A career in the retail industry offers a wide range of opportunities for go-getters who truly believe the sky is the limit. An outgoing personality, combined with detailed product knowledge and top-notch selling skills, can result in the achievement of both financial and personal goals.
Though most entry-level retail positions do not require an advanced degree or further education, those positions can be used as springboards for upper-level careers in retail that can be challenging as well as financially lucrative. If you have the desire to climb the retail career ladder, make the choice to further your education. Possible career paths in retail are diverse and can be supported by obtaining a degree that is the right fit for the path you choose to take.
Retail management can include oversight of the daily operations of a service or product store. Depending on the type of operation, management responsibilities may include the areas of human resources, financial oversight or logistics. A business management degree can provide a solid understanding of finance, inventory control, marketing and the legal issues facing retail operators.
A marketing degree can help launch a career in retail merchandising, advertising, sales or customer service. Core skills in product placement, niche marketing, media advertising and customer surveys can form the basis for a solid marketing position. Today's marketing also requires proficiency in technology as social media is rapidly becoming a commonly used marketing tool.
If your interests lean toward crunching numbers, a retail career is still within the realm. A financial degree sets the stage for expertise in budgeting, costing and forecasting. Retailers need experts who can analyze sales reports, trending reports, historical statistics and future projections. Successful retailers need to ensure that price points are set correcty to garner profits. A financial wizard can define the difference between marginal profits and healthy profits.
If you have an eye for fashion and trends, a career as a retail buyer is an attainable goal. In addition to a having a knack for purchasing items that become the season's hot sellers, retail buyers need to hone their expertise in forecasting, budgeting and sales analysis. An business degree with an emphasis in fashion merchandising is a viable option.
Retail operations are run by people. Large retail operations require a human resources department to handle hiring, training, retention, benefits and a host of other human resource functions. Furthering your education with a degree in Human Resource Management can open up a variety of positions in the retail field.
If you make the choice to pursue an advanced degree that will catapult your retail career, do your homework first. Some retail companies offer in-house training programs for employees on the fast track. Others may offer a tuition reimbursement program for employees who pursue a degree in their field and who maintain a certain grade point average. Research colleges that offer degrees in your specialty, as well as online programs that offer enough flexibility to attain a degree while continuing to work. Look for retailers who offer internship programs or students. Lastly, when approaching graduation, utilize the services of the school's career center to assist in resume writing and job searches in the retail field.