Anyone who has visited a convenience store in a busy area during rush hour knows that these shops can be hectic. At other times of day, manning a convenience store can be achingly dull. Still, convenience-store clerks have to be ready for anything and know how to handle a lot of tasks around the store. It might not be your dream job, but working as a store clerk could be a valuable stepping stone on your career path: in a 2017 survey done by NACS, a trade association, 84 percent of former convenience store workers said these jobs helped them earn skills they needed for their future careers.
What Convenience Store Clerks Do
Convenience store clerks perform a lot of the same functions that other retail clerks do. They're trained to use the store's POS (point of sale) system, or cash register. Clerks ring up purchases, run credit card payments and make change for customers who are using cash. If the store has an attached gas station, clerks are responsible for handling fuel transactions and turning on pumps for customers who pay with cash inside the store. If the store sells alcohol, cigarettes and other age-restricted items, clerks may also be responsible for doing ID checks.
Large convenience stores sometimes employ dedicated cashiers and dedicated stock clerks, with each person performing specific duties. But in smaller stores, you might be expected to run the cash register and handle a broad range of other tasks. Stocking shelves, cleaning up spills, changing store displays and even cleaning the store bathroom may all fall to store clerks to do. In stores that don't operate 24 hours a day, clerks may also be responsible for certain closing duties at night and also to open the store in the morning.
Because convenience stores are sometimes targeted by thieves, clerks should also be trained to spot shoplifters. Store management should also train clerks in how to respond to criminal activity. It's very unlikely that you'll ever have to deal with an armed robber in the store, but it can happen. Knowing how to summon the police and how to safely respond to those situations is one of the most important convenience store cashier duties.
What to Expect as Salary
Store clerks don't earn much above minimum wage. These positions are hourly and clerks don't typically earn many benefits, if any. As of 2017, the median hourly pay for cashiers was $10.11, or $21,030 per year. Half of cashiers earned more than that, and half earned less.
Getting Work as a Store Clerk
Working as a convenience store clerk is a viable job option if you don't have a college degree. Corporate chains may require candidates to have a high-school diploma, but you may be able to get hired at an independently owned store, even without a diploma or a GED. Because convenience stores are open long hours, and some stay open around the clock, clerk jobs can be a good fit for candidates whose schedules don't allow them to work 9-to-5 positions.
When you're creating a resume for convenience store positions, highlight any experience you have operating a cash register and doing customer service work. Having basic math skills, a good attitude and a willingness to work as part of a team are other traits that managers tend to look for in convenience store clerks.