Waiter or Waitress Job Description

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  • On average, waiters and waitresses make $7.14 an hour
  • Tips usually make up most of waiters' and waitresses' pay
  • Waiter and waitress jobs are great for people with outgoing personalities

Are you the type of person who can charm even the grumpiest of old men? Could you carry a hot bowl of soup through a hurricane without breaking a sweat? Then you’ve got what it takes to be a great waiter or waitress. Most waiters and waitresses, also called servers, work in full-service restaurants. They greet customers, take food orders, bring food and drinks to the tables and take payment and make change.

Waitress and waiter job descriptionCasual dining restaurants and caf?s will expect you to be quick, efficient and friendly. Casual dining restaurants can be small family-owned restaurants or larger chain restaurants like Applebee's and Cracker Barrel . You may have to make drinks, salads and desserts all while serving several tables at one time.

Upscale restaurants will require a little more of you. You may need to know about wine and food pairings, understand how each dish is prepared and be able to make food recommendations to customers. Some fine dining restaurants even require servers to prepare specialty food items at a customer's table.

Make no mistake, being a waiter or waitress is hard work. You will have to deal with rude customers, screaming children and people who don't tip. You will roll a lot of silverware and clean a lot of ketchup bottles. Your feet will hurt. But it's a great career for someone who likes to work with people, and waiting tables can be great money for someone with the right mix of personality and serving skills.

How much do waiters and waitresses make?

Since most of your pay will likely come from tips, the better a server you are, the more money you'll make. But on average, waiters and waitresses make $7.14 an hour. The minimum a restaurant can pay you is $2.13 an hour - the rest of your pay will come from tips. However, if you score a job in a busy, expensive restaurant, you can make upwards of $20 an hour on a good night. Beware, though: if you get stuck with bad tippers or a bad shift you can end up walking out with little or no money.

Education requirements

You'll be getting a lot of on-the-job training as a server, but for the most part, no formal education is required. Some do require that you have a high school diploma. Having a bachelor's degree is always a plus - especially if you want to end up in a fine dining restaurant or eventually enter management.

Career paths for waiters and waitresses

After working your way up to a coveted shift at your first waiter or waitress job , it's likely that you'll move on to a better-paying server position at a different restaurant. After working there for a few years, you may transition into a managerial role. Some restaurants have a formal manager training program, while others require several years of experience before promoting servers.

The future of waiter and waitress jobs

People like to go out to eat, and that's not going to change anytime soon. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), there will be nearly 2.6 million waiter and waitress jobs available by the year 2016, which is 13 percent more than are available now.

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Security Guard Job Description

  • Security guard job descriptionOn average, security guards make $21,530 a year
  • A high school education is preferred but not always required
  • Some security guard jobs can be dangerous

What do security guards do?

Does going undercover to nab bad guys sound like a dream job to you? Then you might be surprised to learn that you can score a job catching thieves, terrorists and arsonists - and you don't even have to be a police officer.

Security guards are hired by businesses, casinos, hospitals, stores, banks, nuclear power plants and other organizations to help deter illegal activities. You might be watching a bank of TV monitors all night, looking for suspicious activity. Or you might be stationed at a building's front door, checking IDs and greeting people who walk in. As a security guard you'll need to know the law, know your employer's rules and be able to enforce both.

Most companies hire security personnel to work around the clock, making this a great part-time job with flexible hours . In fact, many law enforcement officials work as security guards during their time off. Having law enforcement experience can come in handy, as security guards have to interact with police officers, interview witnesses and sometimes even testify in court.

There are some downsides to having a security guard job . It can be dangerous work, especially for armored car guards. The threat of being robbed or worse is all too real for most security guards. This is why many security guards receive firearm, hand-to-hand combat and emergency response training. Also, in some instances, security guards are instructed to let petty shoplifters go - a fact that might not sit well with the law-abiding side of your personality.

How much do security guards make?

Surprisingly, armored car guards make only $20,000 a year, even though their jobs are considered dangerous. On average, medical hospital guards and elementary and secondary school guards make the most, taking home more than $26,000 a year.

What are the education requirements to be a security guard?

A high school education is usually preferred but not required if you want to be a security guard. You'll get a lot of on-the-job training, especially if you're going to be a guard at a nuclear power facility. Nuclear power facility guards undergo several months of training before going on duty, especially with the increased threat of terrorism. Most other guards receive much less training. Even though a degree is not required, different security guard jobs still may require specific certifications.

