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Become A Department Specialist

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Working As A Department Specialist

  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • $80,356

    Average Salary

What Does A Department Specialist Do

Retail sales workers include both those who sell retail merchandise, such as clothing, furniture, and cars, (called retail salespersons) and those who sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts (called parts salespersons). Both types of workers help customers find the products they want and process customers’ payments.

Duties

Retail sales workers typically do the following:

  • Greet customers and offer them assistance
  • Recommend merchandise based on customers’ wants and needs
  • Explain the use and benefit of merchandise to customers
  • Answer customers’ questions
  • Show how merchandise works, if applicable
  • Add up customers’ total purchases and accept payment
  • Inform customers about current sales, promotions, and policies about payments and exchanges

The following are examples of types of retail sales workers:

Retail salespersons work in stores where they sell goods, such as books, cars, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, furniture, lumber, plants, shoes, and many other types of merchandise.

In addition to helping customers find and select items to buy, many retail salespersons process the payment for the sale, which typically involves operating cash registers.

After taking payment for the purchases, retail salespersons may bag or package the purchases.

Depending on the hours they work, retail salespersons may have to open or close cash registers. This includes counting the money in the register and separating charge slips, coupons, and exchange vouchers. They may also make deposits at a cash office.

For information about other workers who receive and disburse money, see the profile on cashiers.

In addition, retail salespersons may help stock shelves or racks, arrange for mailing or delivery of purchases, mark price tags, take inventory, and prepare displays.

For some retail sales jobs, particularly those involving expensive and complex items, retail sales workers need special knowledge or skills. For example, those who sell cars must be able to explain the features of various models, manufacturers’ specifications, different types of options on the car, financing available, and the details of associated warranties.

In addition, retail sales workers must recognize security risks and thefts and understand their organization’s procedures for handling thefts—procedures that may include notifying security guards or calling police.

Parts salespersons sell spare and replacement parts and equipment, especially car parts. Most work in either automotive parts stores or automobile dealerships. They take customers’ orders, inform customers of part availability and price, and take inventory.

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How To Become A Department Specialist

Typically, there are no formal education requirements for retail sales workers. Most receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months.

Education

Although retail or parts sales positions usually have no formal education requirements, some employers prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent, especially employers who sell technical products or “big-ticket” items, such as electronics or cars.

Training

Most retail sales workers receive on-the-job training, which usually lasts a few days to a few months. In small stores, an experienced employee often trains newly hired workers. In large stores, training programs are more formal and usually conducted over several days.

During training sessions, topics often include customer service, security, the store’s policies and procedures, and how to operate the cash register.

Depending on the type of product they are selling, employees may be given additional specialized training. For example, salespersons working in cosmetics get instruction on the types of products the store offers and for whom the cosmetics would be most beneficial. Likewise, those who sell computers may be instructed on the technical differences between computer products.

Because providing exceptional service to customers is a priority for many employers, employees often get periodic training to update and refine their skills.

Advancement

Retail sales workers typically have opportunities to advance to supervisory or managerial positions. Some employers want candidates for managerial positions to have a college degree.

As sales workers gain experience and seniority, they often move into positions that have greater responsibility and may be given their choice of departments in which to work. This opportunity often means moving to positions with higher potential earnings and commissions. The highest earnings potential usually involves selling “big-ticket” items—such as cars, jewelry, furniture, and electronics. These positions often require workers with extensive knowledge of the product and an excellent talent for persuasion.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Retail sales workers must be responsive to the wants and needs of customers. They should explain the product options available to customers and make appropriate recommendations.

Interpersonal skills. A friendly and outgoing personality is important for these workers because the job requires almost constant interaction with people. 

Math skills. Retail sales workers must have the ability to calculate price totals, discounts, and change owed to customers.

Persistence. A large number of attempted sales may not be successful, so sales workers should not be discouraged easily. They must start each new sales attempt with a positive attitude.

Selling skills. Retail sales workers must be persuasive when interacting with customers. They must clearly and effectively explain the benefits of the merchandise.

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Department Specialist Jobs

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Department Specialist Career Paths

Department Specialist
Machine Operator Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Department Supervisor Office Manager General Manager
Area Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Service Manager Operation Supervisor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Accountant Finance Analyst
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Operations Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounting Clerk Accounts Payable Clerk Accountant
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Security Officer Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Department Supervisor Operations Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resource Specialist Human Resources Manager Operations Director
Managing Director
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Plant Manager General Manager
Managing Partner
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Department Manager Department Manager Sales Manager
Market Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Merchandiser
Merchandising Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager General Manager Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Department Manager Operations Manager Branch Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager General Manager Account Manager
Sales Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Department Manager Store Manager Account Executive
Sales/Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Case Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resource Specialist Recruiter Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Branch Manager Account Executive
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Department Manager Owner Sales Consultant
Training Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Department Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

64.4%

Male

33.7%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

61.9%

Hispanic or Latino

17.0%

Black or African American

10.0%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.0%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Russian

8.5%

French

5.3%

Arabic

5.3%

Chinese

4.3%

German

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Hindi

3.2%

Italian

3.2%

Portuguese

2.1%

Urdu

2.1%

Bulgarian

1.1%

Tigrinya

1.1%

Bosnian

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Kazakh

1.1%

Gujarati

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Tibetan

1.1%
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Department Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

16.1%

Boise State University

13.1%

Ashford University

5.1%

University of Utah

5.1%

American University

5.1%

Arizona State University

4.4%

Saint Cloud State University

4.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.6%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

3.6%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

Georgia State University

3.6%

California State University - Northridge

3.6%

American InterContinental University

3.6%

Portland State University

3.6%

Eastern Michigan University

3.6%

Miami Dade College

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

Chemeketa Community College

3.6%

Colorado State University

3.6%

University of South Florida

2.9%
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Majors

Business

30.4%

Accounting

7.4%

Psychology

6.8%

Marketing

6.5%

Communication

5.0%

Criminal Justice

4.9%

Management

4.4%

Health Care Administration

3.8%

Finance

3.2%

Human Resources Management

3.0%

General Studies

2.9%

Nursing

2.9%

Sociology

2.9%

English

2.6%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Education

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Political Science

2.3%

Fine Arts

2.0%

Elementary Education

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Other

27.4%

Associate

13.7%

Masters

12.4%

Certificate

4.2%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

1.4%

License

0.7%
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Top Skills for A Department Specialist

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  1. Customer Service
  2. New Merchandise
  3. Department Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ensured accurate and timely resolution to questions by providing excellent customer service to vendors and retailers in regard to invoice processing.
  • Created merchandise sets using a floor map to ensure new merchandise for the season is properly displayed.
  • Submitted samples of product to government laboratory for testing as indicated by department procedures.
  • Maintained current resident and non-resident licenses in required states, completed continuing education requirements to stay in compliance.
  • Skilled in problem solving, meeting strict deadlines, organization, prioritization, and data entry accuracy.

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Top Department Specialist Employers

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