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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Merchandiser Job Description

  • Merchandiser job descriptionMerchandisers make around $9.50 per hour
  • Merchandising jobs offer flexible scheduling
  • You'll have to have reliable transportation

What do merchandisers do?

Merchandisers are "image consultants for the retail world." Retailers use merchandising to promote specific products and services and increase sales. When you walk by a store that's having a sale, you typically see eye-catching signs in the front windows announcing, "Up to 50% off the entire store!" or "Buy one get one free!" This entices customers to enter the store, thus increasing their chances of purchasing something. You may also see brochures and coupons at the register that encourage you to return to the store and buy again. Pretty smart thinking, don't you agree? All this is the work of merchandisers.

Merchandisers also deliver educational materials to the store for training new employees or teaching sales tactics to existing workers. They also conduct inventory reports -counting the merchandise at a particular location - and replace old or defective stock.

Some stores have their own merchandising departments, but others use third-party companies to handle merchandising certain displays. If you are employed by one of these companies, like Mosaic, you will need your own reliable transportation to get you to and from each location. You'll travel from store to store setting up displays, doing reports and talking with employees.

How much do merchandisers make?

The average hourly pay for a merchandiser is around $9.50 per hour. Like in most jobs, pay will vary by skill level and location.

Education requirements

A high school diploma or GED is sufficient education for a merchandiser position. It's an entry-level position and doesn't require much experience to get started. 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 merchandisers

Typically a merchandiser will work under a team leader or a manager. Several managers are grouped together into a geographic region which is led by a district manager. A successful merchandiser may be able to move into a management role in one of these areas.

The future of merchandisers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for merchandisers should grow at an average rate. Remember that this job depends on the demand of retailers requiring their merchandise to be displayed. The limited training requirements and flexible hours attract many people seeking second or part-time jobs.

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Janitor Job Description

Janitor job descriptionTake Note

  • No formal education requirements
  • Job opportunities are forecast to grow slowly

How much do janitors make?

  • $10.31 per hour
  • Around $22,000 average salary for full-time positions

It's a dirty job, but somebody's going to do it (and get paid for it)! Janitors and janitorial custodians are building maintenance professionals who keep offices, businesses, schools and stores clean. Sure, cleaning up spilled glitter in an elementary school art class isn't glamorous, but janitorial staff members provide a vital function. Without them, we would all work amid drifts of dust bunnies, shop in stores where the spills on aisle five were never cleaned and send our kids to schools full of overflowing trash cans and un-buffed halls.

Job opportunities are growing slowly at about four percent, but if you are looking for an entry-level job with flexible hours and good pay, consider looking into janitorial work.

Job Skills & Requirements

Education: There are no formal education requirements for janitorial staff members. Entry-level janitors are usual paired with a more experienced staff member and learn on the job, starting with simple tasks and moving on to more complex assignments that involve equipment like wet-dry vacuums, buffers and polishing machines.

Mechanical skill: Some janitors also complete light building maintenance and repair. Plumbing, electrical and other trade skills are extremely useful for janitors.

Endurance: This job means bending, walking, pushing and lifting all day. If you have physical limitations that make activity uncomfortable, you may want to consider a different profession.

Friendly demeanor: Janitors who work during operating hours take care of immediate issues (think spills, accidents and other clean up emergencies that endanger the people or pleasantness of the environment). If you aren't a people person, consider shifts that cover regular maintenance during off-hours when students, workers and customers aren't in the building.

Hours: Most janitorial companies operate during normal business hours or offer their services specifically during off-hours throughout the week. Some companies may also offer weekend hours. Either way, you can expect to work about 40 hours per week on average.

Dress the Part: Some employers distribute uniforms; others have a standard dress code you will be asked to follow. For interviews, arrive looking professional; wear slacks, button down shirt and a tie, or khaki's and a collared shirt.

Job Myth

“Janitor isn't an important job; I don't want to do something that doesn't make a difference.”

Hold it right there! Just because janitors don't have their own reality TV series doesn't mean they aren't important. If anyone ever doubts the value of their friendly office cleaning staff, they should imagine the fallout of flu season if there were no professional on hand to clean the doorknobs, desks and other surfaces that transmit illness-causing bacteria.

Without janitors and other cleaning professionals, we would probably be sick more often, less productive, have more accidents and generally be surrounded by a constant buildup of grime. That's why even if you don't become a janitor, you should be sure to thank the ones that you probably see every day.

