5 Steps For Climbing The Retail Corporate Ladder

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With online shopping at an all-time high, many seem to think that retail stores could be closing their doors and moving into a full shop-from-home experience.

However, the reality is that “in-store shopping is still the preferred retail channel for 82% of Millennials, even the ones who also engage in online shopping” (​smallbizgenius).

If you’re looking to start a career in retail and climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, here are 5 tips on getting there.

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1. Learn the basics

Regardless of the industry, it is important that you walk before you can run. Learning how a retail store works on a fundamental level is arguably the most important part.

Before you can make your way into that executive role, understand that you must start from the bottom before you can get to the top.

Don’t let this discourage you, however, because these tips could drastically reduce your time within these entry-level roles. The plan is to keep your eye on the prize and work efficiently to move up into your next position.

Tip: If your retail store of choice doesn’t offer the potential to move up within the company in a reasonable timeframe, this could be a red flag. Make sure you’re investing your time into a company that will appreciate your drive and will support your vertical moves. ​This is a great question to ask during your interview!

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2. Be the hardest worker in the room

You may have heard this many times before, but its importance has been mentioned by ​Forbes and ​Monster, still ringing true today.

Retail has a job skill structure that could be a blessing and a curse: you can have very little experience but still be employed in an entry-level role. Because of this, you have the potential to work your way up the ranks simply by gaining experience within a company and working hard.

However, this is also a curse simply because there aren’t as many barriers to entry – this means competition.

Instead of being discouraged by competition, you need to make sure you are going above and beyond what is expected of you within your role to set yourself apart from others.

For example, the person who refuses to check all digital stations at the end of the night because it “isn’t in their job description” will not be considered when a new Digital Coordinator position opens up.

Be the person who has been going the extra mile so you don’t miss out when an opportunity comes up.

Proving your capabilities and going the extra mile will ensure that you are recognised for your hard work and effort when the time comes.

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3. Make yourself known

On that same note, it’s important to make yourself known to all influential voices within the company. Most retail stores have corporate visits where key decision makers make an appearance to check how the store is functioning on a customer-facing level.

This is a great opportunity to shake hands, smile, and become a friendly, familiar face to colleagues. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions, perform informational interviews, and build a network of mentors.

Beyond that, having a strong relationship with the Human Resources department and your management staff will make you a prime candidate to move into roles.

When supervisor, management, and executive jobs open up, these influential voices and colleagues will look to you as someone who goes above and beyond and can very seamlessly enter their vacant role.

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4. Make your interest known

Besides making yourself known, it is important that you make your interest known!

If no one knows that you are interested in switching roles, advancing within the company, or transitioning into a corporate office, they will be less likely to consider you for a position.

Don’t be embarrassed to share your aspirations with your leadership, management team, or HR department.

Most companies love hiring from within and value a worker who has goals and wants to grow within the company.

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5. Don’t forget that you can move laterally

There are times when your employer can fail to realize your worth or appreciate your hard work. Your goal could require a next move that isn’t available, won’t be for quite some time, or just does not exist within your current company.

This is when author ​Andy Teach​ recommends a lateral move. Writer of F​rom Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time​ states that making lateral moves can help those looking to climb the corporate ladder.

It is important to be keen to roadblocks that are out of your control or stagnation of growth within an industry.

Take it upon yourself to make the necessary arrangements needed to keep climbing.

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There is no better time to get into retail.

With many technological advancements just around the corner, the market is set for revolutionary and exciting changes.

It is very possible to get yourself into an executive role within the corporate office of your favourite retailer.

What matters is that you keep your eye on the prize, make connections and make yourself a prime candidate for every promotion that presents itself.

Believe in your ability to achieve!

Written by Monica Bulnes // @monicagbulnes

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