertising experience help-
may be located throughout the country ful but not always required
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
Education and Training—Four-year degree in artistic ability; understanding of retail advertising
fine arts or commercial art required for some posi- industry; knowledge of graphics, layout, paste-ups,
tions; others may not have any specific educational mechanicals, typography, color, and photography;
requirements drawing and illustration skills

Position Description When designing advertising and promotional pieces,


Every retail advertisement in a magazine, store flyer, logos, and packaging, the Graphic Artist generally tries
or catalog has usually been worked on by one or more to keep the image of the company prominently identi-
Graphic Artists. These individuals, who may also be fied. The individual must keep the design of the prod-
referred to as graphic designers or artists, are the ones uct names, graphics, and logos closely tied together so
who help make advertisements and other promotional that customers will relate the design to the company.
pieces look visually attractive. In this way, customers who see the logo or name on
Graphic Artists working in retail settings may have anything will be able to identify the store, product, or
a number of responsibilities depending on their spe- brand easily.
cific job situation. Their main function is to design Part of the job of the Graphic Artist may be choos-
the graphics for the retail outlet’s promotional mate- ing the kind and size of type to use in advertisements
rial. In larger retail stores, individuals may work under and other promotional material. He or she must choose
the direction of the store’s art director. In smaller typefaces as well as background colors.
stores where there is a one-person art department, the The Graphic Artist must develop a layout for ads,
Graphic Artist may also act as the art director. Stores flyers, or other promotional material. He or she also
may employ one or more Graphic Artists depending on must design the graphics. Sometimes, Graphic Artists
their size and structure. utilize photos. In other situations, the individual may
Graphic Artists might develop and design the graph- draw, sketch, or use computer-generated graphics.
ics for the retail store’s advertisements. It is up to the Graphic Artists often design and create advertising
Graphic Designer to develop graphics that are creative, show cards and counter signs. These are the cards or
innovative, appealing, and memorable. pieces seen on the countertops or windows or hang-
Graphic Artists may design a retail catalog. Oth- ing from the ceiling advertising new products, price
ers may design weekly sales flyers, counter cards, dis- breaks, and sales specials. As these cards change fre-
play signs, or store signs. Depending on the situation, quently, the individual usually letters them by hand
Graphic Artists might come up with store logos, designs with markers, paint, or ink or electronically prints
for bags and other packaging, and virtually all printed them with the use of a computer or other printing
promotional material. mechanism.

138     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Additional duties of a Graphic Artist may include: to develop eye-catching ads or promotional material
as well as to design them and bring them to fruition.
•  Designing the graphics and layout for on-line retailers Graphic Artists must be able to sketch, draw, paste up,
•  Designing the graphics for other on-line sites lay out, put together mechanics, and choose type. A
•  Performing the functions of a copywriter great deal of this is done by computer today. Therefore,
computer skills and the ability to use appropriate soft-
Salaries ware programs are mandatory.
Earnings for Graphic Artists working in retail can range A portfolio or “book” made up of the individual’s
from approximately $23,000 to $48,000 or more. Factors best work is usually necessary in order to show samples
affecting earnings include the size, type, prestige, and and illustrate skills.
geographic location of the specific retail company for
which the individual works. Other variables include the Unions and Associations
talent, responsibilities, and experience of the individual. Graphic Artists working in the advertising department
in a retail setting may belong to a number of trade asso-
Employment Prospects ciations which offer professional guidance, education,
Employment prospects are good for Graphic Artists and information. These might include the American
seeking employment in the retail industry. Jobs may Advertising Federation (AAF), the Art Director Club,
be located throughout the country. More and more Inc. (ADC), the One Club, the Society of Illustrators
retail stores are following the current trend toward in- (SOI), the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) and the Ameri-
house advertising departments. Individuals might find can Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).
employment in a variety of settings including large
department stores, supermarkets, regional retail chains, Tips for Entry
national retail chains, traditional paper catalogs, and 1. Your portfolio can help you get a job. Start work-
catalogs on the Internet. ing on it now. A good portfolio can give you an
edge over other applicants. In many instances, it
Advancement Prospects can take the place of educational requirements.
Advancement prospects for Graphic Artists are depen- Make sure your portfolio includes some work
dent to a great extent on the talent of the individual as relevant to the retail advertising field even if you
well as his or her career aspirations. Some Graphic Art- have to do samples.
ists climb the career ladder by finding similar positions 2. Join trade associations. Many have student
in larger or more prestigious retail companies resulting memberships. Others offer critique sessions on
in increased responsibilities and earnings. Other indi- improving your portfolio. All of them will help
viduals land jobs as art directors. you make important contacts.
3. Many retail chain stores offer internships and
Education and Training training programs. Contact the company head-
Experience requirements vary for Graphic Artists in quarters or ask the manager in your local chain
the retail industry. Many employers require or prefer store about whom to contact to get more infor-
an applicant to have a four-year college degree in fine mation.
arts or commercial art, or an art school background. 4. Positions are often advertised in the classified
However, a good portfolio demonstrating the individ- sections of the newspaper. Look under classifica-
ual possesses the required skills can often land a job in tion headings such as “Retail,” “Graphic Artist,”
lieu of education. Courses or seminars in advertising “Artist,” “Graphic Designer,” or “Advertising.”
are a plus. 5. Other positions may be located on career Web
sites or specific store sites.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits 6. Obtain experience working in a newspaper
Graphic Artists should be very artistic individuals with advertising department. In addition to gaining
a thorough understanding of the concepts of retail experience you will make contact with stores
advertising and art. Creativity is essential in order who might have a job opening in the future.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 139


PERSONAL SHOPPER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Working one-on-one with customers; select- Personal Shopper in More Exclusive
ing clothing, accessories, and other merchandise for Store, Personal Shopper with More
customers Clients, Director of Personal Shoppers,
Alternate Title(s): None or Buyer
Salary Range: $25,000 to $75,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair Personal Shopper
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
Salesperson
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Training requirements
vary; see text
Experience—Experience working in retail sales
Special Skills and Personality Traits—A good
sense of style; taste; love of shopping; enthusiastic;
articulate; good judgment; people skills

Position Description Shoppers and merchandise to the homes or offices of


Many stores have found that providing extra services customers to make it easier for the individual to shop.
increases customer loyalty, thus increasing sales and Depending on the store, Personal Shoppers may deal
profit. These services can encompass a variety of areas exclusively in one area such as clothing and accessories
such as free gift wrapping, delivery of merchandise, or with all the store’s merchandise. The shopper must be
or tailoring. Personal Shoppers are another of those not only familiar with the store’s merchandise, but must
services. know where it is located so he or she can find it quickly,
Formerly only the most exclusive stores employed so he or she can offer better advice to customers.
Personal Shoppers. Today, the service is becom- The Personal Shopper determines what the cus-
ing much more prevalent. Generally, the services of tomer or client wants, and often has consultations with
Personal Shoppers are free to the customer. The store customers to learn their likes, dislikes, needs, and price
makes its money by selling the items that the Personal range, as well as their sizes and lifestyles. Armed with
Shopper has selected for the customer. the information, the Personal Shopper goes through the
While some people love shopping, others find it store choosing items to bring back to the customer.
stressful. Additionally, with many people’s busy life- The shopper brings back a variety of sizes and styles
styles today, some just don’t have the time to “shop till for the customer to try on, and often advises the client
they drop.” on how a garment or outfit looks. If the customer finds
Personal Shoppers have a number of responsibilities something he or she likes, they may buy it. If not, the Per-
depending on the structure of their department. Their sonal Shopper will look for something else. It is essential
main functions are offering customers individualized that the individual never make the customer feel obligated
help and attention, and to make shopping a better and to buy something he or she doesn’t like or want.
easier experience. A major function of many Personal Shoppers is help-
Personal shopping services vary from store to store. ing customers select gifts. Shoppers may, for example,
In many stores, the customers call the Personal Shopper often help select gifts for customers’ business associates,
to make an appointment. In others, customers may see family, or friends. One of the perks for customers is they
the service advertised and visit the Personal Shopper at only need give the Personal Shopper a list of people for
his or her office in the store. Some stores send Personal whom they require gifts, a description of the recipients

140     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


likes and dislikes or hobbies, and a price range. The Education and Training
individual can then choose a selection of possibilities Education and training requirements vary from posi-
for customer approval. In many instances the Personal tion to position because of the newness of this job.
Shopper performs yet another set of services to save the Generally, most stores require individuals to hold a
customer time, such as gift wrapping, enclosing cards, minimum of a high school diploma or the equivalent.
and delivering or mailing the gifts. Many prefer a college background or degree.
Most Personal Shoppers keep detailed information Good choices for majors for those aspiring to
on steady customers including sizes, styles, fabrics and become Personal Shoppers include retailing, merchan-
color preferences, previously purchased items, birth- dising, or fashion. Seminars, workshops, and courses in
days, and anniversaries. They also may keep similar fashion, color, accessorizing, merchandizing, and retail-
information on the customer’s business associates, ing are helpful.
friends, and family.
Other duties of Personal Shoppers may include: Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Personal Shoppers usually have worked in retail sales
•  Helping customers coordinate outfits and accessories prior to garnering their positions. A background in
•  Helping customers coordinate home items retailing, merchandising, or fashion is needed.
•  Keeping abreast of new merchandise in the store Successful Personal Shoppers are pleasant people
•  Calling steady customers when new merchandise who enjoy working with and helping others. They have
they might be interested in comes in panache and a sense of style when selecting clothing,
accessories, gifts, or anything else. Customer service
Salaries skills are essential. Communications skills are manda-
Earnings for Personal Shoppers range from approxi- tory.
mately $25,000 to $75,000 or more. Variables affecting
earnings include the size, type, prestige, and geographic Unions and Associations
location of the store in which the individual works as Individuals may obtain information about a career in
well as the individual’s experience, duties, and reputa- this field by contacting the National Retail Merchants
tion in the field. Association (NRMA) and the American Collegiate
Personal Shoppers may be compensated in a num- Retailing Association (ACRA).
ber of different ways. Some may be paid a straight sal-
ary. Others may be paid a salary plus a commission on Tips for Entry
sales. 1. Look for an internship with a Personal Shopper
in a department store or boutique.
Employment Prospects 2. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sec-
Employment prospects for Personal Shoppers are get- tions of newspapers. Look under headings such
ting better every day. While this is a relatively new type as “Personal Shopper,” “Retail Opportunities,”
of job, it is expanding quickly. Both male and female “Fashion Sales,” “Salespeople,” “Department
Personal Shoppers are in demand in a variety of retail Stores,” or “Boutiques.”
establishments including department stores, boutiques, 3. Sometimes jobs may not be advertised. You may
clothing stores, specialty shops, and gift shops. have to create your own position. If you are cur-
rently working in a store that does not yet offer
Advancement Prospects personal shopping services, suggest the idea to
Personal Shoppers may climb the career ladder in a store management making sure you ask to be
number of ways. Some individuals advance their careers interviewed for the newly created position.
by locating similar positions in larger or more presti- 4. If you aren’t working for the specific store you
gious stores resulting in increased responsibility and think might be open to this type of position,
earnings. Others acquire supervisory positions. These write a letter to the store manager or owner ask-
might include becoming the director of the personal ing for an appointment to discuss the possibility.
shopper department, a manager of a different depart- Make sure to include your resume.
ment or in some cases, the store manager. 5. Be sure to dress the part. You need to look stylish
Some individuals become department buyers. Still and well coordinated for this type of job.
others strike out on their own with personal shopping
services.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 141


SPECIAL EVENTS
DIRECTOR—RETAIL STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and implement special events and pro- Public Relations Director
motions for retail store or Marketing Director
Alternate Title(s): Special Events Manager
Salary Range: $25,000 to $50,000+ Special Events Director
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may Special Events Assistant
be located throughout the country or Public Relations Assistant
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree
Experience—Experience in special events, publicity,
or public relations preferred
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
detail oriented; imagination; innovation; communi-
cations skills

Position Description various food samples are put out for tasting; “Cooking
Retail stores often have special events and promotions. with the Chefs,” where chefs illustrate how to prepare
One of the most well-known special events sponsored dishes using products from the store; or a “Singles Meet
by a retail store is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. and Greet,” in the grocery aisles.
Whether small or large, special events and promo- Clothing stores may put together fashion shows on
tions in retail have a purpose. Some may be designed to or off site, spotlighting the store’s clothing or a “Make-
attract new customers. Others may enhance the image over Day” for customers. A furniture store might hold
of the store as well as make it more visible. The Special an indoor picnic to bring people into the store or might
Events Director formulates the special events in a retail bring in an interior designer for the day to help custom-
store. He or she generally works in the store’s marketing ers learn how to decorate their home. Bookstores fre-
or public relations department. In some stores, the pub- quently bring in authors for book signings, workshops,
lic relations director or marketing director handles the and discussion groups. Department stores might do
special events functions. anything from having art exhibits to holding a concert
The Special Events Director must devise innova- in their parking lot or hosting a wedding in the public
tive ideas and then take them from inception through area of the store.
fruition. This must be done within a budget and a time Some stores, like Macy’s, sponsor events offsite. This
frame. helps the store in a number of ways. It helps build better
The Special Events Director often works with store public relations and good community relations. Off-site
owners, management, public relations, and marketing events may also obtain publicity and promotion for the
staff to develop ideas. Special events will, of course, store and bring their name to the public in a different
depend on the store. Depending on the situation and manner than advertising can.
budget, events may be small or large and simple or The Special Events Director may be responsible for
complex. Some events may be industry specific and implementing a certain number of events annually. For
some may not. example, he or she may be expected to develop an event
For example, groceries and specialty food stores every week or every month. In other situations, the Spe-
might hold events such as “Sampling Saturdays,” where cial Events Director may be notified by the store’s upper

142     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


management when they want events developed. The Salaries
individual must determine general information about Annual earnings for Special Events Directors working
the program. This may include things such as the time in a retail environment can range from approximately
frame, proposed budget, and general purpose. $25,000 to $50,000 or more. Factors affecting earnings
The goal of the Special Events Director is to develop include the specific retail store as well as its size, pres-
an appropriate event with a novel, workable idea. The tige, and location. Other variables include the educa-
individual will brainstorm with other members of the tion, experience, and responsibilities of the individual.
store’s management team or members of the public rela-
tions, marketing, advertising, or promotions depart- Employment Prospects
ment. The Special Events Director is then responsible Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking
for working out the details and writing a basic plan this position. Jobs can be located in many retail stores
for the event. This includes devising a budget for the throughout the country. As noted, every store does not
project. have a Special Events Director. In some, the public rela-
After receiving approval, the Special Events Director tions or marketing director or even the store manager
moves forward and puts the idea into action. He or she may be responsible for these functions.
often works with one or more assistants to help with the
project. Advancement Prospects
Depending on the specific event the individual Advancement prospects are, to a great extent, depen-
may be expected to locate people and items necessary dent on the career aspirations of the individual. Some
to make the event a success. The Director may need find similar positions in larger or more prestigious
to hire entertainers, talent, caterers, or customers. He retail stores. Others move into handling special events
or she may need to locate chairs, stages, promotional for other industries.
items, or other important items. Every detail of the Many Special Event Directors also climb the career
entire event becomes the responsibility of the Special ladder by acquiring positions as directors of marketing
Events Director. or public relations.
Depending on the specific store and its structure,
the Special Events Director may be responsible for pre- Education and Training
paring press releases and other publicity on the upcom- Individuals seeking positions in special events coor-
ing event as well as post-publicity on portions of the dination should generally have a college degree. Good
programs that have already occurred. The Director may majors include communications, public relations, Eng-
also be expected to call the media and arrange inter- lish, liberal arts, advertising, business, journalism, or
views, articles, feature stories, or photo opportunities. retail management.
In other situations, the public relations department will Seminars and workshops in special events, promo-
handle these functions. tions, public relations, publicity, and advertising are
Some Special Events Directors are responsible for helpful.
developing events for an entire chain of stores. This
might occur when individuals work in the corporate Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
department of chain stores. The Special Events Director Experience working in special events, publicity, pro-
in this circumstance must develop events that will work motion, or retail management is usually required for a
in multiple stores. An Easter egg hunt or the arrival of position like this. Many Special Events Directors were
Santa Claus, for example, are universal events. In this special events assistants or coordinators prior to their
case, the Special Events Director is often expected to appointment.
oversee staff in other locations. Individuals should be creative and innovative with
Other duties of the Special Events Director working a good imagination. Excellent communications skills
in a retail environment may include: are necessary. An understanding of the retail industry
is needed.
•  Developing special events for employees Special Events Directors should be detail oriented.
•  Devising budgets for special events The ability to deal well under stress is essential.
•  Functioning as a public relations person
•  Developing and placing advertisements for events Unions and Associations
•  Supervising staff Special Events Directors working in retail might be
•  Being present at events associated with number of associations and organiza-

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 143


tions providing professional support and educational is usually the largest of the week. Look under
guidance. These might include the Public Relations headings such as “Special Events,” “Special Event
Society of America (PRSA), Business/Professional Director,” “Retail Opportunities,” “Public Rela-
Advertising Association (B/PAA), and the National tions,” “Marketing,” or “Promotion.”
Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) or the National 3. Job openings may also be listed in trade publica-
Retail Federation (NRF). tions.
4. Contact large stores to see if they offer intern-
Tips for Entry ships in this area.
1. Send a short cover letter and your resume to the 5. Jobs may also be located on-line. Start by check-
corporate office of department or chain stores as ing out some of the more popular sites such as
well as specialty stores. www.hotjobs.com.
2. Positions may be located in the newspaper help
wanted section. The Sunday classified section

