5 Skills You’ll Gain From Working in a Supermarket

Positions in retail, and particularly in a supermarket environment, are often readily available. If you decide to apply for a role of this kind, you’ll quickly discover that this type of employment can be extremely valuable – not just as a way of making money, but also as a means of developing many highly sought-after skills that can be applied to your future career or, indeed, to your life in general.

So, what supermarket skills can you acquire, and how will they help you to progress?

In this article, we will explain the five core routes of development that you can access from working in a supermarket role:

  •     Communication
  •     Confidence
  •     Professionalism
  •     Time management
  •     Patience

Career Opportunities 

“Why should I work in a supermarket?” is a good question, and one that is very easy to answer. Not only will you typically benefit from regular hours, holiday and sick pay and a strong team of colleagues and managers to support you, but – vitally – transferable skills gained from working in a supermarket will help you to progress and further your career in a rewarding environment.

These supermarket skills are highly sought after and will look superb when displayed on your CV. This will help you no end in the pursuit of your dream career – but will also help to make you a more efficient worker. In fact, you’ll be able to apply many of the skills gained from working in a supermarket to your wider life, helping you to become well-rounded.

1. Communication

From your managers to your colleagues to your customers, you’ll be speaking to a wide variety of people throughout your shift in a supermarket.

This will help you to develop a professional, friendly tone that is appropriate for each situation, and will also teach you how to assist, direct and respond to people in a way that is concise, positive and productive.

These communication skills are highly sought after by employers but are also very beneficial to your own personal development too. Working in a supermarket can bring out the confidence in you that you didn’t know you had and may help you improve your interaction with people as part of your day-to-day life.

2. Confidence

Retail tends to focus around delivering excellent customer service – meaning you’ll be interacting with a wide range of customers throughout each shift. 

You may need to greet shoppers and assist them in locating items. Being bold, friendly and personable to complete strangers can push many individuals out of their comfort zone, helping them to develop brand new confidence that will stay with them for the rest of their career.

3. Professionalism

High up on the list of supermarket job skills is “professionalism”. This is a highly regarded trait for any employer, and if you are able to positively represent your brand at every opportunity, you are likely to go far!

When you speak to a customer, the impression you give is the first – and perhaps the only – one they will hold in their minds as they continue their shopping and leave the store. This will directly affect the way they think about the company for which you work and will leave a lasting impression.

You need to maintain a thoroughly professional, helpful and proactive manner throughout every second of your shift, which should be followed through with positive action at every opportunity. This will impress your managers and will set you up perfectly for career progression.

4. Time Management

Good time management is not only highly valued amongst supermarket job skills, but it’s also one of the most commonly required traits in almost any job description.

It’s almost inevitable that you’ll develop great time management skills when working in retail – at busy periods, it’s likely that you’ll need to handle multiple tasks at any one time and effectively jump from one task to another without losing focus or taking too long.

This will help you to learn how to manage your time – and it will get easier the more you do it. Soon it will be second nature, and you’ll be able to apply it to a variety of other aspects in your life.

Good time management includes superb prioritisation skills – the ability to decide which tasks should be completed in which order, depending on their importance and urgency. Success here will result in a far higher standard of work and will look great on any CV. It’s also a skill that will benefit you in your everyday life too, especially if you were a person who was once quite unorganised. 

5. Patience 

Even in busy periods, you will need to respond to customers, help them to find the correct items and answer their questions fully and politely. This often requires patience, as some people may not be able to describe exactly what they are looking for, and you may feel that you are being distracted from an important task. 

However, it’s vital to remember that your customers are at the core of the brand for which you work. Without them, there would not be a role for you! This is why you must always treat customers as the most important aspect of your work.

You may sometimes find yourself in challenging situations when working in retail. On rare occasions, customers may become angry. Their favourite product may no longer be stocked, or they may have purchased an item that was not in the right condition, for example. 

In these situations, learning how to listen, remain calm and respond in a polite and effective manner is highly valued among supermarket skills – and, indeed, throughout the rest of life’s challenges. 

Once you’ve learned this skill, you will be able to diffuse and resolve situations easily, making you a highly talented and valuable employee.

So, the answer to the question “why should I work in a supermarket?” is this: not only will you make a living working with a diverse and friendly team in a varied environment in this kind of employment, but you’ll also gain valuable skills that will set you up for the rest of your career – and indeed, your life.

If you’re interested in applying for a supermarket job, then it’s time to start your search! For information about the diverse positions available with Sainsbury’s, simply take a look at our dedicated job site right here.