It seems like every other day that there’s a headline about the growing decline of retail jobs due to artificial intelligence. Even The New York Times has published an article about this very matter called The Robots Are Coming. Prepare for Trouble. The article explores how artificial intelligence is directly threatening existing retail jobs, as more consumers shop online and, in turn, more retailers set up e-commerce stores.
It’s no wonder why retailers find the switch to selling online enticing. Not only will doing so ensure they stay relevant as consumers increasingly abandon brick and mortar stores, but it also allows them to substantially cut their running costs. After all, it’s far more cost-effective to pay for an e-commerce platform and web hosting than thousands of dollars in rent, electricity, and wages every month.
Frankly speaking, this isn’t good news for retail workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of retail salespersons is projected to decline 2 percent from 2018 to 2028. The implication is that with less jobs to go around, competition is only going to get stiffer for job seekers.
If you want to ensure you get hired, it’s crucial that you fix up your resume. Ultimately, your resume is what a recruiter or store manager will base their decision to interview you or not on. If they find your resume to be impressive, they’ll be eager to do so. But if they find it lacklustre...well, they’ll ask one of the hundreds of other candidates who applied to come instead.
Now that you understand just how important perfecting your resume is, it’s time to learn about how to make an eye-catching one. Our retail sales associate guide covers all of the essential information you need to know including:
- The best format for your resume
- How to ace a job interview
- Which qualifications are best to have in this line of work
- Expert tips for putting forward your best attributes
- How to customize your resume for each application
1. Multiple Template Examples
2. How to Write a Retail Sales Associate Resume That Will Get Your Phone Ringing
How to format your resume
If you’re wondering, “How should I format my retail sales associate resume?” we’re glad you asked. Many job seekers overlook the impact their resume’s format has in conveying their viability as a candidate.
Think about it: a recruiter will be tenfold more likely to take your application seriously if your resume is well-organized and professional-looking. On the contrary, they won’t give it a second glance if it’s disorganized and difficult to read.
So which format should you use? We recommend using a reverse-chronological format as it’s regarded by most HR professionals and resume experts as the go-to format for anyone who has at least a few relevant jobs to their name. This format positions your work experience front and center by ordering each job you’ve had from most to least recent. In turn, a recruiter will be able to ascertain if you have the necessary experience they’re looking for.
Pro Tip: If you have little to no work experience, we recommend using a functional resume format instead, as it emphasizes skills over experience.
Creating a strong resume also relies on following a handful of layout rules, which we’ve listed below. To be perfectly clear, these are not optional! Recruiters expect you to strictly adhere to them and most will have no qualms about dismissing your resume if you fail to.
- Number of Pages: 1 page maximum.
- Fonts to Use: An easy to read serif font like Goudy Old Style or sans serif font like Tahoma.
- Fonts to Avoid: An unprofessional, childish font like Jokerman and Bubblegum.
- Margins: 1 inch on all sides.
- Line Spacing: 1 or 1.15.
- Header size: 14-16 point size.
- Text size: 11-12 point size
What makes a great retail sales associate resume? How do you give recruiters what they’re looking for?
The difference between a good retail sales associate resume and a great one is that the latter will take every opportunity to sell the candidate as the best choice for the position. Even with a quick glance of a great resume, a recruiter will be able to quickly gather that the candidate has an ideal mix of the right skills, professional achievements, qualifications (if necessary), and attitude to thrive in the role.
That means in order to give a recruiter what they’re looking for, your resume needs to address the specific criteria they’re evaluating each and every resume by. This is why simply copying and pasting your last resume is one of the worst things you can do. Instead, it’s crucial to customize your resume each and every time so that it highlights your suitability for each particular job.
All in all, if you want to get hired, you’ll need to create a customized resume that communicates both in its appearance and content that you’re an ideal candidate. Our guide will teach you exactly how to do this, so keep reading to learn more.
How to prepare for a job interview as a retail sales worker
In order to effectively prepare for a job interview as a retail sales worker, you need to remain organized and motivated to succeed. Here our our top tips for how to succeed in your next job interview:
- Practice answering interview questions: A tried-and-true method of preparing for a job interview is to practice answering interview questions. We’ve listed 16 of the most common ones below to get you started. It’s advisable to practice them out loud in front of a mirror so you get used to the interview process.