144 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


MYSTERY SHOPPER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Shop in stores; determine if stores and employ- Mystery Shopper for Larger
ees are up to company standards; write reports on or More Prestigious Store
findings
Alternate Title(s): Secret Shopper Mystery Shopper
Salary Range: $7.50 to $25,000+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Good
Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more opportunities Experience—Experience usually not required
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Self-
Education and Training—Educational require- ­confidence; discretion communication skills;
ments vary; see text organization

Position Description greet customers, how they react and treat customers
The hope of retail establishments is that customers vis- and if they are courteous. The Mystery Shopper may
iting their stores will have a pleasant shopping experi- be responsible for checking to see if store policies and
ence. It’s difficult, however, to know how customers are customer service standards are met, or how different
really treated when the top managers aren’t around. In problems are handled.
order to find out how customers are treated by employ- The Mystery Shopper might additionally be asked
ees when they don’t think anyone is watching, stores to check whether the store is clean and well stocked,
often hire Mystery Shoppers. rest rooms are clean, and aisles are wide enough. Most
These individuals, also known as Secret Shoppers, of this information is important to make sure store
provide store owners and upper management with a customer service standards are met. Other information
typical consumer’s view of shopping in their establish- may be needed to assure safety requirements are met.
ment. In this manner, management can improve cus- After shopping and observing, the Mystery Shopper
tomer service and alleviate problems which may exist. is expected to file a report of findings. Depending on
Mystery shopping is a great opportunity for indi- the situation, the individual may write a general report
viduals who love to shop. As an added bonus, they get or just be expected to fill out forms supplied by the
paid for it. Mystery Shoppers can be male or female employer.
in virtually every age category from older high school Additional duties of Mystery Shoppers might
students to senior citizens. Generally, jobs in this field include:
are part time. However, there are some full-time posi-
tions available. •  Offering suggestions to employers regarding employ-
What does a Mystery Shopper do? He or she may ees
have varied duties depending on the specific job. Mys- •  Tabulating information collected while shopping
tery Shoppers are given assignments by their employer. •  Visiting the selling floor to assure products are dis-
For example, individuals may be asked to go to specific played properly
stores and be given a list of merchandise to purchase. •  Visiting the store with specific issues (such as returns)
The employer either gives the individual money for the to see how they are handled by employees
purchases or reimburses him or her afterward.
While “shopping,” the Mystery Shopper may be Salaries
asked to check various situations within the store. These Salaries of Mystery Shoppers vary depending on the
might include checking to see if and how employees specific type of employment. Individuals working full

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 145


time for a company specializing in mystery shopping Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
might have annual salaries ranging from $23,000 to An important trait for the Mystery Shopper is the abil-
$35,000 or more. Mystery Shoppers working on a part- ity to “look the part.” Individuals for the most part must
time basis might earn between $7.50 and $20.00 or look like “normal” shoppers in the specific store they’re
more per hour. Additionally, some Mystery Shoppers visiting. In some cases, however, Mystery Shoppers may
get to keep their purchases. be sent out to see how different groups are treated. For
example, a store may want to see how employees treat
Employment Prospects senior citizen or minority shoppers.
Employment prospects for Mystery Shoppers interested Mystery Shoppers need good communications skills.
in working on a part-time basis are good. Prospects for The ability to be discreet is essential. A Mystery Shop-
full-time employment are much more limited. per has no value to a company when everyone knows
Individuals might find employment shopping in a what he or she is doing in the store.
variety of retail establishments including large depart-
ment stores, chain stores, groceries, auto parts stores, Unions and Associations
cosmetic stores, drug stores, pharmacies, boutiques, or Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field
gift shops. Some Mystery Shoppers might even shop might also obtain additional information from the
for cars. As noted previously, Mystery Shoppers might Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA), the
work in other industries in addition to retail. Individu- National Retail Federation (NRF) and the American
als might be Mystery Shoppers in the hospitality indus- Collegiate Retailing Association (ACRA).
try, restaurants, hotels, travel, banking, insurance, or
healthcare. Tips for Entry
Some Mystery Shoppers work for mystery shopping 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classi-
companies. Others work for stores, chains, or retail fied section under headings including “Mystery
establishments themselves. Shopper,” or “Secret Shopper.”
2. Contact large chains and department stores to
Advancement Prospects see who in the organization you might contact
Advancement prospects for Mystery Shoppers are fair. regarding a position in this area. Sometimes
The most common method of advancement in this type it’s human resources. Other times it might be
of job is by obtaining better assignments resulting in another department.
increased earnings. Some individuals may strike out on 3. Jobs can often be located on-line. Look at some
their own and open mystery shopping companies. This, of the major sites such as www.hotjobs.com.
however, is not common. 4. Look for companies that specialize in mystery
shopping. You might find them advertised in
Education and Training trade journals or via their own Web sites.
There are no specific educational requirements for
Mystery Shoppers. Those working for companies spe-
cializing in mystery shopping may be provided with
in-service training programs.

146 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


PRODUCT DEMONSTRATOR
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Demonstrate merchandise and products to Product Demonstrator for More


customers; answer customers’ questions regarding Prestigious Products or in More
products Prestigious Stores
Alternate Title(s): Product Demonstrator; Sales Dem-
onstrator Product Demonstrator
Salary Range: $7.00 to $15.00+ or more per hour
Employment Prospects: Good
Entry Level or Sales Position
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more possibilities
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Commu-
Education and Training—Educational require- nications skills; pleasant personality; enthusiastic;
ments vary; see text people skills
Experience—Experience requirements vary

Position Description Some demonstrators, such as those working in the


Many stores have found that when products and mer- cosmetics area of department stores, may also double
chandise are demonstrated they sell better. They there- as salespeople. Their function is to demonstrate mer-
fore utilize the services of individuals called Product chandise and products to customers in stores and other
Demonstrators. outlets and to create an atmosphere conducive to sales.
Demonstrators may work directly for stores or for In some situations, demonstrators may not only show
manufacturers or other companies. Responsibilities dif- new products to customers but record customer reactions
fer depending on the specific employer and products, as well. For example, did the customers like the new flavor
but their main function is to promote sales. of soda or did they dump half-filled cups into the trash?
Individuals might demonstrate virtually any prod- The demonstrator often is expected to write reports on
uct, including but not limited to, food, cosmetics, appli- consumer reactions to the products being demonstrated.
ances, or housewares. Additional duties of demonstrators might include:
An individual demonstrating a new ice cream prod-
uct in a supermarket might scoop out various flavors •  Giving out coupons for products being demon-
and give samples and coupons to customers. If he or strated
she is promoting a new kind of frozen pizza, he or she •  Performing functions of sales associate
might bake it in a portable toaster, cut it into bite-size •  Taking payments from customers for purchases
pieces, arrange them on plates and give out samples. •  Writing orders
Individuals demonstrating cookware might prepare
various foods in the cookware in front of customers. Salaries
During this process, the individual may answer ques- Earnings for demonstrators are dependent on a number
tions and illustrate the benefits of the new product. of factors. These include the specific work situation and
Demonstrators working in the cosmetics department the type of product being demonstrated as well as the
of a store might show individuals how to use the cos- actual responsibilities, education, and experience of the
metics the store sells. Often, the demonstrator utilizes individual.
the store’s makeup to do a makeover on customers. Some demonstrators earn $7.00 an hour. Others
Individuals may be responsible for developing a earn $15.00 or more per hour. Some Demonstrators
mini sales pitch or may be given one. may also receive a commission on products sold.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 147


Employment Prospects Demonstrators should be well-groomed individuals.
Employment prospects for demonstrators are good. An enthusiastic, pleasant personality is helpful in this
Individuals may find openings at a variety of retail out- type of position. Good verbal communications skills
lets, department stores, specialty shops, and supermar- are also necessary, as is the ability to repeat the same
kets throughout the country. sales pitch over and over.
Some demonstrators work directly for specific com-
panies and manufacturers demonstrating their prod- Unions and Associations
ucts in various retail outlets. Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field
might also obtain additional information from the
Advancement Prospects National Retail Federation (NRF), the American Col-
Advancement prospects for demonstrators are depen- legiate Retailing Association (ACRA), the American
dent to a great extent on an individuals specific career Marketing Association (AMA) and the Direct Selling
aspiration. Some individuals find more prestigious Association (DSA).
stores to work in or better products to demonstrate.
Others strike out on their own selling products via Tips for Entry
home parties. 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classi-
fied section under headings including “Retail,”
Education and Training “Retail Opportunities,” “Demonstrator,” “Prod-
Educational requirements vary for demonstrators. uct Demonstrator,” “Cosmetics Demonstrator,”
Some employers prefer individuals have at least some “Food Demonstrator,” or “Housewares Demon-
college background if not a college degree. Others will strator.”
hire individuals who have a high school diploma. 2. Send your resume and a short cover letter to
Once hired, employers often provide either formal department stores, supermarkets, and other retail
or informal training programs. Individuals who are outlets.
demonstrating specialized products may need more 3. You might also send your resume to the human
specialized training. resources directors of companies whose products
you might be interested in demonstrating.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits 4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
Experience requirements, like education, vary from department stores to see whom you might con-
employer to employer. In many situations this is an tact in their local stores.
entry-level position. Some employers, however, prefer 5. Get your foot in the door with a sales position. It
or require experienced employees. might give you an edge over another applicant.

148 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


COMPARISON SHOPPER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Visit competitors’ stores; compare prices; com- Assistant Buyer


pare merchandise; gather other information valu- or Merchandising Assistant
able to employer; write reports on findings
Alternate Title(s): None Comparison Shopper
Salary Range: $21,000 to $26,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Entry Level, Sales
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country; large cities will
offer more possibilities
Prerequisites: Experience—Experience usually not required
Education and Training—Educational require- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Communi-
ments vary; see text cation skills; discretion; organization

Position Description a large loss of sales. Knowing what other stores have can
It is to the advantage of store owners and management give a store a tremendous edge. This information is also
to know as much as possible about what other similar useful to help stores determine buying policies.
stores are doing in their business. To accomplish this, In many situations the Comparison Shopper actu-
many stores employ Comparison Shoppers who help ally buys the merchandise. It is then used to check not
stores get the edge over their competitors by gather- only price, but to compare quality. Individuals may visit
ing important information. This information will vary more than one competitive store to gather information.
depending on the specific store. Once back at the office, the Comparison Shopper
Comparison Shoppers visit competing types of prepares reports of his or her findings. Depending on
stores. They must do this in a discreet manner, fitting the situation, the individual may write a general report
in with other customers. Individuals may have varied
or just be expected to fill out forms supplied by the
responsibilities depending on the job.
employer. This is an extremely important part of the
The Comparison Shopper may be given a list of
job. This information is used by the employer to make
items to view in competing stores. He or she may be
asked to check the prices of the merchandise. This better, more informed decisions on buying, pricing, and
information is useful in helping the store become com- merchandising.
petitive in setting its prices. The individual may also Additional duties of Comparison Shoppers might
be asked to compare the packaging of items to help the include:
store set prices and package design.
The Comparison Shopper may be expected to check •  Checking that merchandise, price, and sales dates are
into policies of other stores. For example, he or she may accurately described in advertisement copy
purchase merchandise to see how the competitive store •  Checking to be sure merchandise advertised at a spe-
deals with returns. The individual might be asked to cific price by a competitor is available for customer
observe the number of cashiers or salespeople a store purchase
utilizes, the type of customer service they provide, or •  Comparing packaging of similar items in competitive
specific store policies they enforce. stores
Comparison Shoppers are often responsible for
checking the types of merchandise sold in competing Salaries
stores. If a competing store has the new toy, a new fash- Salaries of Comparison Shoppers working full time can
ion, or fad and the other store does not, it can represent range from approximately $21,000 to $26,000 or more

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 149


depending on a number of variables. These include individuals have some type of prior retail experience,
the size, type, prestige, and geographic location of the such as sales.
specific store. Other factors include the responsibilities, The ability to be discreet is essential. Comparison
education, and experience of the individual. Shoppers should be well groomed with the ability to
Comparison Shoppers working on a part-time basis “look the part.” They should be able to walk into a store
can earn between $7.00 and $12.00 or more per hour. without attracting undue attention. They don’t want to
look like they’re comparison shopping. Instead, they
Employment Prospects want to appear that they are “normal” shoppers in the
Employment prospects for Comparison Shoppers are specific store they’re visiting.
fair and getting better every day. As more stores want Comparison Shoppers should be pleasant people
the edge over their competitors, they will begin employ- with good verbal and written communication skills.
ing people in these positions.
Individuals might find employment in a variety of Unions and Associations
retail establishments including large department stores, Individuals interested in pursuing a career in this field
chain stores, groceries, cosmetics stores, drug stores, might also obtain additional information from the
pharmacies, or gift shops. National Retail Federation (NRF), the American Colle-
giate Retailing Association (ACRA) and the American
Advancement Prospects Marketing Association (AMA).
Advancement prospects for Comparison Shoppers are
dependent on the individual’s career aspirations. With Tips for Entry
additional experience, training, or education individu- 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper classi-
als might move into positions as assistant buyers, mer- fied section under headings including “Retail,”
chandising assistants, or sales representatives. “Retail Opportunities,” and “Comparison Shop-
per.”
Education and Training 2. Consider sending your resume and a short cover
Educational requirements vary for Comparison Shop- letter to department stores, supermarkets, and
pers. Some employers prefer individuals have at least other retail outlets which might hire Comparison
some college background if not a college degree. Shoppers.
Others will hire individuals who have a high school 3. You might also visit the human resources depart-
diploma. Good majors for those in college are market- ment of retail stores and groceries. Remember to
ing, merchandising, retailing, and liberal arts. Once dress appropriately when stopping by the human
hired, stores often provide either formal or informal resources department as well as during any inter-
training programs. views.
4. Contact the corporate offices of large chains and
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits department stores to see whom you might con-
Experience requirements vary from employer to tact in their local stores.
employer. Many stores have no experience require- 5. Get your foot in the door with a sales position. It
ments for this position. Others may prefer or require might give you an edge over another applicant.

150 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


STORE MANAGER—
GROCERY/SUPERMARKET
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Handle day-to-day management of supermar- Store Manager for Larger Store or
ket; oversee staffing needs of supermarket; deal with Super Store, or Area Manager
customer service issues; make sure store is in com-
pliance with health and safety regulations Store Manager
Alternate Title(s): Supermarket Manager; Grocery
Store Manager
Assistant Store Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $55,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country Special Skills and Personality Traits—Problem
Prerequisites: solving skills; negotiation skills; communications
Education and Training—Training requirements skills; ability to deal well with people, management
vary; see text skills; administrative skills
Experience—Experience in supermarket manage-
ment

Position Description reasons. It is the responsibility of the Store Manager to


Grocery stores have changed over the years. Today, while make sure all of these are adhered to.
there are still small corner groceries, most of us are more The Store Manager is responsible for staffing the
familiar with the large supermarkets, chains, and super- store. If the store is new and just opening or if there are
centers. These might encompass not only traditional gro- many job openings, the Store Manager may schedule a
ceries, but ready-made convenience food, pharmacies, job fair to attract large numbers of potential employees.
bakeries, and more. The person in charge of overseeing He or she may also write and place help wanted adver-
the entire facility is known as the Store Manager. tisements in the newspaper or other media. The man-
The manager handles the day-to-day management ager will work with assistant managers in interviewing
of the entire store. Since he or she has many varied staff including department managers, customer ser-
duties, the Store Manager generally has one or more vice people, cashiers, baggers, and office staff. In some
assistant managers who help fulfill them. instances, the department managers will be responsible
The Store Manager must be familiar with all the for interviewing employees for their department and
departments in the store. He or she is ultimately respon- making recommendations to the Store Manager.
sible for all their activities, and must be sure the facility The manager is also responsible for making sure
is kept clean, safe, and well-stocked. employees are trained. He or she may accomplish this
As food spoilage can lead to illness and lawsuits, with the help of the assistant and department managers.
it is essential the Store Manager be sure that all food Supermarkets which are part of large chains usually
sold in the store is fresh. He or she may work with the have promotions such as loyalty programs, discount
various department managers to accomplish this task. coupons, weekly flyers, and ads to attract and retain
Dates on merchandise such as dairy products, meats, or customers. These are handled by the corporate office.
baked goods must be checked and expired food must be The manager must only make sure the specials and
pulled off the shelves on a regular basis. items advertised in fliers are on the shelves. In non-
There are an array of laws, rules, and regulations chain supermarkets, the manager may be responsible
which must be followed for health, legal, and safety for developing these promotions or handling the store’s

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 151


advertising. The manager also may be expected to ana- is for individuals to locate similar jobs in larger stores
lyze other data as well to help determine what direction or the new superstores. Another way Store Managers
the store might take to increase profits. climb the career ladder is by being promoted to posi-
Customer service is an important function of the tions such as area managers.
Store Manager. A good Store Manager can make a big
problem with a customer seem small. A Manager who Education and Training
is not customer service oriented can do just the oppo- Educational and training requirements vary from store
site. Whether it’s offering a customer a more expensive to store. Generally larger stores and chains require their
product when the one on sale isn’t available, calling a Managers to go through formal training programs
company to find out about a recalled product, or open- which include both classroom and in-store training.
ing up another checkout line so people don’t have to Some supermarkets will hire individuals who have no
wait, customer service is essential. formal training, but have worked their way up obtain-
The manager will usually be the one called when ing on-the-job training along the way.
a customer has a problem no one else can or wants to Educational backgrounds of supermarket Store
handle. He or she is responsible for dealing with emer- Managers vary too. While stores may not require indi-
gencies, crises, and any problems which crop up dur-
viduals to hold anything above a high school diploma,
ing the day in the store. He or she is expected to write
they may prefer managers with college backgrounds or
reports for accidents or other incidents such as when
degrees. Good majors include business, management,
employees or customers are hurt within the store or in
marketing, retailing, communications, advertising, lib-
the parking lot.
The manager is responsible for overseeing all mon- eral arts, or related fields.
ies in the store. He or she may go over reports of the
day’s receipts as well as weekly and monthly reports. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
The individual may also be responsible for depositing Store Managers working in groceries and supermar-
the days receipts in the bank or may accompany an kets need a great deal of experience. Most have gone
assistant manager or other employee in this task. through the ranks either starting out at the bottom and
Additional duties of Store Managers in supermar- moving up or going through a management program.
kets and groceries might include: Store Managers may have been department manag-
ers and then assistant store managers prior to their
•  Terminating employees appointment. The manager must have a knowledge of
•  Recommending raises and promotions for employees management principles as well as a total understanding
•  Handling loss prevention of the retail grocery industry.
•  Representing the store at community events Leadership skills, self-confidence, and decisiveness
•  Handling crises are essential. The ability to deal with and work well
with people is mandatory. Individuals need to be good
Salaries problem solvers who are energetic, detail oriented, and
Earnings for Store Managers working in supermar-
highly motivated. Communication skills, both written
kets range from $26,000 to $55,000 or more. Variables
and verbal, are necessary as well.
affecting earnings include the size, prestige, and geo-
graphic location of the supermarket. Other variables
Unions and Associations
include the experience, responsibilities, and education
Supermarket Store Managers may get additional career
of the individual.
information by contacting the Food Marketing Insti-
Employment Prospects tute (FMI), the National Retail Merchants Association
Employment prospects are good for supermarket Store (NRMA), and the American Collegiate Retailing Asso-
Managers. Positions are located throughout the coun- ciation (ACRA).
try. Individuals may, however, have to relocate for a
specific job. Tips for Entry
1. Many larger supermarkets and chain stores offer
Advancement Prospects management training programs. Contact the
The most common method of career advancement for headquarters of these stores to find out about
Store Managers working in supermarkets or groceries requirements.

