A college degree can be helpful, although it is not always required, to become an allocation analyst. Experience in merchandising is also important. Some employers may prefer to recruit from among existing personnel, who have experience with their specific protocols and procedures. It may be possible to rise within the ranks at a specific company to become an allocation analyst, and to take these skills to another firm in the event of a competing job offer.
People who want to get a degree should consider an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a subject like business, merchandising, or communications. While in school, it may be possible to pursue an internship with a large retailer to get actual allocation analyst experience under the direction of skilled personnel. In addition to giving people formal training that can help them establish a career, this also creates connections that may be useful on an application to become an allocation analyst.
With a degree, it may be possible to apply into the allocation department at a retailer in order to get practical experience. This can include supervision of varying numbers of stores and departments over time as people develop more competence. As job openings arise, applicants can determine if they have enough experience to fill the opening; retailers may ask for between two and five years of retail experience with a focus on allocation analysis.
Another option for someone who wants to become an allocation analyst but doesn’t want to pursue formal education is to work up through the ranks at a company. This can start with merchandising and coordinating at an individual store before applying for positions at regional and national headquarters over time. It can take slightly longer to become an allocation analyst this way, but people will earn money from work while they advance, and won’t have to consider the cost of education while they pursue their careers.
In addition to training and experience, it can help to be able to demonstrate competence with some specific traits employers may look for in an applicant. Good communication skills are important, as an allocation analyst needs to communicate with a variety of personnel. It can also help to understand trends and developments in the industry, as these can play a role in what customers look for and which stores will need what kinds of products. Maintaining a neat, professional appearance is also critical because allocation analysts regularly interact with vendors and clients.