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Key Holder Career Guide

Are you a responsible, skilled, and organized person? If so, then a job as a key holder may be for you! Key holders are employees, usually in retail settings, in charge of opening and closing the storefront. They arrive early to set up before opening and are the last to leave, making sure the alarm system is up and running before closing. Key holders are trustworthy, honest, punctual, reliable, and responsible leaders. The main duties of a key holder are to assist customers, make sure the store is set up correctly and organized, and perform various managerial tasks.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced key holder. We are in need of an exceptionally responsible candidate with great communication and organization skills who is able to work full-time. A key holder is the first one to arrive at the store and the last to leave, ensuring that all is in order before setting the alarm system for the night. This position comes with a lot of responsibility. You will need a reliable form of transportation and a minimum of three years of experience in the retail industry. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Assist customers
  • Ensure quality customer service 
  • Confirm that the alarm system is working properly
  • Make sure that the store is organized and presentable each day
  • Oversee deliveries and other staff members
  • Arrive early to unlock the store and leave late to lock up
  • Communicate any concerns with management
  • Assist staff across the store when needed 
  • Store the security alarm codes and ensure no one else has access
  • Aid with management responsibilities when they are absent 
  • Oversee maintenance and cleaning staff
  • Supervise the storefront 
  • Train and support new coworkers
  • Coordinate staff schedules 
  • Manage the register and safe
  • Manage paperwork, emails, and phone calls when needed 

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • 3-5 years of retail experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • 18 years or older
  • Strong product knowledge in the industry you’re working in
  • Entry-level computer skills
  • Strong time-management skills
  • Punctual and dependable
  • Able to multitask
  • Able to stand for long periods of time 
  • Be able to lift objects up to 50 pounds
  • Exceptional organizational skills
  • Strong leadership skills
  • Great communication skills
  • Reliable transportation to get you to and from the store

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience in the retail industry
  • Experience in the customer service field
  • Ability to speak multiple languages
  • 5 or more years of experience
  • Certifications applicable to this position
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite 

Typical work environment

The typical work environment for a key holder varies significantly. Most key holder positions are in retail, so you are on your feet for long periods of time and may also be lifting boxes. This is typically a full-time position, so you can expect to work from opening to closing.

Typical hours

Most key holders are full-time employees. There are times when the company may have multiple keyholders, as shifts can be long and tiresome. Sometimes, one will open and the other key holder will close. Other times, key holders may work long, 12-hour shifts just a few days a week and the other key holder will work the other days. Hours vary in this field, but they usually include weekends and some holidays.

Available certifications

Becoming a key holder often requires a certain amount of experience. However, getting certifications may help replace retail sales experience and make securing a job easier. Here are some of the most popular certifications for key holders:

  • Certified Sales Professional (CSP) – Knowledge of sales as a key holder is especially important. This certification helps you better understand sales. It also leaves you with knowledge relating to business and time management. Often received by those working in sales occupations, this certification is especially helpful if you’re work is commission-based. Renewal of this certification is required every three years.
  • Professional Credit Associate (PCA) – This is the most common certificate in the credit industry. This certificate increases your knowledge and improves your overall skill. Renewal of this certification is required every five years.
  • National Professional Certification in Retail Management – Key holders are often thought of as managers, and there is a lot you need to know when working in retail management. This certification provides you with the skills needed to advance your career in retail management. Renewal is required every three years and you’ll learn the retail basics, such as managing a team.

Career path

Key holder jobs only require you to have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. Although a degree is not necessary, it can put you ahead of other candidates. A few years of retail experience is needed before becoming a key holder. Having some managerial experience is also a plus. To become a key holder, you need to be trustworthy and show that you understand how to handle store openings and closings.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 27-3042

2020 Employment3,835,000
Projected Employment in 20303,795,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 1% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift39,300 decrease

Though it seems as if we’ll always need retail workers, there will still be a slight decline in the number needed during the next decade. This is a result of most sales moving online and fewer people shopping in person at stores. However, becoming a key holder is still a stable career. There will always be a need for people to open and close storefronts, so despite the small decline, there will still be millions employed each year in this field.