152 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


2. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec- 5. Contact recruiters and executive search firms
tions of newspapers. Look under classifications specializing in management positions in super-
including “Store Manager,” “Supermarket Oppor- markets.
tunities,” “Grocery Stores,” “Super Centers,” 6. Send your résumé and a short cover letter to the
“Store Management,” “Store Manager-Food,” or corporate offices of supermarkets as well as to
“Management Opportunities.” the local store.
3. Openings are also advertised in trade journals. 7. As noted, you need experience in this position to
4. Jobs in this field may be located on-line. Begin your move up. Get your foot in the door, get experi-
search on some of the more popular job search ence, and learn everything you can.
sites such as the Monster board (www.monster.
com) and Yahoo! HotJobs (www.hotjobs.com).

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 153


WRAPPER/BAGGER—
GROCERY STORE/SUPERMARKET
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Wrap merchandise for customers; put mer- Cashier


chandise in bags or other packaging for customers;
transport customers’ purchases to their car
Wrapper/Bagger
Alternate Title(s): Bagger
Salary Range: $7.00 to $8.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Excellent Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Excellent
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Ability to
Education and Training—On-the-job training stand for extended periods of time; pleasant disposi-
Experience—No experience required tion; customer service skills

Position Description ual might package frozen goods and other cold items
Everyone needs groceries. Whether people do huge together. This may help to keep them either frozen or
weekly shopping trips or just run into the store for a cold until customers get their groceries home as well as
few items for dinner, Wrappers and Baggers make the making it easier to put them away.
whole process go quicker. Today, many grocery stores are superstores or super-
Wrappers, who are also referred to as Baggers, are centers. These stores sell groceries as well as a variety
the individuals responsible for packaging the merchan- of other merchandise. In these cases, the Wrapper/Bag-
dise customers purchase. As cashiers operate the cash ger may be responsible for packaging items other than
register, scanning prices or ringing up purchases, they those sold in traditional groceries.
pass the merchandise to a Wrapper or Bagger. In many After bagging the groceries and other merchandise,
stores the cashier puts the merchandise on a moving individuals are expected to put the bags into the cus-
belt as it is rung up. The Bagger then takes the mer- tomers’ shopping carts.
chandise and packs it for the customer. The individual Additional duties of Wrappers and Baggers may
may ask the customer if he or she prefers paper bags, include:
plastic bags, or even boxes. The Bagger/Wrapper may
use double bags if items are heavy. •  Carrying customers’ packages to their car
The Bagger/Wrapper must be sure to package items •  Checking prices for cashiers
carefully. He or she is expected to put heavier items on •  Putting merchandise which customers do not want to
the bottom of bags and lighter or more fragile items on purchase back on shelves
top. The individual must make sure that bags are not •  Collecting shopping carts from parking lot
too heavy for customers to carry. He or she must also be
sure bags are not so heavy they break when customers Salaries
lift them out of their cart. Earnings for Baggers and Wrappers working in gro-
The Wrapper/Bagger may put items such as eggs cery stores, supermarkets, or other retail establishments
and lightbulbs in separate bags so they don’t break can range from approximately $7.00 to $8.00 or more
when boxes of laundry detergent or six-packs of soda per hour. Variables affecting earnings include the geo-
roll on them. He or she may also put small items such as graphic location and size of the store as well as the
gum, candy, or batteries in separate bags. The individ- demand for workers in the specific area.

154     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Employment Prospects Unions and Associations
Employment prospects are excellent for Baggers and Wrappers and Baggers may be members of the United
Wrappers. Individuals may find work throughout the Food and Commercial Workers International Union
country. or house unions. Individuals may get additional career
One of the selling points for many people seeking information by contacting the National Retail Federa-
this job is the flexibility of working hours. Individuals tion (NRF).
may work full time, part time, mornings, afternoons,
evenings, weekdays, weekends, or holidays. Tips for Entry
1. There is a great deal of turnover in these posi-
Advancement Prospects tions. Stop in stores where you are interested in
Advancement prospects for Wrappers and Baggers are working and ask to fill out applications. Ask that
dependent to a great extent on the individual’s aspira- your application be kept on file if there are no
tions. Some people take jobs as Baggers and Wrappers current openings.
while in school, as a first job, or on a part-time basis to 2. Remember to bring with you the names,
augment other incomes. These individuals can move on addresses, and phone numbers of a few people
to other types of jobs depending on their training. Oth- you can use as references when filling in applica-
ers may start out as Wrappers and Baggers and move tions. Make sure you ask people if you can use
into jobs as cashiers. them as references BEFORE you use them.
3. Jobs may be posted in store windows. Look
Education and Training for announcements stating “Baggers/Wrappers
Baggers and Wrappers are trained on the job. Individu- Wanted.”
als will learn how to put items into bags so groceries 4. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
don’t get crushed and bags are not too heavy for cus- of newspapers. Look under classifications such as
tomers to carry. “Baggers,” “Wrappers,” “Supermarket Opportuni-
ties,” “Retail Opportunities,” or “Grocery Stores.”
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits 5. Stores often call local labor offices to post these
Jobs for Wrappers and Baggers are usually entry level jobs. Remember to stop by your state employ-
and don’t require any previous experience. Individuals ment office.
should be able to stand on their feet for long periods of
time. Good interpersonal and customer relations skills
are essential as is a pleasant personality.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 155


SALES MANAGER—AUTO SALES
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Manage sales activities for automotive deal- Sales Manager in Larger,
ership; assist salespeople; recruit and hire sales More Prestigious Dealership
staff, train salespeople; motivate salespeople; or Dealership General Manager
close deals
Alternate Title(s): Auto Sales Manager Sales Manager
Salary Range: $50,000 to $200,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Salesperson
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Management
Education and Training—Educational require- skills; administrative skills; motivation; selling skills;
ments vary; see text negotiating skills; interpersonal skills; communica-
Experience—Experience in auto sales tions skills; ability to work well with numbers

Position Description The individual will also train salespeople on selling


Auto dealerships generally have a number of salespeople techniques utilizing policies of the dealership. The Sales
to help customers when buying cars. The Sales Manager Manager may provide training for the sales staff on a
holds an important job. He or she is responsible for one-to-one basis or may be expected to develop formal
leading the dealership’s team of salespeople. group training programs.
A good Sales Manager can mean the difference Another important function of the Sales Manager
between success and mediocrity for both the dealership is motivating the sales staff. Selling cars is not always
and its salespeople. The individual oversees the sales easy. Every customer who walks in does not make a
floor, and develops policies for managing it. purchase. Most customers like to comparison shop. It
For example, the Sales Manager must determine is essential for all salespersons to remain upbeat and
how walk-ins are assigned to salespeople. (Walk-ins motivated. The Sales Manager needs to be effective in
are customers who visit the dealership without being this task or he or she may lose salespeople.
referred to a specific salesperson.) The Sales Manager When a customer comes in to purchase a car he or
also must determine how customers calling the dealer- she may be indecisive. The Sales Manager often assists
ship not asking for a specific person are assigned to salespeople in closing deals or clinching the sale. He
salespeople. or she may explain the various options for obtaining a
Part of the job of the Sales Manager is recruiting vehicle such as leasing, purchasing, and financing.
and hiring the sales staff. The individual may develop The Sales Manager must be a good negotiator. There
and place help wanted ads in print or broadcast media. is a great deal of negotiation in this type of job and it
He or she may interview potential sales people. The must be done in a polite and friendly manner to keep
Sales Manager may also set the work schedules for the the customer.
sales staff. While salespeople have some leeway in pricing vehi-
One of the most important functions of a good Sales cles, the Sales Manager has a great deal more. He or
Manager is training the sales staff. The Sales Manager she usually has a great deal more experience in closing
must make sure each salesperson knows as much as deals and may be more successful.
possible about each vehicle in order to sell it effectively. Other duties of car Sales Managers may include:
He or she may hold regular meetings to inform the
sales staff about new cars, new options, and how vehicle •  Answering customers’ questions regarding the deal-
features work. ership

156     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


•  Handling paperwork Education and Training
•  Tracking weekly, monthly, and annual sales reports While some dealerships may prefer applicants who have
•  Ordering needed vehicles college backgrounds or degrees, most don’t require it.
•  Arranging for financing Depending on the specific agency, individuals may
•  Developing and setting up sales training programs be required to go through formal training programs
•  Performing the duties of a salesperson or may go through less formal training or on-the-job
training.
Salaries Any seminars, courses, or workshops in sales or
Earnings for Sales Managers working in auto sales can motivation can be useful.
range from approximately $50,000 to $200,000 or more.
Factors affecting earnings include the specific dealer- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
ship, size, location, and type of vehicles being sold. Prior to becoming Sales Managers, individuals usually
Sales Managers may be compensated in a number of have had a great deal of experience as auto salespeople.
ways. These include either a straight salary, a low salary There are a lot of traits which make a good Automobile
plus a high commission, or a higher salary and a lower Sales Manager. Successful Sales Managers are reliable
commission. Commissions may be paid on vehicles and loyal to their company, their salespeople, and their
sold by the dealership. customers. Like salespeople, they must be good listen-
Earnings are dependent to a great extent on the ers, and have great selling and negotiating skills. The
aggressiveness, motivation, and sales ability of the indi- ability to motivate a sales staff is essential. Interpersonal
vidual. Earnings are also dependent on the type of vehi- and organizational skills are also necessary.
cles sold. The more expensive the cars, the higher the
commission paid. Unions and Associations
Depending on the specific job, one of the perks that Those interested in learning more about careers in this
Automobile Sales Managers may receive in this line field should contact the National Automobile Dealers
of work are demo cars to drive. Individuals also may Association (NADA).
receive liberal fringe benefit packages.
Tips for Entry
Employment Prospects 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper clas-
Employment prospects are good for individuals pur- sified section under headings including “Auto,”
suing a career in this field. Every dealership is on the “Auto Sales,” “Car Sales,” “Truck Sales,” or “Sales
lookout for good Sales Managers who can motivate Manager—Auto.”
their sales staff. Jobs may be located throughout the 2. Stop in to see auto dealers for which you might
country. be interested in working. Ask to speak to the
general manager.
Advancement Prospects 3. Many auto dealerships have Web sites listing job
Sales Managers working in auto sales may advance their openings.
career in a number of ways. Individuals may climb the 4. Look for and take training programs, seminars,
career ladder by locating similar positions in larger and workshops in selling and motivation.
or more prestigious dealerships. This would result in 5. You might also look for books and listen to tapes
increased responsibilities and earnings. Others may be in these areas.
promoted to the position of dealership general manager.

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 157


CAR SALESPERSON
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Help customer determine which vehicle best Car Salesperson in Larger
suits individual’s needs; accompany customer for or More Prestigious Dealership
test drives; provide customer with price of car or Sales Manager
Alternate Title(s): Automobile Salesperson; Car Sales-
man; Car Saleswoman; Auto Sales Consultant; Sales- Car Salesperson
man; Saleswoman; Sales Associate
Salary Range: $28,000 to $125,000+
Salesperson in Other Industry
Employment Prospects: Excellent
or Entry Level
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Sales skills;
Education and Training—Educational require- negotiation skills; interpersonal skills; communica-
ments vary tions skills; ability to work well with numbers; per-
Experience—Experience requirements vary suasive; driver’s license

Position Description suade customers to take a test drive, since customers


Other than a home, the largest retail purchase many who begin to take possession of a vehicle in their mind
people make is their vehicle. The individual who sells by driving it are more likely to make a purchase.
these is called a Car Salesperson. He or she may also The salesperson explains why his or her dealership
be referred to as a car salesman, car saleswoman, auto is better than others and outlines the perks of buying
salesperson, or sales consultant, among other titles. from that particular dealer. These may include free
A Car Salesperson works for a car dealership. (In loaner cars when the customer’s car is being serviced,
the context of this job, the word car will encompass all discounted service rates for customers, and convenient
vehicles including automobiles, trucks, SUVs, etc.) He service hours.
or she may work for a dealership selling new vehicles, Throughout this process, the customer can be
used vehicles, or a combination of both. expected to come back to the same question. How
The Car Salesperson is expected to greet potential much will the car cost? The salesperson must make
customers when they walk into the dealership, and the customer feel as if he or she is getting the best
ascertain the type of vehicle in which the customer possible price. Depending on the structure of the deal-
is interested. The salesperson determines the options ership, the salesperson gives the customer a price or
that are important to the customer. Does the customer obtains a price from the sales manager. The price,
want an automatic transmission or standard? A sedan of course, depends on the specific car and whether
or two door? A luxury or an economy model? Does the customer is buying outright, leasing, financing, or
the customer plan on buying the car outright? How trading in another vehicle. At times, the salesperson
about financing? What about leasing? The salesper- may have the customer talk to the sales manager to
son sprinkles small talk into the conversation to put clinch the deal. He or she might additionally bring the
the customer at ease while gathering information. The customer to see the finance manager who can explain
more information the salesperson obtains, the better payment or lease terms.
the opportunity to sell a car to a customer. The salesperson must be a good negotiator, and must
Salespeople encourage the customer to look at the be able to negotiate in a polite and friendly manner.
car, and may bring the customer out to the car lot to There are many dealers and options for people to
show the various cars available. Salespeople also per- select from when buying or leasing a vehicle. Some

158     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


dealerships now offer “no haggle” pricing. Others may Employment Prospects
have prices set by Internet buying services. In these Employment prospects for Car Salespeople are excel-
situations, it is even more important than ever for the lent. Dealerships are always on the lookout for aggres-
Salesperson to be friendly and attentive to his or her sive, motivated salespeople. Individuals may find jobs
customers. throughout the country.
Once a salesperson has closed a deal, he or she must Depending on the situation, Car Salespeople may
complete a great amount of paperwork. The Salesper- sell either new or used vehicles. Some sell both. Indi-
son makes sure contracts or sales agreements are signed viduals may choose between jobs selling foreign or
and monies are correctly figured. In some dealerships, domestic vehicles.
the salesperson also may arrange for auto registrations,
licensing, etc. Advancement Prospects
The salesperson is responsible for making sure the Advancement prospects for a Car Salesperson depend
vehicle is prepared for sale. When the customer comes on the career aspirations of the individual. Some sales-
in to take ownership, the salesperson is expected to take people move up the career ladder by acquiring jobs as
payment. He or she makes sure all transfers for the new sales managers. Others enjoy the selling aspect of their
vehicle and any trade-ins are signed. At this time, the job and want to stay in this type of position. These
salesperson shows the customer how all the features of individuals may advance their careers by locating jobs
the car work and covers any last-minute questions. in larger or more prestigious dealerships. The most
Other duties of a Car Salesperson may include: common method of career advancement is selling more
vehicles resulting in increased earnings.
•  Answering customers questions regarding vehicles
•  Selling extended warranties Education and Training
•  Selling additional options There is usually no educational requirement for auto-
•  Following up after the car has been delivered to the mobile salespeople. Some dealerships may prefer a col-
customer to make sure they are happy and have no lege background, but they do not generally require it.
problems Any seminars, courses, or workshops in sales will be
•  Arranging for financing useful. Once on the job, individuals will receive formal
or informal training.
Salaries
Earnings for Car Salespeople vary tremendously. One Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
of the greatest things about being a Car Salesperson is Experience requirements vary from dealership to
that the sky is the limit on earnings. Some individu- dealership. While some employers require or prefer
als in this line of work make $28,000 and others earn experience in auto sales, there are many who will hire
$125,000 or more annually. motivated eager salespeople with no experience.
Salespeople may be compensated in a number of Good car salespeople are good listeners. They also
different ways. These include a straight salary, a com- know the right questions to ask potential buyers. The
mission on sales, or a combination of both. Earnings most successful Salespeople have great selling skills,
depend, to a great extent, on the aggressiveness, moti- negotiating skills, and interpersonal skills.
vation, and sales ability of the individual. Earnings The ability to work well with numbers is essential. A
also depend on the type of vehicles sold. The more clean driver’s license is also needed.
expensive cars are, the higher the commission for the
salesperson. Unions and Associations
The success of a Car Salesperson is in repeat busi- Those interested in learning more about careers in this
ness. Customers who feel they got the right vehicle at a field should contact the National Automobile Dealers
fair price will not only come back for their next vehicle, Association (NADA), the American Automobile Leas-
but refer their friends, family, and business associates. ing Association (AALA), and the National Independent
Word-of-mouth referrals can increase a salesperson’s Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA).
income dramatically.
One of the perks that Car Salespeople may receive Tips for Entry
are demo cars to drive on their personal time. Individu- 1. Jobs may be advertised in the newspaper clas-
als also may receive liberal fringe benefit packages. sified section under headings including “Auto,”

Stores, Chains, Shops, and Boutiques 159


“Auto Sales,” “Car Sales,” “Truck Sales,” “Sales- 4. All sales experience is valuable in learning how
people,” or “Auto Salesperson.” to deal with the public.
2. Stop in to see dealers you might be interested in 5. Take advantage of any sales training programs
working with. Ask to speak to the sales manager. you can find. These are motivational and help
3. Many auto dealerships have Web sites listing job you hone your selling skills.
openings.

