Retail Associate Job Description

  • post a jobOn average, retail sales associates make $9.50 an hour
  • One-third of retail sales associates work part time
  • Retail sales associates are usually required to work evenings and weekends

What do retail sales associates do?

They're everywhere you shop, assisting you with hard-to-find items, answering questions and ultimately getting you to buy what they're selling. They provide a variety of services, from helping you pick out items to ringing up your purchases. Like cashiers, retail sales associates use cash registers to process transactions and are responsible for keeping track of all the money inside. You might encounter retail sales associates several times a day without realizing it - they work at department stores, grocery stores, cell phone stores and even car dealerships.

You've got to have a lot of patience to make it as a retail sales associate because unfortunately, you will run into your fair share of difficult customers. The most successful sales associates are polite, friendly and have a very outgoing personality. If you're not a naturally happy person who likes to work with others, then retail sales is not for you.

As a retail sales associate you've got to know what you're talking about; if you sell cars, you'll need to know specifics about each car's features, your dealership's financing policy and warranty services. The same goes for people who sell TVs, mattresses and clothing.

Most retail sales associates work indoors - but don't be surprised to find yourself outdoors, sometimes in bad weather, if you decide to sell cars, lumber or gardening equipment. Retail sales associates are on their feet a lot, so comfy shoes are a must.

Long hours and weekends are the norm for retail sales associates. Since most retail stores are busiest in November and December, you'll be required to work nights, weekends and holidays during the busy season.

How much do retail sales associates make?

You can make some pretty good money if you've got the skills. If you score a job with a good commission program and have a knack for sales, you can make upwards of $19 an hour; most car salespeople are in this range. On average, retail sales associates make $9.50 an hour. Be aware that some entry-level jobs will start you out as low as minimum wage, which is just $7.25 an hour.

What are the education requirements to be a retail sales associate?

It's a good rule of thumb that the more education you have, the better. Most entry-level retail sales associate jobs don't require you to have a degree, but most places will require that you have at least a high school diploma. If you're interested in someday becoming a manager, a college degree may be required.

Career paths for retail sales associates

You probably won't get a job selling Porsches right off the bat. Many entry-level sales associates start off selling small-ticket items, such as cosmetics. As they gain experience they move up to bigger items, like electronics and jewelry. After that, it's common to see sales associates move into management positions. A college degree, especially one with a concentration in business, will help you out if you're hoping to be a retail sales manager.

The future of retail sales associate jobs

It's a good time to become a retail sales associate. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), over half a million jobs will be created in the retail sales industry by 2016. Many new jobs will be at supercenters and warehouse clubs as they become more and more popular.

See all job descriptions



Auto Parts Counter Rep Job Description

  • Parts counter representative job descriptionOn average, parts counter representatives make around $9 per hour
  • Having familiarity with auto parts will make it easier for you to get a job
  • Job prospects will be impacted by increased internet sales

What do parts counter representatives do?

Most people's knowledge of car parts is limited to: engine, muffler, wipers and oil. If you can name a dozen others, you're well versed. If you can name a dozen more, you're an expert. Well, not really, but close to it.

Parts counter representatives are responsible for assisting customers in finding the appropriate parts for their vehicle. This job exists in two different places: retail automotive stores (think Advanced Auto Parts) and car dealerships. At a retail automotive store, you'll work one-on-one with customers to answer questions and find parts matching the make and model of their vehicles.

In a dealer setting, you'll work with customers and automotive mechanics to find accessories and order parts for repairs and upgrades to commercial and consumer vehicles.

How much do parts counter representatives make?

The average salary for all parts counter representatives is about $9 per hour. Parts counter representatives with extensive experience, or those who work for specialty automotive dealers or companies can expect to earn higher wages up to $19 per hour.

Education requirements

Generally, parts counter representatives should have completed or be in the process of completing their high school diploma or GED. Having informal training and some familiarity of different auto parts and problems certainly won't hurt your bid for a job. Most training is provided on the job, and comes with time.

Career paths for parts counter representatives

The career opportunities for parts counter representatives will vary based on the industry you work in. Parts counter reps working in automotive retail stores have opportunities for advancement in assistant manager and general manager positions. In car dealerships, promotions may be available in maintenance, purchasing and inventory, or sales.

The future of parts counter representatives

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects average growth in parts counter representative positions over the 2008-2018 decade. Growth will be tempered by the increasing trend of online shopping for bargains on automotive parts.

See all job descriptions



Customer Service Supervisor Job Description

Customer service supervisor jobsOn average, customer service supervisors make around $17 per hour. Job opportunities for customer service supervisors are increasing. Customer service supervisor positions are great entry-level management jobs.

