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.

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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.

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Forklift Driver Job Description

Forklift driver job descriptionJob highlights

  • On average, forklift drivers make around $15 per hour
  • An experienced forklift driver can make up to $20 per hour
  • You'll need to get a certification to drive a forklift

What do forklift drivers do?

Forklift operators drive around forklifts (shocker, we know), moving materials around warehouses, storage yards, factories, construction sites and other work sites The machine itself has a hydraulic lifting mechanism, and forks for moving heavy and large objects. It's a fork that lifts things - get it?

Working a job like this might seem easy, but the work can be very repetitive. Driving a forklift isn't all cake, roses, and gas pedals. It's going to be hard work. Not everything can be lifted with a forklift, so you may have to carry heavy objects and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl in awkward positions.

You might be outside in extreme temperatures, and depending on what kind of materials you're moving, you could be around fumes, odors, loud noises or harmful chemicals. Most forklift drivers work 8-hour (or longer) shifts, but that doesn’t mean the job is a nine-to-fiver. In places where customers are around, most forklift work is done after hours. In 24-hour warehouses, shifts can be around the clock.

Operating a forklift is considered a "hazardous occupation," according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. As with any big machine, accidents happen. They can, however, usually be avoided by observing proper operating procedures and safety practices. You'll need to be constantly vigilant and aware of your surroundings to keep yourself and your co-workers safe.

How much do forklift drivers make?

The average hourly pay for all forklift drivers is around $15 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Skill level is the biggest differentiator in pay. The longer you've been on the job, the closer you'll get to that $20 per hour mark.

What are the education requirements?

For most forklift driver positions, you'll need to be at least 18 years old to get the job. Most employers will prefer that you have a high school diploma or GED. Depending on what kind of warehouse you'll be working in, you may need additional certification on how to handle toxic chemicals or dangerous equipment. Most training requirements are going to be the same across the board because of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They have a really, really long list of rules that the employer must comply with in order to allow you to drive a forklift. Training is usually provided by the employer, and will be reoccurring. Your employers will have to provide proof to the government that you've received the training and been evaluated at least once every 3 years.

Career paths for forklift drivers

To start from scratch (if you've never been behind the wheel of a forklift) you'll have to get some experience in a warehouse associate or material moving position before being promoted to a better paying and more highly skilled job. If you're a stud behind the wheel, you may eventually advance to become a supervisor or manager.

The future of forklift driver jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for fork lift drivers are not going to be growing. If you're looking for a job with lots of growth potential, this just isn't it. Improvements in equipment and processes will continue to reduce the demand for forklift drivers. On the bright side, there's still some potential in warehouse forklift positions in retail and other growing industries.

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Lifeguard Job Description

  • Lifeguard job descriptionLifeguards average around $9.25 per hour
  • Most lifeguards work less than 40 hours per week
  • You'll need to get certified to be a lifeguard

If Michael Phelps fell in love with Wonder Woman, their baby would make a great lifeguard. Seriously, who doesn’t want to save lives (translation: be a hero) and get a tan at the same time? Lifeguard jobs could have you touring the world on a cruise ship, chilling in the summer sun at your local pool, or living out your beach bum fantasy all summer long.

Most lifeguards don't work 40 hours a week. You'll have to work nights and weekends, probably irregular hours, and the work is largely seasonal, so it's not a job for everyone. Typically about 40 percent of all recreational workers work part time.

Being a lifeguard means you're trusted with the lives of others, so you'll need to be extremely responsible, attentive, and patient ("No running! Slow down!"). You'll be rewarded for your hard work with cases of Fla-Vor-Ice pops, microwave snack-bar pizza and a shiny whistle, which is awesome.

How much do lifeguards make?

The average hourly pay for all lifeguards is around $9.25 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced beach lifeguards can earn $16 per hour or more.

Education requirements

A high school diploma or GED is typically not required for most lifeguard jobs. You will probably need some sort of certification, however, from the Red Cross or another training program. Lots of employers require lifeguards to pass a certification test. This test includes both physical challenges and a written exam to ensure you're capable of performing the necessary duties of the job. Training and certification details vary depending on where you live, but you can find out exactly what the requirements are from your local parks and recreation department.

Career paths for lifeguards

Most people who work guarding lives don't do it for the outrageous career growth prospects. Lifeguarding is a solid summer job, though it can lead to year-round work at an indoor pool. If you're looking to get into a job in parks and recreation, though, this could be your stepping stone. For public pools, a team of lifeguards will typically be supervised by a manager who then reports to an official within the parks and recreation department. At private pools or clubs, lifeguards report to a direct supervisor or manager.

The future of lifeguard jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for recreational workers are set to grow faster than normal. Even though people will be spending more on recreation, budget restrictions may keep state and local governments from investing in the programs that fund public pools.

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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.

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