Career Paths

  • Janitorial staff supervisor (Averages $16.30/hour)
  • Maintenance worker (Averages $16.50/hour)

Similar Positions

Extra Perks

  • Flexible hours
  • Staying active while you work

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Inventory Taker Job Description

Inventory taker job descriptionJob highlights

  • Inventory takers make around $9 per hour
  • Most opportunities have flexible scheduling options
  • You'll get to work independently

What do inventory takers do?

As an inventory taker, you are responsible for, well, taking inventory. But let's back up: to understand what inventory takers do, it helps to understand why they exist. Almost every major retailer uses a third-party inventory service to count every item in their store to verify their inventory record accuracy. Outsourcing the inventory service ensures precision, reliability, and objectivity in the reporting.

An inventory taker usually works with a team to scan each item in an assigned section using a hand-held electronic data collector. This information is then compiled for the retailer and compared against their records. When taking inventory, you'll need to pay extremely close attention to your assigned section to be sure your records are as accurate as possible. A large portion of your time will be spent working unsupervised, so you'll need to stay focused and get the job done without someone looking over your shoulder.

You might have never seen an inventory taker working, and there's a good reason for that. They usually don't work when the store is open. That means the hours will typically be late at night or very early in the morning, which makes this an excellent part-time job for almost anyone. Whether you're a night-owl college student looking for work, or a working mom looking for something to fit into your children's school schedule, this job offers flexible work schedules.

How much do inventory takers make?

The average hourly pay for an inventory taker is around $9.50 per hour. Like in most jobs, pay will vary by skill level and location.

What are the education requirements?

A high school diploma or GED is sufficient education for an inventory taker position. It's an entry-level position and requires very little experience to get started. 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 inventory takers

Typically an inventory taker will work under a team supervisor or a manager. Each manager will report to an area manager. Several areas are combined into a district, which has a district manager. A successful inventory taker may be able to move into a management role in one of these areas.

The future of inventory takers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for inventory takers should grow at an average rate. Remember that this job depends on the demand of retailers requiring store inventory. The limited training requirements and flexible hours attract many people seeking second or part-time jobs.

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Housekeeper Job Description

Housekeeper job descriptionJob overview

  • The average hourly wage for housekeepers is $9.76
  • It's a physical job; you'll have to be a hard worker
  • You'll have to be able to do a good job without supervision

What do housekeepers do?

Do you love to clean? I mean LOVE to clean. If the sound of a vacuum motor really gets you revved up and you live for that squeaky-clean feeling, chances are you'd make an awesome housekeeper. Whether you work as a maid, housecleaner or housekeeper, you will be scrubbing, sweeping and folding your way into a brighter, cleaner world.

Hotels and cleaning companies will expect you to be efficient and hardworking with a good eye for detail. You'll have to work well without direct supervision, whether you're working solo or with a team of other housekeepers.

You shouldn’t assume this will be the perfect job for you just because you like to clean your house once a week. Housekeepers and maids clean up other people's messes for their entire shift, so you've got to really love the satisfaction that a freshly made bed and a stack of bleached towels brings to your life. Often you will be on your hands and knees, and you'll need to be able to lift things (up to 50 lbs.) on a regular basis, so being physically fit will be important.

You'll have to sweep up every speck of dust, so if you have allergies, this might not be the right job for you. It's also good to remember that if you're in someone else's home or hotel room you'll probably have to interact with their pets, so being an animal lover won't hurt.

How much do housekeepers make?

While the work might be dirty, the pay is far from it. According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), the average hourly pay for maids and housekeepers is $9.76. Depending on where you work, who you work for, and how much experience you have, you could make as much as $15.98 per hour. On top of that, many housekeepers are tipped for a job well done.

What are the education requirements?

While a high school education isn't required, it certainly doesn't hurt. You should be able to perform simple arithmetic and be able to follow instructions. Employers often look for bilingual team members so that could be a huge advantage (especially Spanish/English fluency). Most training will be provided by the employer, including how to use equipment safely.

Career paths for housekeepers

From an entry-level cleaning position, you'll usually be promoted into a supervisor or team leader role. If you discover you have a passion for cleaning and an entrepreneurial spirit, you could even become your own boss with a cleaning franchise like The Maids Home Services, MaidPro or Maid Brigade.

The future of housekeeping jobs

While housekeeping positions are expected to grow, this growth is closely linked to the economy. Think about it: if people are worried about spending money, luxuries like maids and vacations are typically the first to go. You'll have to prove your worth and be a very hard worker to keep this job long-term.

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