- Use the STAR interview response technique: If you’ve always struggled to stay on point or make an impact when answering interview questions, give the STAR interview response technique a go. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. If you use this technique to answer any behavioral questions an interviewer throws at you, your answers will sound both logical and impressive.
- Research the company: Many candidates can confidently answer questions about themselves but will fall flat when asked any about the company. Don’t get caught out when you’re unable to standard questions like, “Who is our CEO?” or “What inspired the founders to start the company?” Check the company’s website, social media channels, and LinkedIn to learn about the company’s history as well as what they’re currently up to.
- Try to ease your nerves: While it’s vital to be prepared, your preparation will be for nothing if you’re too nervous to perform at your best. That’s why you should prioritize easing your nerves in the leadup to your interview. If you’ve been prepping like crazy, take a break. It will also be helpful to learn some breathing exercises for relaxation.
Which questions are likely to be asked during the interview process?
As we pointed out above, it’s vital to practice interview questions to ensure you’re adequately prepared to respond to them. Below, we’ve shared some of the most common questions asked at retail sales associate interviews:
- Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
- Are you able and willing to work weekends / night shifts?
- What is your availability?
- Are you able to open and close up?
Questions about you as a professional:
- What skills do you have that would be beneficial to this role?
- Do you work well in a team?
- How would your coworkers describe you?
- What is a difficult situation you confronted at your previous workplace and how did you deal with it?
Questions about working at the store:
- How do you define ‘good customer service’?
- What would you do if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question?
- If a customer was being rude to you, what would you do?
- In what ways would you go up and beyond for a customer?
Questions about the business:
- Why do you want to work here?
- What would you say makes our business special?
- How would you attract more customers to our store?
- What do you think we could be doing better?
What are ideal retail sales associate job qualifications and how do you list them correctly?
Generally speaking, most retail sales associate jobs don’t require candidates to hold any specific formal qualifications. That being said, most employers will look favorably on candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent – and some may even require one. The BLS points out that this is particularly the case for businesses that sell “big ticket” items like cars and electronics.
In terms of ideal retail sales associate job qualifications, the key is to list those that are relevant to the given job. While it’s certainly not required, you'll likely catch a recruiter’s attention if you hold a business, sales, or marketing degree from a college or community college.
Moreover, if you hold a degree or have any training or certifications in an area that’s clearly connected to what the business sells, listing them in your resume will be sure to impress. For example, if you want to apply for a job in a plant store and you hold a Certificate of Achievement in Agripharmatech from a community college, listing it is an easy way to stand out.
So how do you correctly list any qualifications you’d like to highlight? If it’s a degree, add it to your “Education” section, whereas if it’s a certification, add it to your “Training and Certifications” section. Make sure to include the following information about each one:
- The name of the degree or certificate
- The name of the college or institution
- The state the college or institution is located
- The years you studied
- Bachelor of Science in Marketing, University of Minnesota, MN, 2019 - Present
- Certificate of Achievement in Electrical Technology, Henry Ford College, MI, 2017 - 2018
How to highlight your most important achievements
The achievements you highlight in your resume shouldn’t be arbitrarily chosen because you think they sound good. Your selection should be based on evidence of what sounds good to a recruiter.
Fortunately, there’s a straightforward way to determine which achievements will leave a positive impression on a recruiter. The keywords you’ll find throughout a job ad offer a direct insight into what a recruiter values in an ideal candidate. They will either represent the tasks a candidate will need to perform in the role or the ideal skills they should possess.
In order to show you represent what they’re looking for, you can frame each of your achievements around one or more of the keywords you identify in a job ad. However, keep in mind that there’s a right and wrong way to go about this.
To make this clear, let’s compare the achievements of two different candidates who targeted the keyword ‘exceptional customer service’.
First, take a look at an example of a bad retail sales associate achievement:
- Demonstrated exceptional customer service every day to ensure customers were happy.