Career paths for security guards

The best way to advance as a security guard is to receive additional training. Those with certifications in fields like gaming security or an associate's degree in criminal justice usually get paid more and promoted faster. The more you learn about security, the easier it will be for you to enter management or start your own security business, a common choice for many security guards.

The future of security guard jobs

Safety and the threat of terrorism are growing concerns for many companies, and as a result, job prospects look good for those of you wanting to become security guards. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the number of available security jobs will increase faster than average over the next few years. Gaming security jobs in casinos will see the largest jump - but in order to score one of these jobs, you're going to have training and experience.

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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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Product Demonstrator Job Description

  • Product demonstrator and event coordinatorOn average, demonstrators make around $11 per hour.
  • 54 percent of all demonstrators work part time.
  • You'll receive on-the-job training.

What do product demonstrators do?

"Would you like to try this new pizza pocket?"

"Don't mind if I do."

You might know demonstrators and product promoters by another name: angels, because there are few things in life better than store d'oeuvres. It adds excitement to an otherwise monotonous trip to the grocery store. These lovely people are the ones offering up the free eats at the end of the aisle to entice you to buy their delicious products.

You may not realize that the world of product demonstration extends far beyond the realm of frozen prepared foods. You'll be dazzling customers with the features (savory sauce, creamy cheese, spicy pepperoni) of all sorts of awesome treats.

If food isn't really your thing, there are less delicious products to demonstrate, like computers, software, cell phones, ShamWows and OxyClean. If you really have a knack for product demonstration, you might get to be the next Billy Mays (though that's a big beard to fill).

You'll need to be friendly and engaging to attract the attention of busy customers and passersby. About half of demonstrators work part time. The positions are highly seasonal, with demand for workers being higher during strong retail seasons (like the holidays).

How much do demonstrators make?

The average hourly pay for all demonstrators is about $11 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced demonstrators who sell high-priced products can expect to earn up to $20 per hour.

Education requirements

Not everyone is a pizza pocket aficionado, so most employers will teach you techniques to help you sell the product you'll be presenting. More complicated products like electronics or tools may require more extensive training, but this will also be provided by your employer.

Career paths for demonstrators

Many demonstrators are hired by third-party companies to fill a variety of different positions. Advancement within these companies can be difficult, because there are a small number of office positions overseeing a large number of demonstrators in a given area. These positions are best suited for workers looking for a second job, or temporary, part-time and seasonal work.

The future of demonstrators

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) is expecting average growth for demonstrator positions. Because product demonstration is a powerful marketing tool, companies like to use a hands-on approach to sell their product whenever possible.

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Portrait Photographer Job Description

  • Portrait photographer job descriptionEntry-level portrait photographers make $8 to $10 per hour
  • The photography industry is highly competitive
  • Commercial photography is a great way to get your photography career started

What do portrait photographers do?

So you're thinking about getting into photography. It's what you love, and you've documented your entire life in 3"x5" snapshots (maybe 8"x10" for the really important stuff). But you probably already know that the photography field is highly competitive. So how do you get started?

Jobs in commercial photography, like portrait photography, are an excellent option. Portrait photography companies offer full-time and part-time positions, the pay is steadier than freelance work, and you can get great perks like benefits, store discounts and flexible scheduling.

Portrait photographers take pictures of individuals or groups and usually work in a commercially owned studio or on location (like at a school or amusement park). You'll need to be a multi-tasker, because in addition to taking pictures you'll probably have to schedule appointments, set up your equipment, keep records, and sometimes train new employees. Because most photography is done digitally, you'll also need to be good with technology, such as different kinds of digital cameras and computers. Physically, you'll need sharp eyesight or corrective lenses and good hand-eye coordination. Mentally, you'll need to be patient enough to deal with small children and difficult customers.

Employers will expect you to be comfortable working with all types of people, from infants to great-great-grandparents. Some of your time will be spent taking pictures, but even more of it will be spent trying to get the perfect smile and then helping your customers decide which pictures make them look the best.

How much do portrait photographers make?

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a job taking pictures is worth a lot more. The average pay for a portrait photographer is usually around $8 to $10 per hour. If you get into portrait photography and love it, you'll have the opportunity to move up. Studio managers typically make between $15 and $18 per hour.

