Translate Your Skills

Ask a group of people, and many will say they started their careers in retail. Do you know how the skills you’re building today can help you build a real future in retail or in other lines of work? Let’s take a look.

Hard Skills Vs. Soft Skills

There are different types of job skills. Employers often talk about “hard” and “soft” skills. So what’s the difference?

Hard Skills

Examples of hard skills include knowing a computer program, inventory software, or cash register; knowing about products and workplace policies; and having advanced skills in math, reading, and writing.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are characteristics or abilities that are a little harder to pinpoint but may make you the ideal employee for certain jobs. They are sometimes thought of as “people skills.”

Many hard and soft skills are easily mastered in retail and desired by employers in other lines of work.

Growing basic skills into advanced skills

Use the tool below to see how your basic skills translate and grow into mid-level and advanced skills.

Skill-Level Translator

The * shows examples of hard skills. Most are soft skills.

Translating Retail Skills to Other Careers

Now let’s look at just of few of the other jobs and careers outside of retail where those same skills you’re developing might also fit. Check out some of the skills associated with them:

  • Entrepreneurship

    rocket ship

    starting your own business


  • Financial Services

    building with dollar sign

    bank teller, insurance agent, loan officer

    Customer Service,
    Strong Math Skills

  • Healthcare

    medical center building

    home healthcare aide, nurse, pharmacy tech

    Problem Solving

  • Hospitality

    champagne glasses on butler tray

    caterer, event planner, hotel concierge

    Computer Skills,
    Customer Service,

  • Office Work

    briefcase and calculator

    executive assistant, human resources, office manager, receptionist

    Computer Skills,
    Time Management

  • Sales

    in store and online, from automotive to real estate

    Customer Service,

  • Social Services

    graph with dollar signs

    social and human service assistant, social worker

    Problem Solving

Retail gives you a chance to practice communication, customer service, and sales skills that are essential in many fields. In fact, almost 70% of recruiters in all industries say communication is the most important skill. Take a look at how many of the jobs listed above require someone who can communicate with people. Retail work prepares you for that!

Ready to see how you can apply your own skills to a job or career that you’d like to try? Then you’re ready to pick your path!

Pick Your Path graphicPick Your Path

Not sure what your future holds? Use this tool to explore your options in retail or other areas.