160 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


E-COMMERCE,
MAIL ORDER, AND
DIRECT RESPONSE
SHOPPING
MARKETING DIRECTOR—
WEB STORE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and implement marketing plans and Marketing Director at Larger,
campaigns for company’s Web site store or catalog; More Prestigious Internet Site
handle day-to-day marketing functions; plan and or Store
implement special events; oversee advertising and
public relations program Web Store Marketing Director
Alternate Title(s): Internet Catalog Director of Mar-
keting; Marketing Manager
Salary Range: $26,000 to $85,000+ Assistant Marketing Director
or Marketing Director
Employment Prospects: Fair
in Other Industry
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Jobs may
be located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—College degree preferred, Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativity;
but not always required good verbal and written communications skills;
Experience—Marketing, merchandising, publicity, knowledge of retail industry; knowledge of con-
public relations, advertising, and Internet experi- sumer products; Internet savvy; marketing skills
ence necessary

Position Description site to potential customers. The manner in which this


Today, many traditional retail outlets also have Web is done can mean the success or failure of an on-line
sites to showcase and sell their merchandise. These retail store.
include department stores, specialty stores, chains and The Marketing Director develops the concepts and
boutiques, catalogs, and even television shopping chan- campaigns which will determine how the site will be
nels. There are also many companies selling merchan- marketed to potential shoppers. The individual deter-
dise on the Web that don’t have traditional stores or mines the most effective techniques and programs to
catalogs and sell solely through the Web. Amazon.com market the site and its products.
is one of the better known of such sites. As part of this job, the Marketing Director plans and
There are thousands of Web sites on the Internet coordinates all of the site’s marketing goals and objec-
selling merchandise. It is increasingly becoming more tives. How will people know the store is on-line? To
important for retail as well as wholesale companies whom will they market the site? What types of custom-
to have a presence on the Web. While some of these ers will they try to attract?
“stores” have names well known before their Internet Marketing an on-line store is slightly different from
presence, many do not. The Internet has made it pos- marketing a traditional store. Customers for on-line
sible for people in almost any part of the world to set up stores can come from virtually anywhere in the world.
a store as small or large as they like on-line. No matter It is essential that the Marketing Director find ways
what the size, the site is available to the public. With so to include the store’s Web address in as many places as
many sites available, how does an on-line store attract possible. In some situations, the store may have one
customers to their site? As in traditional retailing, an or more traditional retail outlets. This often makes it
on-line store must market their site. easier to let people know of an on-line store.
The Marketing Director of a retail Web site has a The Marketing Director must be sure that the on-
very important job. He or she finds ways to market the line store’s Web site address is added to all television

162     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


commercials, print advertisements, and packaging. ing on which show a story ends up on, it can lead to
This helps get the name and address of the web store in thousands of Web site hits.
front of the public. Depending on the size and structure of the site, the
The Marketing Director’s job becomes more chal- Marketing Director may work with an advertising and
lenging if the store’s name isn’t recognizable. In this public relations director. In some situations, the Mar-
case, he or she must find ways to bring the store to the keting Director may also be responsible for handling
public’s attention. Marketing Directors may utilize a the public relations and advertising functions.
variety of programs to help attract shoppers and bring Additional duties of a web store Marketing Director
people to the store’s site. might include:
The Marketing Director must decide which of these
programs and services are most viable for his or her spe- •  Supervising marketing, public relations, and advertis-
cific audience. Often, Marketing Directors advertise the ing staff
site. They may do this in print, television, or banner ads •  Developing marketing budgets
on other sites. Banner ads are the advertisements com- •  Designing and developing marketing materials
monly seen on a Web site where an individual need only •  Conducting marketing research
click on the banner to go to the site of the advertiser. •  Developing and providing advertising content for site
The Marketing Director often does research to
obtain information about current and potential custom- Salaries
ers. He or she may prepare questionnaires or surveys to Annual earnings for Marketing Directors for on-line
be placed on the site. In order to entice people to answer stores can range from approximately $26,000 to $85,000
questionnaires, the Marketing Director may offer a gift, or more. Variables affecting earnings include the size
free shipping, or a percentage off on future orders. and prestige of the specific on-line store as well as the
Marketing Directors must devise innovate ideas to experience and responsibilities of the individual. Many
attract new visitors to the site. In many situations, on- on-line companies also offer stock options to their
line store Marketing Directors utilize sweepstakes and employees as part of their employment package.
contests for this purpose. Once people log on to the on-
line store site to enter the contest, the hope is they will Employment Prospects
return to the site to browse and buy. To accomplish this, Employment prospects are fair for this position. As
many Marketing Directors run contests that customers more companies open on-line stores, prospects will
can enter daily. This means customers may visit the site improve. As Web stores can be located anyplace, jobs
daily and see merchandise they want to purchase. may be found throughout the country. Individuals who
Another reason Marketing Directors of on-line have a proven track record are most employable.
stores use sweepstakes is to help build mailing lists.
When people enter contests they must usually give their Advancement Prospects
names, addresses, phone numbers, and email address. Marketing Directors working in this industry have a
Additional information may be gathered as well which number of options for career advancement. Some indi-
may be helpful in targeting shoppers to the site. viduals get experience, prove themselves, and move on
Marketing Directors also use contests to build lists to positions at larger or more prestigious on-line stores.
for email newsletters. These newsletters are useful for This results in increased responsibilities and earnings.
informing customers about store specials, new mer- Often, other on-line stores try to recruit the Marketing
chandise, and promotions. Director from a successful on-line store.
Promotions in traditional stores are designed to Other individuals move into positions as Marketing
bring people in to browse and buy. Marketing Directors Directors for other types of Web sites or in other indus-
for on-line stores often utilize marketing efforts such tries. Still others strike out on their own and start their
as on-line coupons, offers of “buy one, get one for half own marketing firms.
price,” or free shipping.
The Marketing Director who can come up with Education and Training
innovative and creative ideas might get the attention of Educational requirements vary for Marketing Directors
journalists or others doing articles or stories on inter- working for on-line stores. Smaller or lesser known on-
esting Web sites. The individual may, for example, con- line stores may prefer a college degree, but not always
tact a television talk or news show to do a segment on require it. Generally larger, more prestigious, or better-
an interesting product being sold on the site. Depend- known on-line stores will require their Marketing

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 163


Directors to hold a minimum of a four-year college (AMA), the Marketing Research Association (MRA),
degree. Good choices for majors include public rela- the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and
tions, advertising, business, journalism, marketing, lib- Electronic Retailing Association (ERA).
eral arts, English, communications, and business.
Courses and seminars in marketing, public rela- Tips for Entry
tions, publicity, promotion, the retail industry, and Web 1. Positions may be advertised in the classified ad
marketing are also helpful. section of newspapers. Look under headings
including “Marketing,” “Marketing Director,”
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits “Web Store,” “On-Line Store,” or “E-Tailing.”
Marketing Directors in this industry must be Web 2. Send your resume and a cover letter to stores or
savvy. Communications skills, both written and verbal, sites in which you are interested in working. Ask
are essential. Individuals should be creative, innovative, that your resume be kept on file.
ambitious, articulate, and highly motivated. Marketing 3. Join trade associations. These will help you in
Directors also need to be energetic with the ability to searching for internships, scholarships, and
handle many details and projects at one time without training programs in marketing.
getting flustered and stressed. 4. Jobs may also be advertised in trade journals.
A knowledge of publicity, promotion, public rela- 5. Look for jobs on-line. Check out sites such as
tions, and advertising as well as research techniques is those at www.hotjobs.com and www.monster.
also necessary. com to get started.
6. Take seminars and courses in marketing, promo-
Unions and Associations tion, public relations, publicity, and Web mar-
Marketing Directors may belong to a number of trade keting. These will give you an edge over other
associations providing support and guidance. These applicants as well as helping you hone your skills
might include the American Marketing Association and make valuable contacts.

164 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


WEBMASTER—ON-LINE STORE
OR CATALOG
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Design on-line retail store or catalog; create Webmaster for Larger,
content for site; manage and maintain site More Prestigious On-Line Store
Alternative Titles(s): Web site Administrator or Webmaster Consultant
Salary Range: $28,000 to $125,000+
Employment Prospects: Good Webmaster
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
Webmaster in Other Industry
located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Education and training
requirements vary; see text
Experience and Qualifications—Experience Internet savvy; knowledge of HTML and other
designing Web sites necessary programming languages; graphic and layout skills;
Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creative; communication skills
knowledge of retail industry; computer skills;

Position Description visitors. Every time an individual visits a Web page it


Every day more companies are getting a presence on the is called a hit. Just as the more people who visit a store,
World Wide Web. Retail businesses are no exception. the better the chance of sales, similarly, the more hits a
Whether they are small retail companies aspiring to Web store gets the better the chance of people buying.
make it big or large companies who don’t want to miss It is also essential that people not only visit a Web store,
the boat with on-line sales, retail stores on the Internet but revisit it on a consistent basis.
are here to stay. An on-line store means a retailer can The Webmaster develops and creates the Web store
have customers around the corner or around the world. site on the World Wide Web. He or she must design and
In order to open an on-line store, a company must program the on-line store site so it is exciting and easy
rent a space or location on the Web. This may be done to use. The Webmaster must be sure that the each Web
by obtaining a host. The store pays the host for the right page on the store site opens easy and quickly. If they
to place their store on-line on the host’s space. In some don’t, people often leave the site and surf to another
instances, the store and the host are one. location. This results in a loss of sales.
In order for potential customers to find the store, it The Webmaster develops the site and adds pictures
must have a Web address. This is the domain name. For of products, animations, and other graphics. These
example, the Web address of amazon.com is www.ama- are useful to help potential customers get a better idea
zon.com. The Web address of the television shopping of what the merchandise looks like as well as adding
channel QVC is www.iqvc.com. excitement to the various pages.
The individual responsible for putting together the The individual may manipulate images to the proper
Web site for the on-line store is called the Webmaster. size and format. This is necessary because if an image is
The Webmaster’s job is very important to the on-line too large it will slow down the loading of a Web page
retailer. His or her skill and talent can mean the differ- on an individual’s computer. If an image is too small, a
ence between a Web store’s success and failure. customer may not be able to see it clearly. The Webmas-
Web stores are very much like traditional stores. ter must therefore know how many graphics to add and
If people don’t go and visit, no one will buy anything. how to size them properly to make each page graphi-
Traditional stores need foot traffic. Web stores need cally pleasing, yet quick to open.

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 165


The Webmaster often develops a system for people It should be noted that some retailers hire consul-
to search for products on the store site. The easier it is tants to handle their Web site stores. These individuals
for people to find what they are looking for, the better may earn between $50 and $200 or more per hour.
the chance of a sale. He or she may program pop-up
windows, product compare features, shopping carts, Employment Prospects
secure payment systems, or other functions to make Employment prospects are good for Webmasters seek-
on-line shopping easier for the customer. ing to work for on-line retailers and getting better every
Developing and designing the Web store site is just day. Depending on the experience of the individual, he
one part of the job of the Webmaster. He or she is addi- or she might work for small start-up retailers or those
tionally responsible for the continued management and that are well established.
maintenance of the site. Individuals may find positions with retailers who
In order to keep an on-line store site fresh and timely are currently on line, retailers who are planning an
retailers often change the merchandise they are offer- on-line presence and on-line catalogers. Jobs may be
ing, update sale items, or have promotions to attract located throughout the country.
customers to their store site. Sometimes the on-line As a result of the nature of the job, some retailers
stores change content daily. The Webmaster must make may allow their Webmasters to telecommute all or part
ad changes and remove stale content. of the time. Individuals may also find part-time or con-
Web sites are created in special languages so they sulting positions.
can be displayed on the Internet. Text, for example, is
converted into a language called HTML, or Hypertext Advancement Prospects
Markup Language. Other languages may used as well. Webmasters working for retailers with on-line stores
The Webmaster must know how to format the special can advance their careers in a number of ways. Those
languages. who build Web sites which consistently attract visi-
Webmasters are expected to monitor the site con- tors will have no trouble climbing the career ladder.
tinuously. Every time new content or a link is added, The most common method of career advancement for
the individual must be sure everything on the site is Webmasters is locating similar positions with larger or
working and all links are accurate. more prestigious retailers. This will result in increased
Depending on the situation and the size of the on- responsibilities and earnings. Other Webmasters decide
line store, the Webmaster may work alone or may have to strike out on their own and begin consulting firms.
one or more people working under his or her direction.
He or she may also work with graphic designers and Education and Training
artists, photographers, copywriters, or editors. Education and training requirements vary for Web-
Other duties of Webmasters for on-line stores masters working for on-line retailers. Many Webmas-
include: ters are self-taught. Some have taken classes. Others
have college backgrounds or degrees in computers, pro-
•  Developing Web content gramming, languages, graphics, web authoring, and the
•  Making sure the store site is user friendly Internet. However it is learned, Webmasters must know
•  Responding to inquiries from customers and other HTML. It is also necessary to know other program-
browsers having problems with the site ming languages such as Cold Fusion, PERL, and Active
•  Handling problems with the site Server Pages. It is helpful for those working on retail
•  Finding the best way to present information and store sites to also know how to integrate databases.
graphics on the store site Technology is constantly changing in this field. It
is essential that Webmasters update their skills by self-
Salaries study and/or classes, seminars, and workshops to keep
Annual earnings for Webmasters working for on-line up. Additional classes in understanding retail will also
retailers may vary from approximately $28,000 to be helpful.
$125,000 or more annually. Variables include the size
and prestige of the specific retailer as well as the respon- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
sibilities, experience, and reputation of the individual. Experience requirements depend, to a great extent, on
Webmasters who have a proven track record for the size and prestige of the on-line store. Smaller on-
developing creative sites which attract attention will line stores or those just starting up, may not require
earn the highest salaries. Webmasters with a great deal of experience as long as

166 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


they illustrate that they can do an effective job. Larger, Tips for Entry
more prestigious on-line stores will generally want their 1. Positions may be located in the classified sec-
Webmasters to have a proven track record and experi- tion of newspapers. Look under heading such
ence with retail sites. as “Webmaster,” “Retail Opportunities,” or “On-
Individuals must have a total competence with Web Line Store.” Also look for ads under specific store
dynamics, HTML authorship, and other programming and on-line store names.
languages. While some graphics work is outsourced or 2. Trade journals may also list openings.
done by graphic designers within the company, graphic 3. Look for a job on-line. Start with the more popu-
talent is necessary. lar job sites such as those at www.hotjobs.com
Webmasters additionally need excellent commu- and www.monster.com.
nications skills, both verbal and written. Creativity is 4. Check out the Web sites of stores and catalogs
essential. on-line. Many post job openings.
5. Get experience putting together Web sites for
Unions and Associations not-for-profit organizations or civic groups.
Individuals interested in learning more about careers in Don’t forget to add your name as the creator and
the field may obtain additional information by contact- Webmaster.
ing the Internet Professionals Association (IPA) and the
National Retail Federation (NRF).