Education requirements

While many colleges offer degrees in photography, it's not really necessary for an entry-level portrait photographer position. Most employers will offer on-site training to familiarize you with the specific types of equipment they use. If you have some basic knowledge of how to use a camera (digital and film) and you feel comfortable learning new computer programs without a lot of difficulty, you should be fine.

Career paths for portrait photographers

If you're working for a large company like JC Penney Portrait Studios, Picture People, or SharpShooter Imaging, you'll likely have the opportunity to move up within the company into management roles. With several years of experience under your belt, you might be able to teach photography or open your own portrait studio. Skilled photographers charge thousands to shoot a wedding or other big event.

The future of portrait photographer jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of photographers is expected to grow 12 percent between 2008 and 2018. That means there is no crazy growth spurt expected in available photography jobs. Keep in mind that the need for photographers may shrink as more and more people take their own pictures using digital technology.

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Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Job Description

CNA job description

  • On average, Certified Nursing Assistants make around $11.50 per hour
  • Many CNAs often decide to pursue careers as a Registered Nurse
  • There will continue to be good job opportunities for CNAs

What do CNAs do?

Maybe you're thinking about a career in nursing but you're not quite ready to take the plunge. Maybe you've always known that nursing is where your heart is. Either way, a certified nursing assistant job can be a great choice.

Nursing aides often work directly with patients, under the supervision of an experienced medical staff, to tend to their patients' immediate medical needs. Many of the medical requirements of the job like taking temperature or blood pressure require specialized training on technique, but not all of them. Nursing assistants also assist patients with routine activities such as getting out of bed or assisting with meals.

Video – How to Become A CNA

How much do CNAs make?

The average hourly pay for all Certified Nursing Assistants is about $11.50 per hour, but will vary by experience and location. Experienced Certified Nursing Assistants can earn up to $19 per hour.

Education requirements

To be a Certified Nursing Assistant you'll need at least a high school education or GED to complete the federally regulated requirements. All CNAs must finish at least 75 hours of a training course approved by the state, and pass a test to prove the mastery of the material covered in the class. Once you complete the requirements, you're listed on a state registry of approved nursing aides. Sometimes individual states have additional requirements, so you'll also want to check what those are in your area.

Learn more about how to become a certified nursing assistant.

Career paths for CNAs

Many people who work as Certified Nursing Assistants choose to complete additional education certifications to become registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN). A career as a CNA can be an excellent entry-level position to gain real-life nursing experience.

The future of CNAs

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects above average growth for Certified Nursing Assistant positions and will correspond to growth in population over the 2008-2018 decade. Because hospitals are constantly being pressured to release patients earlier and earlier by insurance companies, patients are being discharged to nursing facilities. The staffing needs of these types of facilities will drive job growth for CNAs.

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Nurse Job Description

  • Nurse job description60 percent of registered nurses work in hospitals.
  • There are more than 2.6 million nurses in the United States.
  • On average, registered nurses make $62,000 a year.

What do nurses do?

It ain't just fluffing pillows and waiting on doctor's orders. Jobs in nursing demand a lot of the same things as physician jobs do - and then some.

Nursing jobs require not only treating patients who are sick and injured, but also offering advice and emotional support to patients and their families, taking care of paperwork (lots and lots of paperwork), helping doctors diagnose patients and providing advice and follow-up care.

That's right, there's a lot more to nursing than meets the eye. It's one of the hardest and most emotionally draining jobs out there, but it can be incredibly rewarding. There aren't many jobs out there were you can actually save someone's life, but this is one of them. Got a weak stomach? Then consider a different career, my friend. Working as a nurse means having to deal with terribly sick people - and that often involves various bodily fluids (yuck).

How much do nurses make?

Registered nurses who work at hospitals make $63,000 a year, on average. Those who choose to work at nursing homes or with a home healthcare service make around $58,000. That's pretty good money, right? We hate to be cheesy, but the real reward is the feeling you'll get by helping those who need you.

Education requirements

If you want to be a nurse, you've got a good bit of education in your future. Seriously, do you want someone doing a tracheal intubation on you if they don't know what they're doing?

The two most common ways to become a registered nurse are to get a bachelor of science degree in nursing (BSN) or an associate's degree in nursing (ADN). A BSN takes about four years to complete at a college or university. An ADN program at a community or junior college takes about two to three years. After finishing one of these programs you'll also have to pass an exam given by your local licensing board.

