Moving to Other Jobs and Careers

Your plan may include moving to another line of work altogether—or even starting your own business. Either way, your retail skills provide an important foundation to help get you where you want to go.


Shine a spotlightJust how easy is it to move from retail to a different job or career? Well, it depends—every job and career may require different hard and soft skills. Making the jump to some careers is easier than it is for others.

For instance, it’s easy to move from retail sales associate to telephone customer service representative. In both cases, you need strong people skills and patience to serve customers, and you also need to know about the product(s) you’re working with.

It may be a tougher—or at least longer—transition to move into real estate. You’ve got skills like sales, problem solving, and customer service—all of which are critical to a career in real estate, but they won’t be enough. Before you can become a real estate mogul, you’ll benefit from an entry-level position (such as an unlicensed sales associate) with an established real estate agency.

Your tasks might include answering phones, responding to emails, processing the extensive paperwork that comes with every home sale, or updating available real estate listings online. You’ll learn the ins and outs of the business while you study to get your real estate license.

But remember: there’s always a lot of competition out there for good jobs, and you might be competing against candidates who already have experience in your new line of work. For instance, your competition for that sales associate position in a real estate firm may include plenty of applicants who have already worked in real estate offices as associates, interns, or receptionists.

Application, resume, cover letterThat’s why your application, resume, and cover letter must shine a big spotlight on the skills and qualities that make you a strong candidate.

If you haven’t tried to Translate Your Skills, you might want to start there. It will give you an idea of how to leverage your current skills to plan your next move.




Want a career in marketing? See if there’s an organization looking for a volunteer to oversee its social media accounts. Want to work in the hospitality industry? See if your city is looking for volunteer tour guides. Want to work in healthcare? See if your local hospital is looking for volunteers to help patients and their families.

Volunteering can be a great way to build relevant skills in your desired field—skills that might persuade a new employer to give you a chance. Don’t forget to add your volunteer work to your resume, too.



Think about joining Meetup, and search for professional networking groups close to you. Create a LinkedIn profile and look for virtual networking opportunities in your new career.

In fact, don’t be shy about talking to anyone who might have wisdom or guidance for you! Remember, just about everyone “knows someone who knows someone” who can help.


Get more training

If you know you’ll need new hard skills to land the job you want, you can pursue them through training while you’re still working your retail job. Your local job center may be able to point you in the right direction.

You can also check out community college courses, or you might be able to find training online. Pursuing training on your own tells employers that you are motivated and ready to work!


Do you dream of starting and owning your own company? Of creating a new product line? Of being your own boss? Then you may be an entrepreneur at heart.

Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written about what makes an entrepreneur successful, but it all boils down to—you guessed it—skills. Seven skills and abilities that are shared by entrepreneurs include:

  • Passion


    Entrepreneurs love what they do and can’t wait to share it with the world.

  • Leadership


    They know they can’t do it all, so they hire great people and coach them to be their best.

  • Determination


    Entrepreneurs are the hardest workers you’ll find. When confronted with failure, they don’t give up. They learn from mistakes, make corrections, and keep on keeping on.

  • Forward-Thinking


    They can visualize how great their company, product, or service can be, and this vision helps them map a strategy and action plan for success.

  • Communication


    They can explain to strangers just how their business will solve problems and improve lives. And they can inspire employees to share the company’s mission.

  • Organization


    Entrepreneurs understand that their success is tied to lots of “moving parts” that need to work together. They create workflows and systems to get the most out of their resources. They are great at time management.

  • Action-Oriented


    Perhaps more than anyone else, a successful entrepreneur knows that concrete action, every day, is the only thing that turns a great idea into a winning business.

Does this sound like you? If so, then you might benefit from finding an entrepreneur or businessperson in your city who can offer advice or even mentor you.

A great resource in cities nationwide is SCORE. Supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE is a nonprofit association that helps small businesses get off the ground and new entrepreneurs succeed. In addition to mentoring, SCORE offers workshops (both in-person and online), and business tools to help start-ups.


For entrepreneurs-in-the-making, retail may feel like a real chore on some days. You’ve got plans, you’d like to get them off the ground, and sometimes your current job just seems to get in the way.

But the truth is, working retail can be a great step towards your goal. Working in a store gives you a chance to see just about everything involved in running a successful business, including staffing, scheduling, merchandising, inventory, management, and more.

In other words, before you leave retail, make the most out of the opportunity. When you look at it this way, even hard days will feel a whole lot less like a chore.