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 167


CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER—
ON-LINE STORE OR CATALOG
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Supervise customer service representatives; Customer Service Manager for Larger
oversee customer service department; handle prob- or More Prestigious On-Line Store
lems and difficulties for customers; provide infor- or Catalog
mation regarding the web store to customers.
Alternate Title(s)(s): None Customer Service Manager
Salary Range: $25,000 to $48,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair Customer Service Representative
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Education and training Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent
requirements vary; see text writing skills; knowledge of retail industry; Inter-
Experience and Qualifications—Experience work- net savvy; communications skills; customer service
ing in retailing, customer service, or with on-line skills
stores

Position Description Service Manager receives the email with the question
Web stores and catalogs, like other retail outlets must and is expected to respond. Most of the time, this is
provide exemplary customer service in order to sur- done by email. In some cases, the Customer Service
vive. While e-commerce is thriving, in order to be Manager will assign these duties to customer service
successful, web stores and catalogs must still remem- representatives.
ber the golden rules of retailing. “The customer is The Customer Service Manager handles a vari-
always right,” and “The customer needs to feel valued ety of situations ranging from technical difficulties
and important.” to problems with returns. For example, a customer
Most web stores and on-line catalogs employ a Cus- might email customer service when a web store link
tomer Service Manager or customer service representa- isn’t working correctly. Another customer might
tives to handle any problems or difficulties customers email that he or she is having problems adding items
may have shopping on the site. In smaller retail sites, to their shopping cart on the site. In these cases, the
the webmaster or store owner may handle these func- Customer Service Manager must contact the webmas-
tions. However, larger sites and stores usually have at ter to check out the situations and see how quickly
least one Manager and may have a number of customer the situations can be resolved. The Customer Service
service representatives. Manager must also email customers to thank them
While shopping on-line is convenient and, to many, for bringing problems to their attention and advise
the best way to make purchases today, to some the them of a solution.
process is new and unfamiliar. People may be uncom- Sometimes the problems the Customer Service
fortable with putting their credit card on-line, worried Manager faces are not technical in nature or web spe-
about shipping dates, extra charges, returns, or an array cific. For example, a customer may have placed an
of other problems. In a traditional store, a customer order for merchandise and it didn’t arrive in a timely
can pose a question and someone will answer face to manner. Understandably, the customer is irate and
face. In an on-line store, the question is often emailed wants an answer. The Customer Service Manager may
to the customer service department. The Customer respond with an email apologizing and offer the cus-

168     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


tomer something to make up for the trouble he or she Advancement Prospects
experienced. Depending on the situation, this might Customer Service Managers working with on-line
be a discount on the order, free-shipping, or a gift stores may advance their careers by locating similar
certificate toward a future purchase. The Customer jobs at larger or more prestigious on-line retailers. This
Service Manager may also send a letter through the results in increased responsibilities and earnings. Some
mail to apologize. individuals may also become customer service directors
Depending on the specific on-line store, custom- with large on-line retailers.
ers may want more information on a product than is
offered on the Web site. They may contact customer Education and Training
service to find out if additional colors are offered, Educational requirements vary. Generally, the more
when stock will be in, or warranty information. The well known on-line retailers will require or prefer a
Customer Service Manager or a subordinate will con- college degree. Smaller or lesser known on-line stores
tact the buyers to get the information and e-mail back may not have an educational requirement as long as
an answer. individuals illustrate that they can handle the job.
Web-store customers generally want their queries College gives individuals the opportunity to gain
answered in as immediate a fashion as possible. The experience and may be useful in career advancement. It
Customer Service Manager must see that queries, ques- may also give one applicant an edge over another who
doesn’t have a college degree.
tions, and problems are handled quickly. At the very
least, the individual must email a note informing cus- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
tomers they are working on a solution. In many compa- Customer Service Managers need the ability to make
nies, this is automated. decisions quickly and effectively. This is mandatory
Other duties of Customer Service Managers for on- with on-line stores. As noted previously, because of the
line stores include: nature of electronic retailing, people expect an answer
shortly after posing a question.
•  Overseeing customer service representatives As so much of this job entails writing, it is essential
•  Training customer service representatives for Customer Service Managers to have excellent writ-
•  Developing policies to handle customer service issues ten communications skills. An understanding of the
•  Working with other members of the on-line store retail industry, customer service, and the workings of
development team to make sure the site is customer the Internet are also necessary.
friendly
•  Preparing reports on customer service inquires for Unions and Associations
the on-line store owners or management Individuals may be members of a number of organi-
•  Handling difficult returns for customers zations which provide career guidance and support.
•  Issuing credits or gift certificates to make up for These include the Internet Professionals Association
unsatisfactory service (IPA) and the Electronic Retailing Association. Addi-
tional career information may also be obtained by con-
Salaries tacting the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Earnings for Customer Service Managers working for
Tips for Entry
on-line stores can range from $25,000 to $48,000 or
1. Jobs may be advertised in the classified sections
more annually. Variables include the size and prestige of newspapers. Look under classifications such
of the specific on-line retailer as well as the responsibili- as “Internet Opportunities,” “On-line Opportu-
ties and experience of the individual. nities,” “On-line Retailing,” “Customer Service
Manager,” or “E-Commerce Opportunities.” Spe-
Employment Prospects cific on-line stores may also list multiple jobs in
Employment prospects are good for Customer Ser- an advertisement.
vice Managers interested in working for on-line stores. 2. Visit the Web sites of on-line retailers. Many post
While jobs may be located throughout the country, job openings.
individuals may need to relocate for the position. 3. Look for a job on-line. Start with some of the
Individuals may work for large established on-line better‑known sites such as those at www.hotjobs.
stores and on-line catalogs as well as smaller retail sites com and www.monster.com. Then search out
which are just starting up. other relevant job sites.

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 169


4. Make sure you are Internet savvy. If necessary, 6. You might also stop at the library to get some
take a class at a local vocational-technical school books on customer service on the Internet and
or community college. on-line retailing. The more you know, the better
5. Seminars on Internet customer service will also the job you can perform.
be helpful. Many are offered throughout the
country.

170 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


DIRECT RESPONSE COPYWRITER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and write copy for direct response Copy Supervisor or Copywriter at Large,
advertising; prepare copy for brochures, marketing Prestigious Direct Response Agency
pieces, etc.
Alternate Title(s): Copywriter Direct Response Copywriter
Salary Range: $24,000 to $100,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Junior Copywriter or Trainee
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located throughout the country
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativ-
advertising, business, journalism, public relations, ity; excellent writing skills; good command of the
marketing, liberal arts, English, communications, English language; knowledge and understanding of
business, etc. direct response copywriting
Experience—Experience as junior copywriter,
trainee, or intern helpful

Position Description groups. Generally, the products being advertised can be


In addition to traditional retail stores, many products ordered either by phone or mail.
today are sold through direct response. One of the old- Some Direct Response Copywriters, for example,
est forms of direct-response selling is the catalog. The may develop copy for literature sent in monthly credit
newest are home shopping channels and infomercials, card statements selling merchandise. This concept,
and other forms include direct mail as well as certain often called piggy-backing, may offer merchandise at
television or radio shows that are actually paid pro- a discounted price for credit card holders. It is essen-
gramming. tial to the success of this type of selling that the Direct
The individual responsible for writing and devel- Response Copywriter develop ads and brochures that
oping the copy for direct response advertising is grab people’s attention. The ad, letter, or sales piece
called the Direct Response Copywriter. His or her must make people want to read it, pick up a phone or
main duty is writing copy for products generally sold write out a check, and order the merchandise at that
through nontraditional retail outlets, and the exact very moment. Successful Direct Response Copywriters
duties of the job may vary among employers. The develop ads that make a consumer want to take action
individual may write copy for print advertisements, immediately. In many situations, the Direct Response
sales letters, brochures, marketing pieces, copy for Copywriter inserts a coupon into the advertising or
television or radio commercials, catalogs, or scripts promotional piece in order to stimulate quick and
for those selling products on home shopping chan- immediate response. Direct response earned its name
nels or infomercials. from this type of direct action.
The Direct Response Copywriter may write simple One of the interesting things about the job of a Direct
copy such as headlines or may develop copy for entire Response Copywriter is that the results of his or her
mailings, advertisements or promotional packages. work can be seen almost immediately. People may either
Direct Response Copywriters generally focus in on a order a product, call an “800” number and charge it for a
specific group of people or market that may be inter- purchase, throw a brochure away or ignore it completely.
ested in a product, and direct response pieces may be If a sales letter, commercial, or advertisement does not
sent in the mail, advertised in a specialized publication, draw orders almost immediately, the Direct Response
or seen during a televised program that targets these Copywriter may be asked to change it rapidly.

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 171


Depending on the specific employment situation, Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
The Direct Response Copywriter may also be respon- Direct Response Copywriters should be very creative,
sible for developing advertising and sales concepts. He with a flair for writing exciting, persuasive headlines
or she may come up with an idea to use as the selling and body copy. They need a way with words that can
point such as the low price, a money back guarantee, make people want to take action right away.
the trial period, or the extra added value if the customer Excellent writing skills are mandatory. A complete
acts immediately. working knowledge of word usage, grammar, and spell-
Additional duties of Direct Response Copywriters ing is necessary. The ability to work on multiple proj-
may include: ects at one time and meet deadline is essential.
Individuals are often asked to show their portfolio
•  Preparing copy for web retail stores or “book” of their work prior to being hired. This book
•  Doing research to gather information for copy is used to illustrate talent to potential employers.
•  Revising or rewriting copy that the copy supervisor
may find unsatisfactory Unions and Associations
Direct Response Copywriters may belong to a num-
Salaries ber of trade associations providing support and guid-
Earnings for Direct Response Copywriters can range ance. These may include the American Advertising
from approximately $24,000 to $100,000 or more annu- Federation (AAF), the Business/Professional Adver-
ally. Factors affecting earnings include the size and tising Association (B/PAA), the American Marketing
prestige of the specific employer, as well as the respon- Association (AMA), and the Direct Marketing Asso-
sibilities, experience, education, and reputation of the ciation (DMA).
individual. Those who have proved themselves will earn
salaries towards the upper end of the scale. Tips for Entry
1. Join trade associations and attend their meetings
Employment Prospects and conventions. These are invaluable sources of
Talented Direct Response Copywriters are always in information and networking opportunities.
demand. Individuals may find employment throughout 2. Many associations have student memberships.
the country in a variety of settings. These include small, Some of these also offer scholarships or intern-
mid-sized and large catalog companies, direct response ship opportunities.
agencies, retail web sites, direct television agencies, and 3. Get experience in all facets of writing. This will
manufacturers of products sold through direct response help prepare you for your writing career.
methods. 4. Collect samples of direct response copy to see
what might make you take action now. Practice
Advancement Prospects writing your own copy for products.
Direct Response Copywriters who develop persuasive 5. Put together a portfolio of your writing samples.
copy which shows results will have no trouble advanc- Include a variety of samples to illustrate your
ing their careers. Individuals may climb the career lad- writing talents.
der by becoming copy supervisors or locate jobs at large 6. Positions are often advertised in the classified
direct response agencies. sections of newspapers. Keep in mind the Sun-
day paper usually has the largest classified sec-
Education and Training tion. Look under headings including “Direct
Generally, employers prefer individuals hold a mini- Response,” “Direct Mail,” “Copywriter,” or
mum of a four-year college degree. Good choices for “Direct Response Copywriter.” Companies may
majors include advertising, marketing, public relations, also advertise a number of opportunities in a
English, liberal arts, or communications. boxed classified ad.
Courses and seminars in advertising or copywriting
are useful to hone skills.

172 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CATALOG COPYWRITER
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop and write copy for catalogs Copy Supervisor or Copywriter
Alternate Title(s): None at Direct Response Agency
Salary Range: $25,000 to $57,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair Catalog Copywriter
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: The
Junior Copywriter or Trainee
greatest number of positions will be in areas hosting
catalogs
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in adver-
tising, business, journalism, public relations, market- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Creativ-
ing, liberal arts, English, communications, business ity; excellent writing skills; good command of the
Experience—Experience as junior copywriter, English language; knowledge and understanding of
trainee, or intern helpful catalog copywriting

Position Description One of the problems catalog shoppers often face


With today’s busy lifestyles, more people than ever are is that they do not have the actual product in front
catalog shopping. There are literally thousands of dif- of them to pick up and see. The more descriptive the
ferent catalogs selling everything from soup to nuts and words a Copywriter uses, the easier it is for a potential
masses of items in between. Some catalogs sell a variety customer to imagine what a product will be like.
of merchandise, much like a department store. Others Catalog Copywriters are expected to write headline
sell specialty items such as crafts, clothing, toys, shoes, copy, as well as the body of the description for each
electronics, plants, gourmet food, jewelry, tools, vita- product. The individual must be able to describe each
mins, music, videos, and books. product in just a few words. Although there are excep-
Copywriters working for catalog companies have tions, this usually ranges from approximately thirty
challenging jobs. Individuals must describe a product words to one hundred words per product.
in few words in such a way that people are enticed to In order to perform their job, Catalog Copywriters
purchase it. A common saying in the advertising indus- may read the product literature and look at photos as
try is “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Catalog Copywrit- well as touch and feel the actual product. In this man-
ers must do the same. They must make products in the ner, the individual will better be able to describe the
catalog seem exciting no matter what they are. product. In some instances, the manufacturer of the
Successful Catalog Copywriters use descriptive product also provides some descriptive copy. The writer
terms so that those who read the copy can imagine may use this as the basis of his or her copy. Generally, a
seeing and feeling the product being described. They picture will accompany the product in the catalog. The
can often even make people imagine the smell and Copywriter must make sure the copy makes sense and
taste of a product. For example, a talented Copywriter relates to the accompanying photograph.
might write the following blurb in a gourmet food cat- Some catalogs have hundreds of products. Each
alog under a can of chocolate chip cookies. “Double product sold in the catalog needs copy to describe it.
Decadent Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies. Four dozen Depending on the size and structure of the catalog,
chewy, chocolaty, fresh baked, bite sized chocolate chip the individual may handle all the product copywriting
cookies. Each mouth-watering chocolate morsel is chock duties or may work with one or more Copywriters.
full of chips and covered in a crunchy chocolate coating. As a rule, copy must be approved by the catalog’s copy
Tucked into a decorative collector’s tin and wrapped sepa- supervisor. In some instances, the manufacturer of spe-
rately for you to savor alone or share with a friend.” cific products may also need to approve copy.

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 173


It should be noted that many companies today also Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
put their catalog on-line. Additionally, there are compa- Catalog Copywriters need to be very creative, with a flair
nies which solely have on-line catalogs. Catalog Copy- for writing attention-grabbing, persuasive headlines and
writers may be responsible for handling the product body copy. They need a way with words that can explain
copy for either variety. an item in an interesting manner with just a few words.
Additional duties of Catalog Copywriter may Excellent writing skills are mandatory. A complete
include: working knowledge of word usage, grammar, and spell-
ing is necessary. The ability to work on multiple projects
•  Preparing copy for the catalog cover and back pages at one time and meet deadlines is essential. Individuals
•  Doing research to gather information for copy are often asked to show their portfolio or “book” of
•  Revising or rewriting copy that the copy supervisor their work prior to being hired. This book is used to
may find unsatisfactory illustrate talent to potential employers.

Salaries Unions and Associations


Earnings for Catalog Copywriters can range from Catalog Copywriters may belong to a number of trade
approximately $25,000 to $57,000 or more annually. associations providing support and guidance. These
Factors affecting earnings include the size and prestige may include the American Advertising Federation
of the specific catalog as well as the responsibilities, (AAF), the Business/Professional Advertising Asso-
experience, education, and reputation of the individual. ciation (B/PAA), the American Marketing Association
(AMA), and the Direct Marketing Association (DMA).
Employment Prospects
Employment prospects are fair for Catalog Copywrit- Tips for Entry
ers. Individuals may find employment throughout the 1. Join trade associations and attend their meetings
country. These include small, mid-sized, and large cata- and conventions. These are invaluable sources of
log companies. Additionally, there are increasing num- information and networking opportunities.
bers of positions for Catalog Copywriters for on-line 2. Get experience in all facets of writing. This will
catalogs. help prepare you for your writing career.
3. Collect samples of catalog copy to see what you
Advancement Prospects might buy. Practice writing your own copy for
Catalog Copywriters who consistently write persuasive products.
copy will have no trouble advancing their careers. A 4. Put together a portfolio of your writing samples.
common method of climbing the career ladder is land- Include a variety of samples to illustrate your
ing a job with a larger or more prestigious catalog com- writing talents.
pany. Some individuals advance their career by being 5. Positions are often advertised in the classified
promoted to copy supervisors. Still others locate jobs at sections of newspapers. Keep in mind the Sun-
advertising or direct-response agencies. day paper usually has the largest classified sec-
tion. Look under headings including “Catalogs,”
Education and Training “Catalog Copywriter,” or “Copywriter.” Catalogs
Most catalog companies prefer individuals hold a mini- may also advertise a number of opportunities in
mum of a four-year college degree. Relevant majors a boxed classified ad.
include advertising, marketing, public relations, Eng- 6. Send your resume and a cover letter to the corpo-
lish, liberal arts, and communications. Courses and rate offices of companies at which you are inter-
seminars in advertising and copywriting are useful to ested in working. Ask that your resume be kept
hone skills. on file.

174 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


CALL CENTER REPRESENTATIVE
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Answer telephone calls from potential custom- Call Center Shift Supervisor
ers; answer questions about products being sold;
take orders for products Call Center Representative
Alternate Title(s): Call Center Associate; Customer
Representative; Order Entry Operator
Entry Level
Salary Range: $7.00 to $19.00+ per hour
Employment Prospects: Excellent
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Greatest Experience—Experience may be preferred, but not
number of opportunities will be located in areas always required
hosting large numbers of call centers Special Skills and Personality Traits—Pleasant
Prerequisites: telephone manner; interpersonal skills; people skills;
Education and Training—On-the-job training communications skills; computer skills

Position Description In some situations, the customer may want some


A great deal of retailing is done through methods other information on a product or a price or may want
than traditional store shopping. With today’s busy life- to check availability. The Call Center Representative
styles many individuals also shop on the Internet, buy must be as helpful as possible. He or she often will
from catalogs, or make purchases from infomercials or punch information such as an item number or key
television shopping channels. Those who shop on the word into a computer. In this manner the representa-
Web may just need to point and click to make a pur- tive may be able to check availability, descriptions, and
chase. Those buying from catalogs or television often prices.
pick up a telephone and place their order. Once customers have decided what they want to
Call Center Representatives are the individuals who purchase, the Call Center Representative will take the
answer the telephone calls from potential customers order. In some situations, the Call Center Representa-
and take the orders. Depending on where they work, tive will ask the individual for some information. This
they may also be referred to as order entry operators, might, for example, include a customer’s name, address,
call center associates, or customer representatives. Some phone number, the code on the back of a catalog, a
retailers farm out their order taking to huge call centers. customer number, item numbers, colors, or sizes. This
Others have their own employees handling orders. information is generally input into a computer.
The Call Center Representative may answer ques- The representative must obtain information on the
tions and provide information regarding the company customer’s method of payment. Will he or she be send-
and it’s products. The individual is expected to answer ing a check? Is the item being shipped C.O.D.? Is a
the phone in a pleasant and friendly manner. credit card being used? The representative will total the
The first contact many people have with the com- order including merchandise and any shipping, han-
pany they are calling is with the Call Center Represen- dling, and taxes and inform the customer of the final
tative. If he or she sounds unfriendly, the customer may price. At this time the Call Center Representative will
be taken aback and not place an order. process the order and also let the customer know when
The individual may greet customers and thank them the order should arrive.
for calling. The representative will then ask the cus- The more familiar a Call Center Representative is
tomer how he or she can be of assistance. The Call with the products the company sells the better. In some
Center Representative answers customer’s inquiries to situations, the representative may suggest products for
the best of his or her knowledge. customers or give explanations of merchandise.

