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Five ways to jumpstart your career in retail

Cece SchulzBy Cecilia Schulz

Retail.

Hold on. Before you continue to scroll beyond this article, I want to challenge you to give me 30 seconds of your time. Deal?

Retail. It’s practically a four-letter word. When I talk with undergrads about studying to be a retailer they quickly halt the conversation with, “Been there, done that.” I say, “Been where, done what?” You’ve bagged groceries, folded sweaters, flipped burgers. I know these jobs were rough. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of name badges and hair nets, but once you have a degree, retail becomes exciting, progressive and lucrative! Yeah, I said lucrative. Still with me?…I still have 20 seconds.

Tell me if you heard this one: There’s a retail apocalypse. Puh-leez. Retail isn’t going anywhere. Generation Z (if you are a current student, that’s probably YOU) is the largest growing sector of our generations. They like to own stuff and they buy their stuff online. What’s interesting is they favor online purchases from retailers that have actual brick and mortar stores. Go figure! Some of the mechanisms of the industry have changed, but the basic idea of getting the product to the consumer has not. So, fear not! Retail and the careers it offers are here to stay. It’s merely adapting to consumer behaviors and technological advances. Besides, if retailing was dead, where would you get your Starbucks, your MAC, your Ivivva? So stopppppp with the gloom and doom.

Real talk: Retail careers are numerous, diverse and fun. As a Gator, you’re in luck because here at Warrington, we have the Miller Retail Center. I am the new director of student engagement and retail career strategies. My job is to connect hundreds of retailers with thousands of students for internships and careers in positions like social media, analytics, merchandising, supply chain, asset protection, management, ecommerce, finance, human resources and product development to name a few. Any of this interest you?

Here’s how you can get started while studying here at Warrington!

  1. Hi, my name is Cece, and I’m here to help

First, by all means, come to see me! My office is in Stuzin Hall 100. By learning more about you and your career interests, I can help you to develop a personalized strategy to pursue your dream job in the industry. Maybe you’ve not considered a retail career path because you simply don’t know what’s out there beyond what you did in high school. There’s an abundance of opportunities for involvement and I can streamline the search. Buzz me.

  1. Retail You!

Lately, a popular option has been to experience the Retail You! Program. This unique semester-long program is the only one of its kind that directly addresses the skills necessary to launch a career in the industry. Students learn details about customer service, sales, interviewing, research, generational information, career specifics and receive feedback on personality inventories. Participants have the guidance of mentors assigned to them to help them with the retail career search. The facilitator, the group camaraderie and the mentors assure every student becomes the polished retail diamond the industry craves. Interested? Check it out here and apply!

  1. Shop and learn in NYC

Say you might be interested in retailing, but you just want to put your toe in the water. Ok. We can accommodate that as well. For a decade, the Miller Center has hosted field trips to New York City that have helped students understand what the industry offers while incorporating company visits, walking tours and shopping. This fall, the Center is traveling to the Merchandise Mart in Atlanta as well. These trips are educational, they expose students to showrooms, industry executives and opportunities unlike what is seen on campus. Oh…and they’re fun. Check them out, join us and learn while you’re having fun!

  1. Earn a minor in retail leadership

Convinced yet? There’s more. You can even get a minor in retailing leadership. By engaging in the courses Warrington offers for retail business development, you are sending a clear message to the industry that you are committed to retail! Warrington is very serious about training Gators to think globally, analytically and inclusively so they can be the leaders of the business world. The minor in retailing leadership gets you retail ready by exposing you to numerous industry experts, teaches you A to Z retail concepts and guides you through the retail leadership internship program. Additionally, there are case studies, competitions, involvement in the National Retail Federation, scholarships and the tremendously popular Retail Society which is currently the only business student organization that broadcasts their meetings on Facebook Live so the online business students can participate as well. Yeah…all true.

  1. Retail Smarter Conference

Last but not least, in March of 2019, the Miller Center will bring its annual conference to the University of Florida. For thirty years, the Retail Smarter conference has brought leaders together to share best practices. This year, Retail Smarter will demonstrate the changes in the industry with a diverse approach to the typical conference by providing riveting speakers, relevant vendors and career recruiters all demonstrating how the industry is flourishing with development, opportunity and innovation. Are you a UF student? You can go for free!

Retailing is very much alive and the energy from the Miller Center is radiant! As the industry transforms, the careers transform as well. We can help you focus your studies and prepare to jump in for an outstanding professional business career. Remember:  retailers primarily seek business students because…well…retailing is BUSINESS!

If you’d like to talk more about the industry or anything you read that inspires you, reach out to me at cecilia.schulz@warrington.ufl.edu!