This achievement is exceptionally vague and bland, so the recruiter’s eyes would definitely glaze over. Beyond this, the candidate hasn’t instilled any confidence in the recruiter that they actually understand how to provide exceptional customer service. After all, they failed to provide an example or evidence of this skill they claim to have.
Now, take a look at an example of an amazing retail sales associate achievement:
- Demonstrated exceptional customer service by attending to each customer’s unique needs, as exemplified by my sales consistently being 50% or more above the store’s monthly sales targets.
This candidate knocks their resume achievement out of the park because they’ve provided specific details about their ability to provide exceptional customer service. By sharing how they do so (“...by attending to each customer’s unique needs”), the recruiter would recognize this candidate has a strong understanding of what is required to excel at it.
Another notable thing this candidate did is quantify their achievements. In other words, they provided tangible evidence (“...my sales consistently being approx. 50% above the store’s monthly sales target.”) to back their claim up.
If you’re ready to impress like this candidate does, be sure to refer back to these do’s and don’t when the time comes to write out your own achievements.
Pro tip: A huge resume no-no to steer clear of when including keywords is something called ‘keyword stuffing’. As Jobscan points out, this describes when a candidate features skills in their resume in a dishonest or out of context manner, tries to hide keywords using white text, or over-optimizes a given keyword. If a recruiter catches you doing any of these things, your chances of being hired will be as good as gone.
Which soft and hard skills should you mention? How do you do this correctly?
There’s no doubt about the fact that all talented retail sales associates boast numerous useful skills. These skills can be divided into two categories:
- Hard skills: Tangible and teachable skills that tend to be more technical in nature.
- Soft skills: Intangible and interpersonal skills that are focused on how we interact with others and conduct ourselves.
It is crucial to include a combination of both in your resume. You’ll need to list out 6 to 8 skills in your “Skills” section and additionally pepper some naturally throughout your “Employment History” section. We also recommend mentioning a few more in your resume objective or summary.
You can select the right skills to feature in the same way we explained how to select your achievements. In short, you will need to scan a job ad for keywords. Most of the keywords you find will already be skills-based, so it’s perfectly fine to repeat them throughout the three sections we mentioned above. Just remember that they should flow naturally and make sense within the context of each sentence.
If you’re after some examples of the skills commonly expected of retail sales associates, consult our list below. We sourced these skills straight from real-life job ads, so they should give you a good indication of what many recruiters are after.
- Providing exceptional customer service
- Maintaining the appearance of the store
- Conducting product inventories
- Arranging and replenishing displays
- Achieving daily/weekly/monthly sales targets
- Hitting individual and shop sales goals
- Operating the register & EFTPOS machine
- Cashing up
- Administering repairs and returns
- Handling customer complaints and queries
- Customer focused
- Ability to work as a team member
- Excellent verbal communication
- Sense of personal accountability
- Detail oriented
- Ability to handle several tasks simultaneously
How to write a resume objective or summary and examples of both
Both a resume objective and resume summary have the power to influence a recruiter’s first impression of a candidate. The best ones entice a recruiter to read on and help position the candidate as worthy of being interviewed. They’re also both 2 to 4 sentences long and appear right at the start of a resume.
But that’s where the similarities end. A resume objective is designed for entry-level candidates and focuses on their career aspirations and potential. In contrast, a resume summary is designed for experienced candidates and focuses on their most relevant and compelling professional attributes and experiences.
Once you know which one is right for you to include, keep reading to learn how to write a strong one.
When writing your resume objective, there are some crucial pitfalls you will need to avoid. On one hand, it’s vital not to downplay your attributes and show your desperation, like the following candidate did:
- Aspiring retail sales associate with zero experience who would give anything for this chance to work at your company.
On the other hand, it’s also important not to be cocky or overconfident – especially if you don’t back up what you’re saying. This is what the following candidate did:
- Aspiring retail sales associate who would definitely become your best salesperson ever due to my charisma and other great qualities.
So what should you do instead? Use your resume objective to leave no doubt in the recruiter’s mind that you possess the required qualities to excel in the given job. While you may not have previous retail experience, you can instead highlight all of the other relevant skills, experiences, education, training, and attributes you offer.