What do customer service supervisors do?

"I'd like to return this."

"I'm sorry sir, we can't accept 8 track players purchased before 1972."

"I want to speak to your manager!"

Enter the customer service supervisor. As a customer service supervisor, your job is to diffuse difficult situations between customer service representatives and customers. You'll need a thorough grasp on what makes good business sense for the company. You'll need to make decisions that maximize profitability for the company, but maintain customer loyalty and that can be difficult.

Customer service supervisors also may be responsible for reconciling money at the end of the day, handling more difficult transactions, and filling in for customer service representatives and cashiers as need demands it.

Typically these positions are promotions for tenured representatives, but with the right skill set and work history, you could easily find a customer service supervisor position at the company of your choice.

How much do customer service supervisors make?

The average hourly pay for all customer service supervisors is about $17 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced customer service supervisors who successfully sell high-priced products can expect to earn up to $30 per hour.

What are the education requirements?

Education requirements will vary based on the company and product being sold, but many require a minimum of a high school diploma. Occasionally companies will require a bachelor's degree for supervisory and management positions. Nearly every company will require extensive training on company policy and procedures.

Career paths for customer service supervisors

Customer service jobs can lead to a variety of different careers. As with most jobs, supervisor roles almost always lead to management positions that over see one or more supervisory level employees. In a retail or restaurant setting there are additional general manager or district level positions to move in to.

The future of customer service supervisors

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects average growth for customer service supervisor positions. The largest portion of new jobs created will be from retail expansion into new markets.

See all job descriptions



Counter Attendant Job Description

What is a counter attendant job?On average, counter attendants make around $8.50 per hour. Part of counter attendants' hourly wage is based on tips they receive, and most counter attendants work nights and weekends.

What do counter attendants do?

Counter attendant is a term used to describe the job of those who stand behind a counter and take your order (usually food). These jobs are most commonly found at movie theaters, specialty food stores (like ice cream shops) or cafeterias.

Those working counter attendant jobs are often required to handle food and beverages throughout their shifts. Often these items are ready made or easy to assemble. To be a successful counter attendant, you'll need to be able to take orders from customers and deliver them back to the customers accurately.

Counter attendants are required to stand on their feet for their entire shift and occasionally lift heavy boxes, so being physically able to complete these aspects of the job is necessary.

How much do counter attendants make?

The average salary for all counter attendants is about $8.50 per hour, but the total varies based on tips received. Counter attendants with a higher hourly base wage and generous tipping customers can earn up to $12 per hour.

What are the education requirements?

Counter attendants do not have any specific education requirements. To be promoted into supervisory positions, you will need a high school diploma or GED. All of the tasks and job functions can be learned quickly with on-the-job training.

Career paths for counter attendants

You don't have to want to be a counter attendant forever, or even work in the industry to work as a counter attendant. Many people use jobs as counter attendants to acquire valuable customer service and cashiering skills for other jobs. If you do find a company you really like to work for as a counter attendant, managerial roles are often available for those who excel in their starting positions.

The future of counter attendants

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects an increase in counter attendant positions over the 2008-2018 decade corresponding to population growth. This normal growth will be compounded by the increasing popularity of families to choose take-out over dine-in restaurants.

See all job descriptions



Cashier Job Description

Cashier job descriptionMany cashiers make minimum wage. Almost half of all cashiers work part time, and cashier jobs are expected to decrease in the next few years.

What do cashiers do?

Cashiers work in a variety of places including supermarkets, retail stores, gas stations, movie theaters and restaurants. As a cashier you'll probably use a cash register to ring people up, take their money and give them their change and a receipt. You might also have to wrap or bag their purchase. Cashiers sometimes handle returns and exchanges.

At the end of a shift, you'll have to count the money in your cash register and compare it with the sales data in the computer. Be careful with your money - although you probably won't get in trouble for occasionally being a few cents short, you could get fired if it happens too often.

Depending on where you work, you might have other responsibilities as well. If you're a cashier at a supermarket, you might be asked to clean your area as well as return unwanted items to shelves. If you work at a convenience store, you might have to create money orders and sell lottery tickets.

Almost half of all cashiers work part time. Most cashiers are asked to work weekends, evenings and holidays.

How much do cashiers make?

Many cashiers make the federal minimum wage, which just went up to $7.25 an hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most cashiers make between $6.99 and $9.44 an hour. The highest paid cashiers can earn more than $14.50 an hour. See how much cashiers earn in your area .

What are the education requirements?

Most cashiers have a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. No higher education is required to be a cashier, but taking business classes or getting your associate's degree can help you if you eventually want to be a manager.

