At the end of college, I attended a job fair. Sherwin Williams had a booth and was talking to students about their management trainee program. I initially went to speak with them as a way of practicing my interviewing skills. The conversation went well, and I had two subsequent interviews before they offered me the job.
I entered their six-week training program to become an assistant manager. During the first month, I received a temporary placement at a retail store and was trained in bookkeeping, had hands-on experience working with customers and staff, and watched training videos on various aspects of store management. For the last week, I was flown to their training facility in Ohio and had classroom-style learning. The class worked on P & L statements and discussed different management styles. After my training program was completed I worked as an Assistant Manager at one of their retail locations. After four years I was offered the position of manager at another location, which I’ve been doing for the last two years.
Most of my day, I'm working with customers on the floor. As a manager, I'm there to handle more complicated matters that arise and to help oversee larger customer projects. Once a week, I order and receive our weekly shipments. Monthly, I go over the store's expenses and make sure they line up with the projections - going through our Profit and Loss (P & L) statements. I am continuously training my staff, and delegating duties to my assistant managers and part-time employees.
Every day is different, and I enjoy the variety. Some customers will bring me their whole project and want my assistance with color and design. It's rewarding to be creative and see a project come together.
You need excellent communication skills, be a good listener, and have patience. You need to be strong enough to occasionally confront employees when they're not doing their job correctly - which can be an awkward conversation.
Some people prefer to work behind the scenes, but retail is hands-on. Having a friendly, outgoing personality is helpful. Also, in management, you won't be successful unless you're good with organization and multitasking. I need to use these skills daily.