Order Clerks

Looking for a way to earn some cash with your time? Becoming an order clerk may be a good job for you. Here’s what you need to know about order-clerk jobs :

You need a high school diploma or GED. While some employers may be willing to hire you without a high school diploma, most require this as part of the hiring process (if you haven’t earned your diploma, you should consider taking the GED exam, which substitutes for a high school education). Order clerks with more education can expect to earn slightly more than clerks without a diploma. On average, order clerks earn about $28,000 a year, though pay varies widely across companies.

You will be trained on the job. While a high school education shows that you have learned the basics, you will still need training for taking orders in your particular industry. In a typical workday, order clerks may receive and process orders over the phone, online, or in person for a variety of products and/or services. Each company has a different way of doing it, so training is vitally important. As an order clerk, you may also work with customers on issues like pricing, shipping dates, and delivery (delay, damages, etc.), and you may handle customer complaints or direct customers to the appropriate department. If you will be working with the customers, your employer will likely train you on how to interact with them in a professional and caring manner.

You should be familiar with computers. In the past, order clerks carried around a notepad with order forms. While this is still the case in some industries, now almost everything is done by computer. If you aren’t comfortable with computers and software like spreadsheets and word-processing programs, you may want to consider taking a course at your local community college or career development center. Your local public library may also have resources to help you become computer-savvy—at the very least, your library has computers available where you can explore the programs and capabilities.

Seasonal job opportunities will be available. Online retailers and catalog companies often have a big sales push near seasonal holidays and observances like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day . During these seasonal cycles, such companies often hire extra order clerks to process the increase in customer volume. Be on the lookout for seasonal opportunities by checking with online job-search engines regularly in the months before the big retail seasons.

It’s a declining job market. Rapid progress in technology and office automation has decreased the need for order clerks, and employment is expected to decline at a rate of about 26 percent over the next decade. This means that while order-clerk jobs can be a great stepping stone, you should not view them as a stable source of income over the long term.

Be persistent in your job search. Although employment growth is declining, existing order-clerk jobs have a high turnover rate, which means that employers often need to replace clerks who have quit or moved on to other fields. So if there aren’t many order-clerk jobs available right now, try again tomorrow and the day after that.

Use several sources for job leads. Check the classified ads regularly and don’t forget about online job-search engines. You may also want to research some well-known catalog or online retail companies and bookmark their Web pages so you can check back regularly for employment information. There’s bound to be an opening somewhere, even if it’s only for the duration of the holiday retail season.