By Kelly Robertson—Notary and Loan Signing work has been lean for several years, and I know that many have had to find other work to pay the bills. Some are “hangin’ tough” but are really taking a hit financially and may be at the point of having to find alternate or additional work, too. I’d like to share what I think is a great job for those who are still signing but need to augment their reduced income immediately. The job is called many things but in general, the title is “Retail Merchandiser.” Common marketing research indicates that 70% of consumer decisions are made at the point-of-purchase so the positioning and display of retail products is paramount. That’s why there are so many merchandising jobs! Let me tell you a little about the position and provide some job lead links:

A merchandiser performs many functions: For some positions, this may include ordering of product, restocking, straightening and the organizing displays. They may also perform inventory and simple return/shipping duties. Some jobs may require the merchandiser to take digital photos and complete a checklist/questionnaire. I also found “auditor” type positions where the merchandiser goes from store to store to make sure that products and displays are set up in the proper manner and store location. Most jobs require a computer and email capability as well as acceptance of Excel informational spreadsheets. A cell phone and reliable transportation are a must!

Physical demands: Varied. Some jobs appear to be very physical and require a lot of heavy lifting; some do not. Lifting requirements varied on average from 25 to 50 lbs. (mostly totes) but I found a few job descriptions that didn’t mention any lifting at all. Other jobs (like the magazine and greeting card merchandiser) required prolonged periods of standing, bending, stooping, squatting and reaching overhead. Breaks can be taken as needed but a time-frame of completion was identified for each position depending on the size of the store, amount of product delivered, etc.

Training: Looks like training is paid, at the hourly wage, on-the-job. Some companies provide a car allowance, company cars, travel time to-from stores/jobs.

Territory: Some employers offered a territory, some offered specific stores, and some only offered the position as a “as needed” position (for example, when other Merchandisers are ill, on vacation, etc).

Hours: Varied. Some spots can’t start until the merchandise is delivered; other jobs involved nights or early morning hours only; some were Mon-Fri and some involved weekends.

Pay ranges: From $8 to $14 per hour average, but I did see one that went up to $16. Merchandiser positions were found to be mostly part-time, but I also saw a few full-time jobs. You may be an employee or you may be an independent contractor. The position may be seasonal or temporary or permanent. A job at Hallmark specifically stated, “Part-time – full-time and no opportunity for advancement.”

Dress: Some employers provide a company work-shirt/uniform, a vendor apron and supplies, and some did not. Most jobs stated they desired “a clean appearance” and “close-toed shoes.” Heck, who can’t comply with that request!

Here’s the question I asked of every potential employer who returned my call: “Can the merchandiser accept cell phone calls?” Everyone replied, “yes,” as long as the phone calls were not excessive. Perfect for a loan signer!

Although I’m providing some links and company leads, you may want to conduct some research on your own. Key words and phrases include: marketing, field merchandiser, marketing representative, in-store sales specialist/merchandiser, brand ambassador (my favorite title!), visual fashions merchandiser, visual display merchandiser, sell-through specialist, reset merchandiser and flex merchandiser. Here are your leads:

And the list goes on for you to Google and connect with: RMX, Crossmark, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Crossroad Services, Inc., Kellogg’s Company/Kellogg’s Snacks, FAO Schwarz, Prologix Services, Rearden Commerce, SPAR Group, National Marketing Services, Hallmark Greeting Cards/Hallmark, Sunrise Greetings. I’m sure there’re plenty more – use the key words and Google!

Also, check out the job bank at National Association of Retail Merchandisers. You can join for free and there are other job opportunities such as Mystery Shopper, Demonstrator, Recruiter/Scheduler.

I spent many hours researching this subject and I hope that this information will be helpful, will enhance your life, help you grow and put money in the bank. My new motto for 2008 has been, “Say YES to all Opportunities” and I’m so glad I have!

Good Luck!