When it comes down to basic employment, retail jobs are a great option. While there may be some downsides, the upsides tend to minimize any negative aspects. To qualify for a retail job often a high school diploma or the equivalent is sufficient. In many retail positions they will frequently even hire individuals that are at least 16 years of age and still in school. If you're looking for your very first job, retail is a great place to start. When applying, be sure to read through the job requirements to make sure you qualify for the position. Typically in an entry level position you'll receive on the job training to quickly get you up to speed.
One great thing about retail jobs are the availability. There are retail positions working with clothing, food services, jewelry, makeup, electronics, pet supplies and so much more. Retail jobs are generally abundant in metropolitan areas so you may even be able to be a little picky about where you apply. For example, if you love to go clothes shopping maybe working in a clothing store is a good fit. If you are a pet person then a job at a pet supply store might be a good fit. If you're trying to work at a store that isn't hiring stop by and talk to the Store Manager. Let them know you're interested in working at their store. When a position opens up hopefully you will be one of the first to know.
When it comes to flexible schedules or seasonal work, retail is hard to beat. Many retailers are willing to work with a school schedule, offer weekend work and even part time hours. For some who are looking to earn some side cash, seasonal retail positions are an excellent option. You may find a sales position at a pop up Halloween store or a job at a local nursery during the spring and summer months. During the holiday season many retailers are looking for temporary and seasonal help to accommodate the influx of customers and cover extended hours. So don't discount retail work when you're looking for an income that can work around your schedule.
There is also the ability for one to move up the ladder in many retail positions. Many stores will offer Assistant Manager and Store Manager positions. These often come with added responsibilities as well as a wage increase. Retail salaries will vary around the country but can start at minimum wage and exceed $20,000 a year just as a cashier. Depending on the company and business sales, associates may even earn commissions or bonuses based on sales or other incentives.
Discounts can be another perk of the job. Your employer may offer discounts for employees and even friends and family in some cases. In food service it might be a free meal during your shift or a free drink at your local coffee shop. Other retailers may even provide sample products that you can try or discounts on items no longer displayed. That's not to say every retailer will have these types of perks but some absolutely do. If they do then that's just an added benefit to the job.
As with any job, apply and present yourself and the company you represent professionally. Be prepared to work hard especially during peak sales and holiday times. Working a cash register or greeting/assisting customers will put you in direct contact with all types of personalities so having strong interpersonal communication skills are important. Be pleasant and helpful to your customers and create an atmosphere where they want to return. This benefits both you and the company you are working for.