Be confident in your abilities and provide evidence for why you believe you’d be an asset to the company. You’ll get bonus points if you can quantify your achievements! The following candidate did all of these things to great effect:
- Aspiring retail sales associate who is skilled in customer service, verbal communication, and organization. With a 100% satisfaction rating in my current role as a customer service officer coupled with the fact that I am a loyal customer at Sparkle Jewelry, I have the know-how and positive attitude to keep customers coming back.
When you compare this example to the previous ones, it’s clear how much more powerful it is. A recruiter would be immediately impressed by the effort this candidate put into writing it, let alone how they sold themselves as a perfect fit for the role by quantifying their achievements. If you also want your resume objective to shine, be sure to follow the tips we just shared.
The secret to writing a fantastic resume summary is to know what to aim for – and what to avoid. Let’s first take a look at all the things you shouldn’t do by examining the following not-so-great resume summary:
- Retail sales associate with 3+ years of experience who lives and breathes the art of selling. I have all the skills a great sales associate needs. I want to work for you as I desire to work in an upper-end retailer.
There are a number of red flags a recruiter would spot in this resume summary. Firstly, everything they’ve written sounds generic. While they do provide a few details here and there, they don’t set out to provide a clear picture of who they are as a retail sales associate.
They also don’t mention the company directly. This would make a recruiter suspicious that they’ve used this resume summary on multiple applications to ‘upper-end retailers. What’s more, the candidate has spent their whole resume summary talking about what a catch they are as an employee without providing a skerrick of evidence to show this.
With all of this in mind, take a look at an example of a killer retail sales associate resume summary:
- Retail sales associate with 3+ years of experience working in upper-end retailers who is equally known for being customer-focused and approachable as they are for maintaining a store’s appearance and conducting meticulous product inventories. With a strong ability to upsell, as demonstrated by the $1 million worth of sales I made last year, I aim to bring this same dedication and talent for sales to the full-time position at Precious Antiques.
If you can tell that this resume summary is significantly better than the previous one but don’t know why, let us explain. This one is written with the purpose of capturing a recruiter’s attention. The candidate has achieved this by providing specific and relevant details about their professional experience (“3+ years of experience working in upper-end retailers”).
They also put a spotlight on both the soft skills (“customer-focused and approachable”) and hard skills (“maintaining a store’s appearance and conducting meticulous product inventories”) that the recruiter was looking for.
One particularly effective thing they did is drive home their “strong ability to upsell” by providing an eye-catching example of the amazing sales they made. Finally, the candidate further customized their resume summary by making their goals for working at Precious Antiques clear.
If you follow all of our pointers above, you’ll be able to make a resume summary that any recruiter would be captivated by.
How to target your resume for each application
A recruiter is responsible for tracking down a retail sales associate who not only boasts relevant competencies, but also demonstrates an eagerness to work for the given company.
It’s therefore pivotal that your resume conveys both your attributes as well as your enthusiasm to work for each particular company you’re applying to. You can easily do this by targeting your resume for each application.
As we’ve discussed extensively above, incorporating keywords from a job ad will help you to effectively address each recruiter’s specific criteria. The keywords should not only dictate what you feature in your resume, but also how you feature it. For example, if the keywords in a job ad indicate that they’re looking for someone who has experience making $10,000+ sales, emphasize your experience working in a designer clothing store over working in a dollar store where your sales averaged $2000 a day.
But remember, don’t just focus on your skills and work history. You need to make sure to also customize your resume objective or summary. Recruiters often look to these sections to see whether a candidate has targeted their resume, so be sure to write a new one each time.
Pro tip: It’s a good idea to mention the company’s name in your resume objective or summary. It’s the only section where it’s possible to do this, so don’t skip this opportunity to highlight the fact that you made your resume just for them.
How to make your resume stand out
Settling for a ‘good enough’ resume won’t do you any favors when it comes to competing against other candidates. You need to know how to make your resume stand out if you want to lock in a job interview. Below, we’ve shared our top insider tips for doing so:
- Keep your resume to one page: Don’t take the fact that you only have one page to work within as a challenge to try to cram in as much information as you can! Recruiters hate wordy resumes that are filled with irrelevant information. Most won’t even bother to read resumes that are more than one page, so don’t take the risk. Instead, focus only on the most relevant attributes you offer and aim to create a resume that has a good balance of content and white space.