Career paths for cashiers

Cashier career paths can vary. If you've started out in a part-time position learning all you can about the business and practicing good customer service can lead to a full-time position. After that, hard work can lead to opportunities as a head cashier, or even as a manager.

The future of cashier jobs

According to the BLS, most cashier jobs are expected to see a decline in the next few years with the exception of gaming cashier jobs, which will increase. No need to worry though, there will be plenty of full-time and part-time cashier jobs still available because the BLS expects a good number of cashiers to leave their current jobs.

See all job descriptions



Call Center Representative Job Description

Call center job descriptionOn average, call center workers make between $9 and $14 an hour. Most call center workers work in customer service, and many call center jobs offer flexible schedules.

What do call center representatives do?

If you’ve been blessed with the gift of gab, then you'd probably make a pretty good call center representative. Call center representatives are the people you speak with when you call your bank, order a new sweater from a catalog or make airline reservations. They do everything from assisting people with customer service complaints to making telemarketing calls.

Most call center jobs fall into one of three categories. The most popular is customer service: for example, the people you speak with when you have a problem with your cable. You might also work in inbound sales, where you take calls from people who want to make a purchase. Another popular call center job is in outbound sales; think of the people who call you trying to sell you a used car warranty.

Most call center jobs require workers to use a telephone with a headset and a computer. Many of these jobs are located in office buildings, although some companies let employees work from home. Many call centers are open around the clock so your hours will be varied, possibly including some early mornings and some late evenings. With any luck you'll be able to find a job that fits your schedule. A fair warning about call center jobs: you've got to have a pretty long fuse in order to excel. You'll have people scream at you, hang up on you and call you names, so if you get angry easily, find a different career.

How much do call center representatives make?

Call center workers who work in sales can make upwards of $9.86 an hour. Since many of these jobs are commission-based, you have the opportunity to make as much money as you want, as long as you're a good salesperson. For call center employees who work in customer service, the average pay is $14.36 - but they don't get commission and on occasion may have to deal with extremely difficult callers. If you're bilingual, you can usually earn more.

What are the education requirements?

A high school education is usually preferred but not required if you want to work at a call center. More and more people with bachelor's degrees are entering the field, so getting a degree is a good idea if you want to excel in this field.

Career paths for call center representatives

After becoming an expert in customer service or sales, you can move up to a better-paying position with more desirable hours. After that, most call center representatives become managers or move on to corporate positions in the company, although you may have to get a degree in order to be qualified for those positions.

The future of call center jobs

This is still a pretty good field to get into, even as companies outsource some of their call center needs. Companies in the U.S. will continue to expand over the next decade and will require more call center representatives to help them manage their incoming and outgoing phone calls. If you're looking to enter this field, then focus on getting a call center position in customer service. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that field to increase very rapidly over the next eight years.

See all job descriptions



Butcher Job Description

What it's like to be a butcherOn average, butchers make around $13.50 per hour. You'll have to be at least 18 to be a butcher, and most butchers work for grocery stores and wholesalers.

What do butchers do?

Butchers are responsible for turning large pieces of meat into retail-ready portions that can be purchased by consumers and restaurants. Not all of the meat is turned into steaks and chops, some is ground, tied into roasts or turned into sausages. These all require training to execute each task correctly.

Butchers usually work in cold, refrigerated rooms where the meat is stored. The combination of knives, slippery floors, and other sharp tools makes the work dangerous with much higher injury rates than most other occupations, though the rate of injury is on the decline. Being a butcher requires patience and careful attention to detail. This job is no joke: if you can't keep a steady hand, you just might lose it.

How much do butchers make?

The average salary for all butchers is about $13.50 per hour. Experienced butchers at high-end retailers can earn up to $21.50 per hour. The days of the butcher shop have come and gone, most work for grocery stores or wholesale businesses that sell meat to restaurants, or separate it into smaller pieces called "retail cuts."

What are the education requirements?

Almost all butchers start their careers in training programs, where they learn how to use the machinery and the job skills required to be successful. Most highly trained butchers train for a year or two before they are considered "fully trained." It's not just about cutting meat up, either. During training butchers learn to make sausage, cure meat, roll and tie roasts and how to keep the food safe and clean during the process.

Career paths for butchers

Because there is no official certification process for butchers or meat cutters, the career path remains somewhat undefined. Many butchers move into shift lead or department head roles especially those who work for large retail chains. Others may opt for the entrepreneurial tract and choose to open their own businesses or wholesaling companies.

The future of butchers

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a very slow increase in butcher positions over the 2008-2018 decade. Any new growth will likely be in processing plants, as more and more large chains and restaurants opt for outsourcing their meat cutting and butchery.

See all job descriptions