E-Commerce, Mail Order, and Direct Response Shopping 175


A great deal of the success of companies selling there are many Call Center Representatives who are still
products ordered by customers via the telephone is in school.
based on good customer service skills. Call Center Generally, training is provided on the job. In some
Representatives who are good at their job are usually companies, formal training programs are provided to
pleasant and helpful in making customers feel good Call Center Representatives.
about calling.
Additional duties of the Call Center Associates may Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
include: This is usually an entry-level job. While experience may
give one applicant an edge over another, it is not gener-
•  Promoting the company’s products ally required.
•  Informing customers about current specials and Call Center Representatives need a pleasant speak-
promotions ing voice and a good phone manner. Excellent cus-
•  Giving customers phone number or addresses for tomer service skills are mandatory. Computer skills are
additional customer service or contact information essential.
•  Handling customer service issues
•  Searching the database for merchandise for which Unions and Associations
customers don’t have item numbers Individuals interested in learning more about careers
in this field may obtain information by contacting the
Salaries National Retail Federation (NRF) and the American
Call Center Representatives earn hourly wages rang- Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA).
ing from approximately $7.00 to $19.00 or more.
Variables affecting earnings include the geographic Tips for Entry
location and size of the specific company for which 1. Openings may be advertised in the classified sec-
the individual works as well as his or her experience tions of newspapers. Look under heading clas-
and responsibilities. In some companies, individu- sifications such as “Call Centers,” “Call Center
als working overnight shifts or weekends will earn Opportunities,” “Catalog Opportunities,” “Tele-
higher wages than those working more traditional vision Shopping Opportunities,” “Call Center
hours and workdays. Representative,” “Order Entry Operator,” “Call
Center Associate,” or “Customer Representative.”
Employment Prospects You might also look under ads for specific cata-
Employment prospects are good for Call Center Rep- log companies, television shopping channels, or
resentatives. While jobs may be located throughout the mail order division of retail stores.
the country, the most opportunities will be found in 2. Check out openings on the Internet. Many call
areas hosting large call centers. Individuals may work centers, catalogs, and television shopping chan-
full time or part time. nels have their own Web sites listing employment
opportunities.
Advancement Prospects 3. You might also find openings on the World Wide
Advancement prospects are fair for Call Center Rep- Web’s job sites. Start with the more popular ones
resentatives. After obtaining experience, motivated such as www.hotjobs.com and www.monster.
individuals may advance their careers by acquiring com. A new site, www.abracat.com, is easy to use
positions as shift supervisors or call center managers. and has many job openings in all industries by
geographical area.
Education and Training 4. Contact call centers, retail stores with mail order
Most employers require individuals to hold a minimum outlets, catalog companies, and television shop-
of a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, ping channels. Ask to fill out an application.

176 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


TELEVISION
SHOPPING
CHANNELS
TELEVISION SHOPPING CHANNEL
SHOW HOST
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Presenting products on television shopping Television Shopping Channel Show Host
channel in interesting, persuasive, and credible man- for More Prestigious Television Shopping
ner; educating viewers on how to use products Channel, Television Shopping Show Host
Alternate Title(s): Program Host, Show Host with Better Time Slot, or More Popular
Salary Range: $70,000 to $500,000+ Television Shopping Channel Show Host
Employment Prospects: Poor
Advancement Prospects: Fair Television Shopping Channel Show Host
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Posi-
tions located in areas hosting television shopping
Host Trainee
channels; three premier channels are located in
West Chester, Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie,
Minn.
Prerequisites:
Education and Training—Education requirements Special Skills and Personality Traits—Ability to
vary; on-the-job training speak to the camera; excellent verbal and written
Experience—Experience in retail, sales, televi- communications skills; creativity; personable; soft
sion, acting, or journalism helpful, but not always sales skills; understanding of the industry; sincere;
required believability; good listener; energetic

Position Description nel, initially on a local Tampa cable station and then
Over the past few years television shopping has the nationwide channel, the Home Shopping Network.
exploded into a very popular way to shop. These sta- The first-ever television shopping channel host was that
tions sell everything from clothing to housewares, gour- very same radio talk show host, Bob Cirosta. Cirosta,
met food to beauty products, tools to gems and jewelry, the pioneer of television shopping, went on to sell over
electronics to toys, gadgets to gismos, and everything 75,000 products in 20,000 hours of live airtime during
in between. his career.
Some watch these stations for entertainment, others As a result of his successes, many now have the
watch for company, and of course people watch them to opportunity to be a Television Shopping Channel
shop. There are currently three major television shop- Show Host as well. The main responsibility of a Televi-
ping channels—QVC, HSN, and ShopNBC. Addition- sion Shopping Channel Show Host is presenting prod-
ally there are an array of lesser-known local and cable ucts to viewers. He or she may present alone, with
shopping channels. another host, or may work with a guest presenter.
Television shopping originated in Clearwater, Fla., Depending on the product, this might be the cre-
when during a break in a radio show, the owner of the ator of the product, a manufacturer’s representative, or
station asked the on-air radio talk show host to sell a even a celebrity guest.
box of can openers to his listeners after the break. The Whether alone or with the help of a guest, the Tele-
show talk show host complied and described the can vision Shopping Channel Show Host is expected to
openers to his listeners in such a compelling manner introduce the product to viewers. In order to pique
that he ended up selling over 100 can openers in under interest, he or she may start with a question asking
an hour. viewers if they have a specific problem or telling them
The owner of the station saw the business poten- about a solution to a potential problem that the product
tial and launched the country’s first shopping chan- can solve.

178     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


As part of the presentation, the Television Shopping manufacturer’s reps, developers of the product, buyers,
Channel Show Host tells the viewers the name of the or producers. He or she may also read product manuals
product, its price, and the product number. The indi- or bring the product home to use it for a period of time
vidual may explain the value of the product by giving before presenting it.
details of the price competing retailers would be selling Individuals must have the ability to maintain an
the same product for or discussing extras that the shop- interesting patter, continually making sure the product
ping network is including. presentation is exciting and appealing. As television
The Television Shopping Channel Show Host is shopping is live, there is no room for dead space while
responsible for explaining the features of each product the host tries to think of what he or she wanted to
as well as demonstrating its ease of use. He or she may say. During the course of the presentation, the Televi-
go over colors, sizes, pricing options, and more. Dur- sion Shopping Channel Show Host may take calls from
ing the presentation, the Television Shopping Channel viewers who either have purchased the product previ-
Show Host must be sure to sound sincerely excited ously, just bought the product, or want to ask a question
about the product. regarding the product. As most callers have never been
A successful presentation will generally educate on the air, the Television Shopping Channel Show Host
viewers on various aspects of the product being sold must make each caller feel comfortable. He or she also
by covering the 5 Ws. These include: who, what, when, must be able to end the call in a pleasant manner, be a
where, and why. For example, who is the product for? good listener, and be engaged.
What does it do? When should it be used? Where Before a Television Shopping Channel Show Host
should it be used? And why should it be used? Effective even gets on the air, he or she has work to do. Indi-
presentations also cover why the product is unique. It is viduals may meet with buyers or manufacturer’s reps to
essential in the selling process to get viewers thinking learn everything there is to know about the product and
what the product will do for them; how it will improve its competition.
their life or at least make it easier. The Television Shop- Most hosts do extensive preparation before a show
ping Channel Show Host may say, for example, “Don’t getting ready for each presentation. While it might look
go out in the cold and struggle with crowds. You can like the individual is just talking about a product off
shop with us from the comfort of your living room, the top of his or her head, he or she often prepares
cuddled in a quilt and enjoying a hot cup of coffee.” by rehearsing so the presentation will be interesting
If the product is being demonstrated by models and well organized. Television Shopping Channel Show
showing fashion or jewelry, the Television Shopping Hosts work with producers who communicate with
Channel Show Host may point out various features of them via an earpiece. The producer may, for example,
the product on the model and ask the model to turn this say that a certain color of a product is selling out or how
or that way to illustrate a specific feature of a garment. many of which size of a product are left. Some people
The Television Shopping Channel Show Host is can get used to this “voice in their ear” easily. For others
expected to explain the various qualities of each prod- it is very disconcerting.
uct as well as to illustrate why someone couldn’t do Some hosts specialize in certain areas such as fash-
without it. The individual may offer viewers various ion, beauty, electronics, gems, crafts, or cooking. This
ideas on how and when the product could be used. For can often make shows much more interesting as indi-
example, “You might wear this to the office and then viduals can offer tidbits of information. A host, for
take the jacket off, add some jewelry and heels and wear example, may be a certified gemologist and discuss
it out to dinner.” Or, “Consider buying more than one, what powers some think various gems possess.
save on your shipping and handling, and you’ll have a Other responsibilities of Television Shopping Chan-
gift for that unexpected guest on Christmas.” nel Show Hosts might include:
In order to be effective, Television Shopping Chan-
nel Show Hosts must have the ability to use a soft sell. •  Going on trips with buyers
What that means is that the presentation should not •  Traveling for remotes
sound like someone selling popcorn at a ball game. •  Attending industry meetings, conferences, and con-
Instead, the presentation should be in a manner that ventions
someone would speak to a good friend.
It is essential for Television Shopping Channel Show Salaries
Hosts to have full knowledge of each product. In order Earnings for Television Shopping Channel Show Hosts
to get this information, the individual may meet with can vary tremendously. There are some individuals

Television Shopping Channels 179


who earn approximately $40,000 and others who earn require a college degree. That is not to say that a college
$500,000 or more annually. Factors affecting earnings degree might not be preferred.
include the size, structure, prestige, and popularity of Some Television Shopping Channel Show Hosts
the specific shopping channel, as well as the experience, have college degrees and others do not. Those who have
responsibilities, professional reputation, and popularity degrees have them in an array of diverse areas including
of the host. telecommunications, retail, business, teaching, radio,
Individuals working for small local cable shopping and everything in between. Most television shopping
channels will earn salaries at the lower end of the scale. channels have their own training programs. These pro-
Those who are working for one of the larger, more grams teach effective methods of selling on air. They
popular shopping channels who have a proven track also teach how to treat guests, answer customer ques-
record and a following will have earnings at the higher tions, deal with phone calls and testimonials, policies,
end of the scale. and so on. Some shopping channels pair new hosts
with established hosts who mentor them through the
Employment Prospects learning process. Classes, seminars, and certifications
Employment prospects are poor for individuals seeking in a specific field will often help the marketability of an
positions as Television Shopping Channel Show Hosts. individual.
There are a limited number of television channel shop-
ping channels and a limited number of positions. Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Individuals may find opportunities with one of the Prior to Television Shopping Channel Show Hosts
more popular television shopping channels such as being hired as full-fledged hosts, they often go through
QVC, HSN, or ShopNBC by attending open casting a host trainee period lasting from three to nine months.
calls held throughout the year by the specific chan- During this time, the individual learns all about the
nels or by sending in videos directly to stations. Other company’s products and policies as well as how to be
opportunities may include local shopping channels and the best host possible.
smaller cable shopping channels. As television shop- They can come from a variety of backgrounds.
ping becomes more popular, additional stations will These include retail and wholesale, sales, acting, televi-
also being to emerge. sion news, other areas of television and radio, public
Those with the right look and personality as well as relations, teaching, and almost every area in between.
the ability to look into a camera and talk to viewers in a Some Television Shopping Channel Show Hosts are
believable manner so viewers can’t resist buying a prod- experts in certain fields, such as gemology, electronics,
uct will have an easier time entering the profession. computers, cooking, crafts, or fashion to name a few.
Experience in a specific field can often give one appli-
Advancement Prospects cant an edge over another with similar credentials.
Advancement prospects for Television Shopping Chan- Hosts need to be comfortable in front of a camera in
nel Show Hosts are fair once the individual gets a foot addition to having the ability to speak into the camera.
in the door. He or she may climb the career ladder by They should be well spoken, poised individuals with
obtaining a better time slot or becoming a show host for excellent written and verbal communication skills.
a larger, more prestigious television shopping channel. Good listening skills are critical. Successful hosts are
After obtaining some experience, many individuals are likeable, personable, enthusiastic, and have the abil-
able to build a large following that allows them to nego- ity to share information in a credible and believable
tiate higher earnings. manner.
Some individuals move into other areas of the No one wants to watch a Television Shopping Chan-
industry. There have been Television Shopping Channel nel Show Host hawk a product. As noted previously,
Show Hosts such as Mike Rowe, the star of Discovery soft sales skills are essential for this type of presenta-
Channel’s popular show Dirty Jobs, who became stars of tion. Individuals who can convey information to the
their own television shows. Others start their own line television audience in a manner much like they would
of products and become successful vendors for one or be talking to a friend will be more successful.
more of the television shopping channels.
Unions and Associations
Education and Training Individuals interested in a career in this field should
While television shopping channels want their hosts to contact the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA)
be as well rounded as possible, generally they do not as well as the various television shopping networks to

180 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


get additional information. Depending on the specific 4. If you don’t see anything about a open cast-
employer and the background of the individual, Televi- ing calls or host search, don’t despair. Consider
sion Shopping Channel Hosts may belong to a number checking out the employment section of televi-
of different unions including AFTRA (American Fed- sion shopping channels in which you are inter-
eration of Television and Radio Artists) or SAG (Screen ested in working, getting information on where
Actors Guild) among others. to send a video of yourself presenting a product,
and taking action.
Tips for Entry 5. Watch successful hosts to see what techniques
1. Check out the Web sites of the various television work when presenting products on the air.
shopping networks to see if and when they are 6. Take a product you are acquainted with, do
hosting open casting calls or host searches. some research so you know everything there is
2. Openings are often listed on television shopping to know about it, and practice presenting it. Do
channel Web sites. the presentation in front of friends or family to
3. Openings are also often listed on popular job get constructive criticism. Then make a three-
search sites such as those at monster.com, hotjobs. or four-minute video to send to the shopping
com, and indeed.com. channels.

Television Shopping Channels 181


BUYER—TELEVISION
SHOPPING CHANNEL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Shopping for products in specific category Buyer for Larger, More Prestigious
to sell on television shopping channel; working in Television Shopping Channel; Buyer for
partnership with vendors, merchandise planners, Larger Department at Television Shopping
programming managers, etc., developing product Channel; or Director or Manager of
selection in specific merchandise category; develop- Buying of Specific Merchandise Area
ing proprietary brands; negotiating prices
Alternate Title(s): None Buyer—Television Shopping Channel
Salary Range: $32,000 to $85,000+
Employment Prospects: Fair
Assistant Buyer
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
located in areas hosting television shopping channels;
three premier channels are located in West Chester,
Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.; other chan- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Negotiating
nels may be located throughout the country in areas skills; ability to forecast trends; verbal and written
hosting local and cable television shopping channels communications skills; creativity; personable; orga-
Prerequisites: nized; understanding of the retail industry; under-
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in standing of electronic retailing; energetic; ability to
business, management, fashion, merchandising, or multitask; detail oriented; understanding of trends;
a related area computer skills
Experience—Experience in buying and product
development

Position Description kitchen, home, electronics, toys, gifts, crafts, leisure and
Television shopping, also known as electronic retail- fitness among others. Within each of these categories
ing, showcases a variety of products in a wide array of there are subcategories. For example, fashion subcatego-
merchandise areas. In order to entice viewers to tune in ries might include accessories, handbags, shoes, career-
and call to make a purchase, these channels need to be wear, outerwear, and more. Electronics might include
selling up-to-date and innovative merchandise. Finding areas like phones, cameras, computers, and peripherals,
just the right merchandise to sell is an essential part of etc. Jewelry might be separated into fashion and fine
the bottom line of all retail outlets, and television shop- jewelry, silver, gold, and gems. Within each of these sub-
ping channels are no exception. The individuals who do categories, there might even be additional subcategories
this job are called buyers. such as specific vendors or proprietary brands.
Buyers hold an important position in the television Buyers work with merchandise planners, program-
shopping industry. They need to not only find the per- ming managers, and others on the television team as
fect merchandise, but negotiate great prices so people well as vendors to develop the perfect product selec-
will be willing to buy it as well as paying for shipping tion. It is essential in doing this to come up with prod-
and handling. ucts that will be exciting, can be presented well, priced
A Buyer Television Shopping Channel works in the competitively, and irresistible.
merchandising department. Individuals are responsible Buyers deal with salespeople, manufacturers, whole-
for specific categories of merchandise. These might salers and inventors to find the new merchandise viewers
include broad categories such as clothing, jewelry, beauty, see on television shopping channels everyday. Individu-