- Strategically hide any gaps: Is your resume looking a bit patchy due to any employment gaps? There’s no need to stress. If you were unemployed for more than three months between jobs, you’ll just need to be strategic about how you present your resume. While we generally recommend job seekers to use a reverse-chronological resume format, a functional resume format is best for hiding resume gaps.
- Don’t ever lie on your resume: This may seem like obvious advice, but sadly, many job seekers still haven’t gotten the message. They think that a white lie here or there won’t come back to haunt them, but 9 times out of 10 the truth always comes out. After all, recruiters will fact check as part of their routine vetting of candidates. HR Consultant Adele Alligood says that, “Every once in a while, someone will forget to recheck their dates, job titles or job duties.” Alligood says that in her opinion, doing so is even worse than typos! The bottom line is that lying is never worth the risk.
3. How to Make an Impressive DIY Resume Using Resumebuild.com Streamlined Resume Builder Tool
Any job seeker who spends the time to create their resume from scratch should be commended for their effort. But unfortunately, effort doesn’t necessarily equal success. Many job seekers who take this 100% DIY route make many major and minor resume mistakes.
This makes sense when you think about the fact that most people don’t have countless hours to spend on creating their resume. Consequently, they often end up trying to speed up the long and laborious resume making process by taking shortcuts. For example, they’ll download any old resume template from a quick Google search or copy and paste resume examples from questionable sources.
These shortcuts may seem like an easy way to hack the process, but they’ll usually cost you your chances of getting an interview.
So what should you do instead?
Use ResumeBuild.com’s powerful resume builder to craft an eye-grabbing resume. Our resume builder has already been used by thousands of job seekers who were searching for a straightforward way to create a resume that lands them jobs.
It has been designed with job seekers’ needs in mind, so you’ll find it streamlined and easy to use. It guides you step-by-step through each of the essential sections you need to feature in your retail sales associate resume. From the first step of selecting an HR-approved resume template, to filling out each section, to reviewing your completed resume, our resume builder makes the entire resume making process quick and painless. Did we mention it comes complete with access to pre-written examples?
If you’re ready to get your dream job, you can rely on our handy resume builder to help you get it.
retail sales associate/stock
- Engage customers to persuade them to purchase merchandise or services.
- Present purchase offers to buyers.
- Demonstrate or explain products to persuade customers to purchase merchandise.
- Stocking and cleaning the stock room
retail sales associate
- Serving customers by identifying what their needs are and providing solutions for their projects
- Identify appropriate products to help customers problem solve their issues
- Stock and down filling
- Ordering for the department (eg. Wire, Electrical components, Lights)
- Install light displays when required
- Set bays to planograms
retail sales associate
- Maintained constant presence on the sales floor to address customers’ needs.
- Approached browsing customers and ignited conversation to determine buying preference.
- Assisted customers with trying on items, finding appropriate sizes and completing purchases.
- Processed customers’ payments by cash, check, or credit cards.
- Signed customers up for marketing lists as well as emails concerning upcoming promotions and customers’ events
retail sales associate
- Attaining sales goals by planning of sales strategies based on weekly promotional material. Participating in marketing efforts to solicit new business
- Providing exceptional customer service including greeting customers, answering phones and addressing and resolving customer service and technical issues
- Exceeding monthly revenue goals through acquiring new customer accounts, maximizing existing customers’ accounts to identify revenue opportunities, and excelling in quality metrics.
- Working with store management in opening, closing and operating the retail facility, including but not limited to cash handling, inventory count and deposits as governed by operations control standards.
retail sales associate/cashier
- Greeting customers in a timely fashion while determining their needs
- Recommend merchandise based on customers needs and preferences
- Operating a cash register for cash,check, and credit card transactions
- Providing change
- Contribute team success by exceeding team sales 100%
- Completing all cleaning and organizing tasks in sales area
- Building relationships with customers to increase likely repeat business