Career paths for nurses

Most nurses start out as staff nurses at a hospital. Once you master the art of reading a doctor's handwriting you could move on to a better shift or a shift management role. After that, nurses can advance to assistant unit manager or head nurse. Get an advanced degree and you could find yourself as an assistant director, director, vice president, or chief of nursing.

The future of nurse jobs

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for nurses are growing at a better than average pace. Job prospects will be the best for nurses who choose to work in doctors' offices. They also project that there will be solid opportunities available in nursing and assisted living homes, especially as the baby boomers age.

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Massage Therapist Job Description

Massage therapist job descriptionInterested in a job that lets you spend your work hours bathed in soothing music, soft lighting and scented oils? Massage therapy offers some pretty sweet and exotic working conditions: flexible hours, calm work environments and a job that is focused entirely on relaxation and health.

Massage therapists manipulate the muscles and soft tissues of their clients to produce relaxation, improved health and other benefits. There are over 80 different types of massage, and many therapists specialize in more than one. Building a client base is vital, and while there are limited opportunities for advancement within the massage therapy industry, successful therapists build loyal clientele and raise their prices over time as demand for their services increase.

Job skills & requirements

Education: Most states require massage therapists to be licensed to practice. Massage therapy licensing varies from state to state, but if you live near a metropolitan area there is likely a trade school that could allow you to pursue certification.

Stamina: You're in contact (literally) with all sorts of clients, and many people are initially very uncomfortable with the process of massage therapy. Having a strong sense of compassion and great customer service skills is vital to enabling clients to feel comfortable and ultimately building a strong pool of customers that will support your salary.

Empathy: You'll need to keep up and pull your weight (and then some) day after day. Make sure you're physically up to the task before you sign up!

Hours: Since massage therapists must take breaks between sessions to avoid injury, and many drive to appointments (which means additional time for setting up a massage table or chair) working between 15-30 hours is considered full time. Many people work part time as massage therapists to supplement their income. Hours depend almost entirely on your client base: therapists for retirement homes, vacation spas and professional athletes may find they are busiest during the day; people who make their money massaging office workers and amateur sports players will likely be booked up after normal work hours and on weekends.

Dress the Part: For an interview, suit up - but bring a comfortable change of clothes in case you are asked to demonstrate your skills. Spas and clinics will probably have a dress code; in other work environments you may find that loose-fitting pants and shirts are standard work wear.

Job Myth

“Why do I have to get certified? I give a pretty mean back rub.”

In your circle of friends you might be to go-to person for sore necks or strained backs, but even then there are tons of things you need to learn before you become a professional massage therapist. How do you set up a massage table? How can you stop to get more oil without ever taking a hand off your client? (Tip: few things are less relaxing than being facedown with your eyes closed, and having no idea whether your massage therapist has wandered off somewhere. A good massage therapist will probably keep in physical contact so that doesn't happen.) Do you know about deep tissue Swedish massage? Hot stone therapy? Prenatal massage?


Then head off to massage therapy school, and hone that gift for giving a mean foot massage into something that can earn you a comfortable living.

Career Paths

  • Salon Manager (Averages $36,000 annually)

Similar Positions

Cosmetologist, Certified Nursing Assistant

Extra Perks

  • Staying active - This job will keep you on the move throughout the day
  • Self-employment potential

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Manicurist Job Description

Manicurist job descriptionManicurists need a steady hand and creative flair to keep fingertips fashionable and toes twinkling, but it's not all just picking polish. As with other personal care workers, manicurists are part fashion consultant, part therapist. You'll be listening to personal problems and juicy gossip all while creating tiny works of art with itty-bitty brushes, so being a people person is important. If you've worked in customer service before and you can't imagine holding hands with your worst customer for 15 minutes straight, with no possibility of escape, you may want to reconsider this one.

Most manicurists sit for the majority of their shift; this can be a relief for people used to standing for eight hours at a time, but keep in mind that it can be tough on your neck and back to bend over all day making manicure magic. If you are especially sensitive to fumes and chemicals you may also have trouble with the work environment; while many beauty salons are well ventilated, you will still be working closely with some seriously smelly polishes and potions all day long.

Job skills & requirements

License: Most states have individual licensing requirements for personal care professionals. Check with a local employer or cosmetology school to see what is required in your area.