182     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


als may deal with both established vendors and new from a vendor, but the reasons. If too many products are
vendors to find fresh and innovative products. In some returned because merchandise is defective, the individual
cases, shopping channels hold competitions or other may look for a new vendor to supply a similar product.
events to locate vendors with new innovative products. An interesting part of the job is actually developing
Sometimes individuals meet with vendors at the televi- proprietary product lines. These lines essentially mean
sion channel headquarters. In other situations, the indi- that the television shopping channel can cut out the
vidual goes on buying trips to visit suppliers or find new middleman. In essence the shopping channel creates
vendors in various locations throughout the country or a line of clothing, cookware, housewares, foods, etc.,
the world, or to trade shows, expos, and exhibitions. that is only available on the specific shopping channel.
Buyers must have the ability to identify new prod- When doing this the Buyer may meet with manufactur-
ucts that will be successful. Every product does not sell ers of known brands and negotiate deals where they will
well on television. Electronic retailing lends itself to sell- manufacture products similar to theirs or with specific
ing products that can be presented, demonstrated, and features under a product line name created by the shop-
explained easily on television. These products may solve ping channel. QVC, for example, has created their own
everyday problems many of us have or simply make line of cookware called Cooks Essentials, their own line
life easier. Some may be unique; other may not be sold of luxury bed linens called Amadeus, and their own
in any other retail outlet. Once merchandise is found, lines of casual clothing called Sports Savvy and Denim
Buyers need to determine how popular it will be so they and Company to name just a few.
can accurately determine the number of pieces to buy. As part of their job, Buyers often work with people
Depending on the product and the shopping channel, in other departments. These may include individuals
this might be 1,000 pieces, 1,000,000 pieces, or more. in quality control, the legal department, merchandising
Size and color must also be determined. If the Buyer is managers, planners, programming managers, and ven-
working in fashion, he or she must know the range of dors. Together they work toward developing new shows
sizes that sell best and colors that are proven. Similarly, or ideas for the television shopping channel as well as
in the jewelry area, they must know what type of jewelry making sure every product is of the highest quality.
sells best to their customers, popular sizes, and/or gems. Buyers working at television shopping channels often
The best prices and terms from vendors must be negoti- have the unique opportunity of seeing how well their
ated. Television shopping channels commonly have one product choices are doing—almost instantaneously.
or more special values every day that are supposed to be Today’s technology means that as soon as a product is
an extraordinary price and product. For example, QVC presented on television, sales can be tracked. Seeing a
has a “Today’s Special Value” while HSN has “Today’s product sell out in a matter of minutes can be very grati-
Special.” In order to make these a really good value to fying for a Buyer, as can great customer reviews.
customers, Buyers must first locate a very special prod- Other responsibilities of Buyers working at a televi-
uct that appeals to a wide audience and then negotiate sion shopping channel might include:
the best prices and terms possible from the featured
vendor. This generally can be accomplished by purchas- •  Attending vendor meetings
ing huge quantities of the product that are then featured •  Sourcing new vendors for product and show ideas
prominently in shows during the day. •  Developing special values
Individuals write orders for vendors to fill for prod- •  Studying sales record and inventory levels of current
ucts that they purchase. In addition to placing initial stock to see what is selling and what is not
orders, they also write special orders or reorders of •  Overseeing and managing staff
merchandise that is selling well or has sold out. They •  Leading focus groups
must keep appraised of the status of stock and prod-
ucts that sell particularly well. In this manner, they can Salaries
determine what products are popular and what should Earnings for Buyers working at television shopping
be reordered and what will not be ordered again. channels can range from approximately $32,000 to
Buyers often watch the shows where products they $85,000 or more. Variables affecting earnings include
have purchased are presented. By doing this they can the size, location, prestige, and popularity of the specific
hear comments from customers, hearing what customers shopping channel as well as the experience and respon-
want and what they like (or dislike) about the products. sibilities of the Buyer. Other factors affecting earnings
They can also get ideas for future purchases.Buyers must include the level the individual is in the organization as
keep up with not only the number of product returns well as his or her professional reputation.

Television Shopping Channels 183


Employment Prospects The ability to predict trends is critical in buying.
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking Successful Buyers have the innate sense of knowing
positions as Buyers for television shopping channels. what will be popular before it is. They have that special
While there are only a limited number of channels, each ability to project what colors will be hot, what products
merchandise area generally has a number of buyers. will be hot, and what people just won’t be able to resist.
Individuals may find opportunities with one of the Negotiating skills are essential to Buyers. Finding
more popular television shopping channels such as the perfect products and not knowing how to or being
QVC, HSN, or ShopNBC or one of the local shopping able to comfortably negotiate will seriously hurt the
channels or smaller, lesser-known cable shopping chan- bottom line of the electronic retailer.
nels. Opportunities are also available at shopping chan- Buyers should be creative individuals with an
nels in other countries. understanding of both the retail and electronic retailing
industries. Good communications skills, both verbal
Advancement Prospects and written, are necessary. Buyers should be organized,
Advancement prospects for Buyers at television shop- detailed-oriented individuals with the ability to multi-
ping channels are fair. Individuals may climb the career task effectively.
Computer skills are necessary.
ladder in a number of ways. Some advance their careers
by becoming buying managers or directors for a spe-
Unions and Associations
cific merchandise area. Others become merchandise
Individuals interested in careers as Buyers for televi-
managers. Still others find similar positions at larger,
sion shopping channels can contact the National Retail
more prestigious television shopping channels resulting
Federation (NRF). They might also want to contact the
in increased responsibilities and earnings.
Electronic Retailing Association (ERA). Buyers might
It is important to note that advancement prospects
additionally belong to trade associations specific to the
often depend on the career aspirations of the Buyer.
area of merchandise they are purchasing. For example,
There have been Buyers at television shopping chan-
Buyers responsible for fashion or footwear may belong
nels who have become program hosts and others who
to the American Apparel and Footwear Association
have created their own lines and become vendors
(AAFA), Fashion Group International (FGI), and the
themselves. It all depends on what the individual wants
International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA).
to do.
Tips for Entry
Education and Training 1. Check out the Web sites of the various television
A college degree is generally required for Buyers work- shopping networks. Most list openings.
ing at television shopping channels. Good majors 2. Even if there isn’t an opening, send your résumé
include business administration, marketing, manage- and a short cover letter. You can never tell when
ment, fashion merchandising, or related areas. Indi- a job opening will occur. If your résumé is there,
viduals may additionally go through executive training you might get a call before someone else.
programs either at the shopping channel or while 3. Openings are often listed on popular job search
employed by another company. These programs help sites such as the Monster board, Yahoo! HotJobs,
individuals learn how to become Buyers through on- and Indeed.
the-job training. It should be noted that while a college 4. If you are still in college, contact one of the major
degree is required for most positions, experience may electronic retailers to find out if they have any
be accepted in lieu of education. Individuals will find intern openings.
reading trade and consumer publications in the buy- 5. Positions may be advertised in the classified
ing area in which they are working to be very useful in sections of newspapers under headings includ-
keeping up with trends. ing “Retail Opportunities,” “Retail,” “Electronic
Retailing,” “Buyer,” etc. Don’t forget to check out
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits display advertisements listing one of more job
Buyers aspiring to work at television shopping chan- openings of a particular retailer.
nels need a good amount of experience. This might be 6. Contact executive recruiters specializing in the
obtained by working as an assistant buyer at a shopping retail industry. Make sure you check ahead of
channel or a buyer in another area of retail. Experience time to see who pays the fee when you get the
in product development will also be helpful. job—you or the employer.

184 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


FASHION STYLIST—TELEVISION
SHOPPING CHANNEL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Selecting and coordinating merchandise, Fashion Stylist for Larger, More Prestigious
styles, jewelry, and accessories for models to wear Television Shopping Channel, Television
during on-air presentations; creating image for Shopping Channel Fashion Stylist
models Supervisor, or Stylist in Other Industry
Alternate Title(s): Stylist
Salary Range: $28,000 to $65,000+ Fashion Stylist—Television Shopping
Employment Prospects: Fair Channel
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
Stylist in Other Industry
located in areas hosting television shopping chan-
nels; three premier channels are located in West
Chester, Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.;
other channels may be located throughout the coun-
try in areas hosting local and cable television shop- Special Skills and Personality Traits—Fashion
ping channels. sense; verbal communications skills; creativity;
Prerequisites: personable; organized; understanding of the retail
Education and Training—Education requirements industry; understanding of television cameras and
vary; see text lighting; energetic; ability to multitask; detail ori-
Experience—Experience working with a stylist may ented; understanding of fashion and trends
be required or preferred

Position Description Models are often also used during on-air presenta-
Television shopping has exploded over the past few tions to help display and showcase products in a more
years. While catalogs and even the Internet to some natural manner. When presenting fashion and jewelry,
extent give people the ability to see a photo of a prod- models help viewers actually see products on a “live”
uct, television shopping gives them the opportunity to person. This makes it easier to imagine how it will
really see what a product looks like and what it can do. look on them. Similarly, models are frequently used
While some people watch television shopping channels for beauty shows featuring makeup and hair products
for the entertainment value and others watch for com- as well. Models may also be used in live shows such as
pany, the largest number of people who watch televi- those featuring fitness products, home goods, and other
sion shopping channels do it to shop. housewares.
Television shopping channels present a wide vari- The individual responsible for the supervision of the
ety of products. In order to entice people to not only models during the live production of shows is called
watch, but to buy products, shopping channels put a lot the Fashion Stylist. The stylist is ultimately in charge
of effort into making sure products are showcased in a of creating the on-air image of the models. Fashion
positive manner. Stylists assure that the models seen during on-air pre-
To do this, the shopping network may build various sentations look the best they can while making sure the
sets to emulate rooms such as kitchens, living rooms, company’s products are showcased most effectively. To
bedrooms, home offices, garages, etc., so it looks more do this, they coordinate the image of models during
realistic when presenting products. They also have spe- on-air presentations so that their attire and accessories
cific sets built so fashions, jewelry, and beauty products complement the products being sold. Fashion Stylists
can be showcased effectively. select and coordinate all merchandise, styles, jewelry,

Television Shopping Channels 185


and accessories that models wear during fashion and The stylist may also develop a “look” for models to
jewelry presentations as well as any other on-air presen- wear when they are part of beauty shows. The stylist
tations where models are used. will often create a different image for models to wear
To do this, the individual is given a list of the prod- during demonstrations for each different beauty ven-
ucts that will be presented during an on-air presenta- dor. Depending on the situation, the Fashion Stylist
tion of a specific show. He or she is then responsible may work with a hair stylist or suggest the way models
for coordinating wardrobe pieces and accessories for should wear their hair during a presentation. Similarly,
each model to wear. As models generally present a there may be a makeup artist on staff or the stylist may
number of different items during a program, the styl- suggest a certain look for the model’s makeup. In some
ist is usually responsible for creating a number of dif- cases, the shows that the models are appearing in are
ferent looks. Additionally, in certain programs such not fashion, jewelry, or beauty oriented. Instead they
as those that feature fashions, there may be three or may be fitness shows or programs focusing on house-
four models. The stylist is responsible for styling each wares or other goods. In these situations, the stylists
of them. may work toward creating an image for models that will
In some cases, the stylist may coordinate outfits for be consistent with the products being sold. For exam-
a model from a number of pieces being presented in ple, if a model is appearing in a show featuring sheets
the specific show. In others, he or she may coordinate or bedding, the stylist may dress him or her in pajamas,
pieces not only from the particular show but from other a robe, and slippers. Stylists often have assistants who
items that shopping channel offers. The individual may, help them perform their duties by making sure cloth-
for example, have one model wear a skirt, jacket, and ing is clean, steaming it so it looks perfect, and helping
blouse that are all products in the show. The stylist may dress the models. Fashion Stylists may work with a vari-
have another model wearing a jacket that is in the show ety of additional people including buyers, vendors, and
with a pair of jeans that are not. Yet another model may often even the designers to learn what type of image
be asked to wear the jacket with a dress that is not even they want the models to convey when presenting their
sold on the shopping channel. The idea is to showcase products. In this manner, the stylist can coordinate the
the products being sold, illustrating how they can be image of the models and insure each product presenta-
worn in a variety of situations. tion is as effective as possible.
The stylist must always accessorize each outfit. That It is essential that the stylist create a “look” that
means choosing just the right shoes, jewelry, scarves, is consistent with the image both the vendor and the
hosiery, purses, etc. The idea is to create a look that channel wants and which will complement the prod-
viewers see and hopefully want. ucts being sold. To do this, the stylist must be aware of
The stylist must always keep the products being fea- the demographics of the viewers of the channel. What
tured in mind when choosing styles for models to wear. that means is that even if the current trend is crop tops
If the stylist is working on dressing models for a high- and minidresses, if the demographics of the particular
end jewelry show with a lot of necklaces and pendants, channel indicate that viewers would not generally wear
he or she might choose a classic solid color gown with fashions like that, the stylist cannot dress models in
an open neckline instead of wearing a button-down crop tops and minidresses. What many successful styl-
blouse with a busy pattern. If models are part of an ists do in situations like this is find a way to incorporate
outerwear show full of coats, they must be accessorized current trends and styles in a manner that takes view-
with boots, hats, scarves, and gloves. ers’ tastes into mind.
Successful stylists working for television shopping It is essential that stylists continually keep up with
channels need the ability to create a variety of looks new styles, colors, and trends in the fashion world. In
that viewers want to identify with. When this happens, order to accomplish this, he or she must read fashion
viewers will hopefully have a difficult time resisting magazines, attend fashion shows, and go to other events
the urge to pick up the phone and buy. Sometimes a to stay in the loop.
stylist dresses a model using an accessory such as a Other responsibilities of Fashion Stylists working at
scarf in an interesting way that viewers may not have a television shopping channel might include:
thought of. The stylist may use the scarf as a traditional
scarf or may twist it and knot it in such a manner that •  Going on trips with buyers
it looks like a necklace. Viewers who might not even •  Going shopping to find items such as accessories,
have considered buying the scarf might then call in shoes, or complementary fashions necessary to create
and order it. the perfect look and image

186 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


•  Traveling for remotes or apprentices to other stylists either at a shopping
•  Assisting models with hair and/or makeup channel or in another industry.

Salaries Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits


Earnings for Fashion Stylists employed by television Experience as a stylist is required for this position. Some
shopping channels may vary greatly. There are some individuals obtain this experience as assistants, appren-
individuals who earn approximately $28,000 and oth- tices, or even interns. Others have worked as stylists
ers who earn $65,000 or more. Variables affecting earn- in industries other than television shopping. Stylists
ings include the size, location, prestige, and popularity should be creative individuals with a great fashion sense.
of the specific shopping channel as well as the experi- An understanding of fashion as well as television cam-
ence, responsibilities, and professional reputation of eras and lighting is essential. Successful stylists have an
the individual. innate sense of what will look good. They know how to
pull together not only an outfit, but a total look. Verbal
Employment Prospects communication skills are needed for this type of job.
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seek- Stylists should be personable people who like to work
ing positions as stylists at television shopping chan- with others. The ability to multitask is vital. During an
nels. There are a limited number of television channel on-air presentation, there may be three or four models
shopping channels and a limited number of positions. continually changing outfits. Individuals should addi-
Individuals may find opportunities with one of the tionally be detailed oriented and organized. An under-
more popular television shopping channels such as standing of fashion, colors, and trends is critical.
QVC, HSN, or ShopNBC or one of the local shop-
ping channels or smaller, lesser-known cable shopping Unions and Associations
channels. Individuals interested in a career as a Fashion Stylist
might want to contact the Association of Image Consul-
Advancement Prospects tants International (AICI) or the Association of Stylists
Advancement prospects for Stylists at television shop- and Coordinators (ASC).
ping channels are fair. Individuals may climb the
career ladder by becoming stylist supervisors. Some Tips for Entry
individuals advance their career by locating similar 1. Check out the Web sites of the various television
positions at a larger or more prestigious shopping shopping networks. Most list openings.
channel. This generally results in increased responsi- 2. Even if there isn’t an opening, send your résumé
bilities and earnings. Some individuals also become and a short cover letter. You can never tell when
stylists in other industries or start their own stylist a job opening will occur. If your résumé is there,
consultation business. you might get a call before someone else.
3. Openings are also often listed on popular job
Education and Training search sites such as those at monster.com, hotjobs.
Education and training requirements vary for Fashion com, and indeed.com.
Stylists working at television shopping channels. Some 4. Consider taking some extra classes, workshops,
employers require or prefer individuals to hold a degree and seminars on fashion trends, styling, and tele-
in fashion, merchandising, or a related area. Others will vision lighting. In addition to picking up some
accept experience in lieu of education. Stylists often new information, you might make some good
receive on-the-job training by working as an assistant contacts.