Education: You can get additional certifications and training above any basic license required by your state, and this additional experience usually makes you a more desirable employee for upscale salons and translates to higher-paying jobs. Most areas have a local cosmetology school, beauty school or trade classes in personal care.

Endurance: This job includes sitting in the same position most of the day. You'll have breaks between clients to move and stretch, but if an old back injury or other physical condition prevents you from sitting comfortably with your neck bent, you may want to consider another career.

People skills: Everyone has their share of grumpy clients, and you will need to smile graciously, take them by the hand and make their nails look fabulous while they complain about their lives, the weather and possibly your services. If you have a short fuse or an unruly temper, this might not be the gig for you.

Fashion sense: Some clients know what they want; others will want you to offer suggestions on the color they'll be sporting for the next week or two. So if you like to keep up with trends and fashion, you'll be well-positioned to pair your customers with the perfect polish at every appointment.

Expected Hours:

Many manicurists work 40 or more hours per week. Salons are frequently open during the workday and well into the evening - when the nine-to-five crowd has time to sit down and relax.

Dress the Part:

Some employers distribute uniforms; others have a standard dress code you will be asked to follow. For interviews, arrive looking professional. A suit or dress slacks paired with a nice shirt is a sure bet for almost any interview. Black is usually a safe color to wear for salons, many rely on an all-black or mostly-black wardrobe as part of their employee dress guidelines.

Job myth

“Sitting down and painting fingernails? This will be easy.”

If you still think manicurists have it made, reread the job description. Sure, there's a good chance you'll be seated in a pleasant environment with quietly chatting customers, but those perks come packaged with chemicals in the air, constantly bending over and being up close and personal with each and every client. It's a great job, but it's healthy to recognize the good with the bad before you get started. On the other hand, if you've taken a realistic look at what being a manicurist entails and you still have a passion for polish, what are you waiting for?

Career paths

  • Cosmetologist (Averages $22,760/year)
  • Shampooer (Averages $18,270/year)

Similar positions

Hairstylist, Cosmetologist

Extra perks

  • Opportunities for self-employment
  • Flexible schedule

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Loss Prevention Specialist Job Description

  • Loss prevention job descriptionLoss prevention specialists average around $10 per hour
  • The number of jobs in loss prevention is growing
  • You'll need to be able to pass a rigorous background check

Cue the secret agent music and get your 007 tuxedo on, because you're going to need to channel your inner super spy to work in loss prevention (also called asset protection). Okay, to be fair, there is no Aston Martin company vehicle, but the upside is that you probably won't risk life and limb on the job. Your goal is to keep ne'er-do-wells from plundering the merchandise of some of the nation's most popular retailers.

Most loss prevention specialists work at the front of the store, examining purchase receipts and greeting customers. Their primary goal is verifying that each customer is leaving the store with only the merchandise they've purchased. You will need to be highly attentive to detail and very friendly. Some customers may wrongly assume that you're accusing them of stealing, so you'll need to be able to explain the company's policy in a friendly and non-accusatory way.

Other types of loss prevention specialists work in plain clothes, patrolling the aisles of the store. These people typically have another person on their team watching the cameras and alerting them of suspicious activity. These types of asset protection jobs are much more common in larger retailers like Kmart, Sears or JCPenney.

No matter which type of position you have, you'll need to be able to pass a thorough background check. Any type of criminal activity will likely exclude you from these positions. You'll need to be able to show good judgment and common sense, follow directions clearly and in some cases testify accurately in court. In this position, you'll have to carefully follow company policies and guidelines to limit company liability.

How much do loss prevention specialists make?

The average hourly pay for a loss prevention specialist is around $10.65 per hour. Like in most jobs, pay will vary by skill level and location. What are the education requirements to be a loss prevention specialist?

A high school diploma or GED is sufficient education for a loss prevention or asset protection position. Most employers will offer short-term, on-site training so you can learn how to use their equipment and meet all the job requirements.

Career paths for loss prevention

Typically a loss prevention specialist will report to an inventory or operations manager. A successful loss prevention specialist may be able to move into a management role in one of these areas.

The future of loss prevention jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for loss prevention specialists should be good because of growing demand for these workers and the need to replace workers who leave their current positions. Controlling theft is one of the easiest ways to increase how much money a store makes, so companies are consistently trying to attract the best people for these positions. The limited training requirements and flexible hours attract many people seeking second or part-time jobs.

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