Television Shopping Channels 187


PRODUCT INFORMATION
COPYWRITER—TELEVISION
SHOPPING CHANNEL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Writing product descriptions for merchandise Television Shopping Channel Senior
sold on television shopping channels and on their Copywriter
Web sites
Alternate Title(s): Copywriter Product Information Copywriter—
Salary Range: $35,000 to $70,000+ Television Shopping Channel
Employment Prospects: Fair
Advancement Prospects: Good
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position—Posi- Copywriter in Other Industry, Journalist, or
Position in Public Relations or Advertising
tions located in areas hosting television shopping
channels; three premier channels are located in West
Chester, Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.;
other channels may be located throughout the coun-
try in areas hosting local and cable television shop- Experience—Professional writing experience nec-
ping channels essary
Prerequisites: Special Skills and Personality Traits—Excellent
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree in writing skills; creativity; good command of the
communications, journalism, English, marketing, En­glish language; strong computer skills; detail ori-
advertising, or related field ented; ability to prioritize and manage time

Position Description Product Information Copywriters must write clear,


When television shopping first began, the only way to concise, informative, and persuasive descriptions of
view it was on cable television. Today, in addition to products. They must be compelling, attention grab-
watching it on TV, individuals can simply stop by the bing, and interesting. Additionally, they must write
channel’s Web site. They then have the option of watch- copy that gives details in which potential purchasers
ing the broadcast via the Internet or browsing through might be interested. When writing product descrip-
the products on the Web site. tions, the Product Information Copywriter may do a
Television shopping channels have thousands and bit of research. He or she may go over the information
thousands of different products in a wide array of areas. from the buyers as well as working with merchants and
As potential buyers can’t see the actual product, pick it vendors. At times, it may be necessary for the Product
up and feel it, or see the box or packaging, it is essential Information Copywriter to check with the shopping
that the product is described as fully as possible. This channel’s legal department to assure that claims made
description is then used on the Web site, on cards hosts about a specific product are truthful and honest. Often
refer to when presenting the product, or as descriptions shopping channel buyers or vendors may provide
when products are previewed on air. the Product Informaton Copywriter with informa-
The individuals who write these descriptions are tion about a product. The individual may incorporate
called Product Information Copywriters. This is an this information into the product description while
important job at a television shopping channel. The enhancing it. The Product Information Copywriter
descriptions that are written can mean the difference may use the 5 W’s when writing copy. Who is the prod-
between someone wanting a product and actually pur- uct for; What is it and what makes it unique; When
chasing it or simply passing it by. can it be used; Where can it be used; and Why should

188     Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


someone buy it. It is often helpful when writing the one of the local shopping channels or smaller, lesser-
product description for the individual to determine known cable shopping channels.
what makes the product unique and how it is different Opportunities may be full time or part time. In some
from similar products. situations, individuals may also be hired to be on-call.
The individual may include additional informa- This means that when the television shopping chan-
tion in the description such as the manufacturer, care nel has extra work, they may use on call employees. In
instructions, and the country in which the product was other situations, there may be positions in which indi-
made. He or she may also include materials the prod- viduals can telecommute part of the time.
uct is made of, sizes, measurements, colors, and so on.
The product copy may also include simple wording on Advancement Prospects
how to use the product. Television shopping channels Advancement prospects for Product Information
continually bring in products both for on-air presenta- Copywriters at television shopping channels are good.
tions and for on their Web site. Product Information Individuals may climb the career ladder in a number
Copywriters often work under tight deadlines handling of ways. Some individuals find similar positions with
the high volume of product descriptions needed for all larger, more prestigious television shopping channels
the new products that are added to the inventory each resulting in increased responsibilities and earnings.
week. Others are promoted to head up the product informa-
Depending on the specific shopping channel and its tion copywriting of their specific merchandise area or
structure, Product Information Copywriters may write become senior copywriters at the television shopping
the copy for product descriptions for all merchandise channel. Still others are promoted to editors overseeing
categories or may be assigned a specific category or area the other copywriters. There are some Product Infor-
of products. Individuals may also be assigned to write mation Copywriters working for television shopping
the product information for on-air product presenta- channels who also locate positions handling copywrit-
tions, for the television shopping channel Web site, or ing in other industries.
for both.
Additional responsibilities of Product Information Education and Training
Copywriters working at television shopping channels A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for those
may include: aspiring to work as Product Information Copywriters at
television shopping channels. Good choices for majors
•  Proofreading copy include advertising, marketing, communications, pub-
•  Revising and rewriting copy lic relations, English, or a related field. Individuals will
•  Ensuring consistency in product information copy find classes, seminars, and workshops in copywriting,
advertising, and related areas helpful.
Salaries
Earnings for Product Information Copywriters work- Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
ing at television shopping channels can range from Product Information Copywriters working at televi-
approximately $35,000 to $70,000 or more. Variables sion shopping channels generally are required to have
affecting earnings include the size, location, prestige, professional writing experience. This may be obtained
and popularity of the specific shopping channel as well through jobs as journalists or positions in public rela-
as the experience and responsibilities of the individual. tions or advertising or copywriting in another indus-
Other factors affecting earnings include the level the try. Product Information Copywriters working at
individual is in the organization, as well as his or her television shopping channels should possess excellent
professional reputation. writing skills and a good command of the English
language. Individuals need a working knowledge of
Employment Prospects grammar, spelling, word usage, and punctuation. The
Employment prospects are fair for individuals seeking ability to effectively multitask is essential. Product
positions as Product Information Copywriters for tele- Information Copywriters need to be detail-oriented,
vision shopping channels. While there are only a lim- organized people who can prioritize and meet tight
ited number of channels, each hires a good number of deadlines. It should be noted that before being hired,
people for these type of positions. Individuals may find some employers require an applicant to complete a
opportunities with one of the more popular television writing test to illustrate his or her competency in
shopping channels such as QVC, HSN, or ShopNBC or writing.

Television Shopping Channels 189


Unions and Associations 4. If you are still in college, contact one of the major
Individuals interested in careers in this field might electronic retailers to find out if they have any
belong to a number of professional or trade associa- internships in the copywriting area. If they don’t,
tions that provide professional support and guidance. ask if one can be put together.
These include the Business/Professional Advertising 5. Positions may be advertised in the classified sec-
Association (BPAA), the Direct Marketing Associa- tions of newspapers under headings including
tion (DMA), and the American Marketing Association “Copywriter,” “Television Shopping Channel,”
(AMA). They might also contact the National Retail “Electronic Retailing,” “Product Information
Federation (NRF) and the Electronic Retailing Asso- Copywriter,” etc. Don’t forget to check out boxed
ciation (ERA) for additional career information. display advertisements listing one of more job
openings of a particular shopping channel.
Tips for Entry 6. Contact executive recruiters specializing in copy-
1. Shopping channel Web sites list many of their job writing. Make sure you check ahead of time to
openings. Check them out. see who pays the fee when you get the job—you
2. Send your résumé and a short cover letter to the or the employer.
human resources department of television shop- 7. Put together a portfolio of your best writing sam-
ping channels asking about openings. You can ples. Include a variety of samples to illustrate
never tell when a job opportunity will occur. If your writing talents. When you go on an inter-
your résumé is there, you might get a call before view, bring your portfolio with you.
someone else. 8. Look at products sold on television shopping
3. Don’t forget to check for opening on popular job channels and practice writing product descrip-
search sites such as those at monster.com and tions.
hotjobs.com, as well as job search sites specific to
the retail and copywriting industries.

190 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


WEB SITE CONTENT PRODUCER—
TELEVISION SHOPPING CHANNEL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Develop, write, and maintain interesting con- Executive Web Site Content Producer,
tent on television shopping channel Web site; over- Senior Web Site Content Producer, or
see the implementation of Web content Web Site Content Producer for More
Alternate Title(s): Web site Content Manager; Web site Prestigious Television Shopping Channel
Content Editor; Content Producer
Salary Range: $29,000 to $75,000+ Web Site Content Producer—Television
Employment Prospects: Fair Shopping Channel
Advancement Prospects: Fair
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions
Journalist or Writer
located in areas hosting television shopping chan-
nels; three premier channels are located in West
Chester, Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.;
other opportunities may be located throughout the
country in areas hosting local and cable television Special Skills and Personality Traits—Good
shopping channels command of the English language; excellent writ-
Prerequisites: ing skills; creative; innovative; Internet savvy;
Education and Training—Bachelor’s degree knowledge of retail and electronic retail indus-
Experience—Writing and editing experience; expe- tries; good verbal and written communications
rience creating, editing, and managing Web content skills; organized

Position Description promote their Web site on air. Getting people to visit the
When television shopping first began in the 1970s, no site, however, is only half the battle. Finding ways to get
one could imagine that the Internet would be what it is them to visit on a regular basis is the challenge.
today; no one could imagine the sales it could generate. Television shopping channels have found that one way
Fast forward to the new millennium and the Internet is to make their Web sites more interesting so that visitors
a viable force in the retail industry. It should be no sur- will want to keep coming back is to create supplementary
prise then that today television shopping channels, like content in addition to their product information.
most other retailers, have their own Web sites. The individuals who help create this additional con-
Web sites give television shopping channels a pres- tent are called Web Site Content Producers. Their main
ence on the Web. This is essential for all retail businesses, function is to develop interesting and unique content
and television shopping channels are no exception. for the shopping channel Web site. In this position,
When television shopping channels first started Web Site Content Producers are responsible for concep-
their Web sites they did so to support the television tualizing, developing, and maintaining content so that
shopping channel and offer people another option in the site will attract and retain visitors on a regular basis.
buying. Today, however, television shopping Web sites It is hoped that while there, visitors may see something
are more integrated with the television broadcast. Peo- they want and place an order.
ple can watch the live broadcast on the Web site, view Web Site Content Producers are responsible for
products that have just been presented, take part in researching and writing engaging stories and articles
Web chats, and more. in a variety of areas and categories. Their job is similar
Television shopping channels have an easier time than to a combination of a print journalist and editor. In an
some other retailers making people aware that they have attempt to engage visitors keep hem on the site longer
a Web site because they have the ability to constantly as well as returning on a regular basis, Web Site Con-

Television Shopping Channels 191


tent Producers may use a variety of techniques. This One of the exciting things about the Internet is that
includes developing stories and articles for the Web site it can be interactive. With this in mind, the content
on a variety of subjects that may be of interest to visi- producer may develop surveys, questionnaires, or other
tors. For example, content producers may create a sec- pieces to involve those visiting the site. These might
tion on the site focusing on the television channel show be stand-alone questionnaires or integrated into on-air
hosts. It might include bios, host interviews, their rec- production. The individual might additionally create
ommendations about product or gift ideas, and so on. Web chats, blogs, and forums that are onetime events or
Similarly, content producers may develop a section hosted on a regular basis.
on what is hot in fashion, trends in home decorating, or In some instances, one or more of the interactive
even recipes using cookware sold on the channel. The sections of the site may be related to promotions or
sky is the limit for savvy content producers as long as special happenings on the channel. For example, the
the content fits with the channel’s corporate culture. shopping channel may have an hourlong show debuting
The Web Site Content Producer may develop e- a hot recording artist’s new CD complete with the star
mail text, videos, and photos for inclusion on the site. giving an on-air mini-concert. Web site visitors may
Television shopping channels, like other retailers, have be asked to give their opinions or thoughts of the new
learned that people want to be part of a community. CD and within minutes their words can help generate
The individual may develop Web chats, blogs, and excitement.
forums in order to get visitors involved in the site. In The Web Site Content Producer is often respon-
this manner, visitors start feeling that they are part of sible for finding pictures, animation, and other graph-
the television shopping channel community. This in ics to make the content more appealing. He or she
turn often makes visitors look forward to going to the
may utilize the services of graphic artists, photog-
site to see what others are saying as well as participat-
raphers, or others to accomplish this task. The indi-
ing themselves.
vidual may work with the Webmaster to find images
Depending on the size, structure, and extent of the
that are appropriate and will look good but not affect
shopping channel Web site, there may be more than
the ease of opening the site. In order to keep the site
one content producer. Different content producers may
fresh, Web Site Content Producers may be responsible
be assigned to handle host blogs, product blogs, beauty
for daily updates.
forums, fashion forums, cooking forums, new product
Other duties of Web Site Content Producers work-
forums, and so on. Still other content producers may
ing at television shopping channels include:
be responsible for stories and news about the shop-
ping channel, special events, and new products. It all
•  Staying up-to-date with shopping channel events,
depends on how comprehensive the shopping channel
premier shows and product launches
wants the content of the Web site to be.
•  Responding to inquiries from people who visit the
Depending on the structure of the specific shop-
site
ping channel Web site, there may be an executive Web
•  Finding the best way to present information and
Site Content Producer responsible for overseeing the
graphics
work of all the other content producers as well as on-
•  Handling Webcams and chats
call copywriters, freelancers, and graphic artists. These
•  Working with the Web site marketing manager in
individuals are also expected to edit the articles given
handling online contests and promotions
to them by other content producers or writers work-
ing under their direction and then giving them to the •  Monitoring blogs and user comments to insure
Webmaster to put online. There might also be senior appropriate content
Web Site Content Producers who may be responsible
for overseeing the work of the other content producers Salaries
working in their subject area. Annual earnings for Web Site Content Producers work-
The individual may be responsible for interviewing ing at television shopping channels can range from
people such as celebrity guests, vendors, or inventors of approximately $29,000 to $75,000 or more annually.
new products featured on the shopping channel. He or Variables include the location, size, and prestige of the
she will then develop pieces for the Web site. The con- shopping channel as well as the importance it puts on its
tent producer may also be expected to arrange for pho- Web site. Other variables influencing earnings include
tos and obtain other information to make the online the responsibilities, experience, and professional repu-
stories interesting. tation of the individual.

192 Career Opportunities in the Retail and Wholesale industry


Employment Prospects innovative, organized, and creative with great commu-
Employment prospects are fair for Web Site Content nications skills and Internet savvy. An excellent com-
Producers working at television shopping channels. mand of the English language is needed for this type of
While there are only a limited number of channels, each position. An understanding of the retail and electronic
generally has a number of people in this position. Unless retail industries is helpful.
individuals live in an area hosting a television shopping Web Site Content Producers should have the ability
channel, they will generally need to relocate for a job. to multitask and work under pressure without getting
Individuals may find opportunities with one of the more flustered. People skills are mandatory in this type of
popular television shopping channels such as QVC, position.
HSN, or ShopNBC or one of the local shopping chan-
nels on smaller, lesser-known cable shopping channels. Unions and Associations
One of the interesting things about being a Web Site Individuals interested in learning more about careers in
Content Producer is that due to the nature of the job, the field may obtain additional information by contact-
some employers may allow individuals to telecommute ing the Internet Professionals Association (IPA), the
all or part of the time. Individuals may also find part- National Retail Federation (NRF), and the Electronic
time or consulting positions. Retailing Association (ERA).

Advancement Prospects Tips for Entry


Web Site Content Producers working for television 1. Television shopping channels generally post their
shopping channels may advance their careers in a num- openings on their Web site. Look for the section
ber of ways. Individuals responsible for a specific area of the Web site which says “employment oppor-
of a Web site may be promoted to a position as a senior tunities” or “careers.”
content producer. Senior content producers may be 2. Positions may be located in the classified sec-
promoted to executive content producers. tion of newspapers. Look under headings such as
Individuals may also find similar positions at one of “Web Site Content Producer,” “Web Site Content
the larger or more prestigious shopping channels result- Manager,” “Electronic Retailing,” “Web sites,” and
ing in increased responsibilities and earnings. Some “Web Careers.” Don’t forget to look at boxed dis-
Web Site Content Producers find similar positions in play ads for specific television shopping channels
other industries. advertising more than one job.
3. This is the perfect type of job to look for online.
Education and Training Start with some of the more popular job sites
Television shopping channels generally require their such as those at www.hotjobs.com and www.
Web Site Content Producers to hold a minimum of monster.com and then go from there.
a four-year college degree. Good choices for majors 4. Jobs openings may also be located on career
include journalism, communications, English, public sites specific to the retail and electronic retailing
relations, marketing, or liberal arts. Courses, work- industries.
shops, and seminars in public relations, writing, 5. Get as much experience writing as you can. If
promotion, and journalism, as well as the retail and you are still in school, get involved in your school
electronic retailing industries, will be helpful in honing newspaper and/or Web site.
skills and making new contacts. While it may not be 6. Look for internships at television shopping chan-
required, individuals who know HTML (a program- nels. These will give you on-the-job training,
ming language) may have a leg up on other candidates. experience, and the opportunity to make impor-
tant contacts. Contact the human resources
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits departments of television shopping channels to
The larger, more prestigious shopping channels that put see what they offer.
a great deal of importance on their Web site will gener- 7. Consider a part-time job for a local newspaper to
ally seek out individuals who have a proven track record. get some writing experience and to build up your
Depending on the specific position, they may require contacts.
the individual to have a minimum of three years’ experi- 8. Send your résumé and a short cover letter to the
ence creating, editing, and/or managing Web content. human resources department of television shop-
Writing and editing experience will be useful, no ping channels. Ask that your résumé be kept on
matter what the capacity. The ideal candidate will be file, if no current openings exist.

Television Shopping Channels 193


CUSTOMER SERVICE
REPRESENTATIVE—TELEVISION
SHOPPING CHANNEL
CAREER PROFILE Career ladder

Duties: Resolving customer service issues; calming irate Customer Service Shift Supervisor
customers; issuing credits; answering questions
Alternate Title(s): Customer Service Associate, Cus-
Customer Service Representative—
tomer Service Agent Television Shopping Channel
Salary Range: $24,000 to $37,000+
Employment Prospects: Good
Advancement Prospects: Fair Customer Service Representative
Best Geographical Location(s) for Position: Positions in Other Industry, Call Center
Representative, or Entry Level
located in areas hosting television shopping chan-
nels; three premier channels are located in West
Chester, Pa., Tampa, Fla., and Eden Prairie, Minn.;
other channels may be located throughout the Experience—Experience requirements vary; see
country in areas hosting local and cable television text
shopping channels; call centers may also be located Special Skills and Personality Traits—Customer
throughout the country service skills; good verbal and written commu-
Prerequisites: nications skills; even-tempered; calm; computer
Education and Training—Minimum of high school skills; ability to multitask; good listening skills;
diploma or equivalent; on-the-job training empathetic

Position Description shopping channel either by calling a toll-free number or


Today people have more choices than ever choosing e-mailing via the Internet.
where they want to shop. What sets retailers apart, to Customer Service Representatives are responsible
a great extent, is the level of customer service they pro- for interacting with customers, providing information
vide. Television shopping channels pride themselves on in response to inquiries about products or services, and
offering some of the best customer service in retail. The handling and resolving complaints.
people who provide the day-to-day customer service at Customers may call customer service for a number
television shopping channels are called Customer Ser- of reasons. They may want to ask questions about a
vice Representatives. These individuals are the liaison product or may want to know the status of an order.
between customers and the shopping channel. Their They may also have a problem or concern that they
actions and the manner in which they handle calls can want resolved. At the beginning of each call, the Cus-
often mean the difference between a customer having a tomer Service Representative identifies the customer
bad shopping experience and a customer having a good assuring that he or she has the customer’s correct name,
experience. address, and phone numbe