If you’ve ever been a customer in a store or retail location and been approached by someone who works there, offering to help you find anything or answer any questions, you’re familiar with the role of a retail sales associate.
Often seen as the “face” of their store location, retail associates help ensure customers are taken care of, their questions are answered, and they find and purchase whatever they were looking for. Associates maintain a welcoming atmosphere and encourage a positive experience for the customer, which can directly contribute to the company’s revenue.
Retail associates can work in a variety of industries such as beauty, textiles, shoes, food, houseware, vehicles and more.
If you’re applying for a retail sales associate position, knowing how to structure your resume and what you should list and highlight, including education, skills and objectives, can help your resume get noticed and selected and an interview scheduled.
How to structure your retail sales associate resume
When formatting your resume for a retail sales associate role, you should include:
A summary/career objective
Relevant work history, including the company, dates worked, and brief description of the duties performed
Relevant skills for the role
When creating your resume, you’ll want to carefully read the job description to ensure you include all relevant keywords, skills and experience that shows you are the best candidate. By tailoring your objective and resume to the job description, it’s more likely it will make it through any application tracking system software and to the desk of the hiring manager.
Retail sales associate job description
Virtually every company and industry has a form of sales, and because retail associates are working directly with customers each day in a store location, they must be subject matter experts on the product and industry and have strong sales skills to help ensure success.
These associates typically work in a physical location and help sell products/services to customers, while also recommending solutions to customer problems, answering questions, demonstrating merchandise, advising about promotions and discounts, and processing final purchases and payments.
The duties of a retail sales associate can vary slightly depending on the industry you’re in or company you work for, but generally, the job description for a sales associate can include responsibilities such as:
Greet customers when they enter the location.
Build rapport and encourage completion of a sale through honest conversation and thoughtful recommendations.
Assist in maintaining the stock room and informing management when inventory is low.
Set up and maintain merchandise displays on the sales floor.
Answer any questions customers may have, inform them of promotions or discounts, and encourage them to test or try on a product.
Enter purchase details into a point-of-sale system and cash out customers via cash and credit cards.
Retail sales associate education
A high school diploma or GED is sometimes required for a retail sales associate role, but many locations will hire high school students to work part-time. Most stores require additional post-secondary education for management positions, so keep that in mind if your career goal is to earn a promotion.
You’ll want to outline all relevant education and certifications on your resume in a way like the following:
Bachelor's degree, communications; anticipated completion date May, 2022
XYZ High School
High school diploma
When listing your education, here are a few tips:
Consider leaving off the years you attended school or your graduation date. Typically, that’s not as important unless you’re still pursuing your degree. In that case, be clear your education is in progress. For example,
Bachelor’s degree (Business Administration); anticipated completion January, 2022
List the order of your education as the highest level first. For example, if you have a Bachelor’s and high school diploma, list the bachelor’s degree first, followed by the diploma.
If you have additional certifications or training applicable to the role, list them in their own section with the heading “Additional Certifications.” Include the organization that provided the certification, the title, and the date of completion or renewal.
What to include on your resume for a retail sales associate
Typically, a retail associate resume will list the education or formal training you have that makes you most qualified for the role. Though most stores prefer an ideal candidate to have some prior retail or sales experience, it’s not always required and this position can be a great way to get experience.
Then, in the work experience section, you’ll want to include any duties related to the job description, such as:
Helped an average of X customers per day find the product they needed, select items for purchase, and complete the transaction.
Managed and organized inventory with accuracy and efficiency, and ensured merchandise displays were consistently stocked.
Achieved an average of X%/$Y sales goals.
Assisted team members when necessary in cashing out customers, labeling products, unloading and stocking merchandise, and keeping the sales floor clean.
Provided excellent customer service, receiving X% on customer service feedback surveys.
The experience and skills you list should be relevant to the job you’re applying for if possible, especially if you have experience in a particular industry or at a specific store location. Try to go beyond simply listing duties you’ve performed, and instead show both duties and achievements with examples or numbers to support the statements.
Retail sales associate skills and traits for a resume
There are many skills and traits you could list on your resume for a retail associate position. Here are a few to choose from to get you started:
Social media use
Relationship building skills
Problem solving skills
Customer service skills
Throughout your time as a retail associate, you’ll be able to perfect skills like communication, relationship building, customer service, problem solving and more. This will help contribute to your success. You’ll also develop an understanding and subject matter expertise for the product/service the company sells, and company policies and procedures.
If you have previous retail, sales or customer service experience, be sure to list it on your resume. If you don’t, you can still highlight experience and skills you may have that make you a great candidate for the position. Look at the experience (volunteer or employment) you have and determine which of the above skills were learned or improved upon, and list those on your resume.
Action verbs to include on a retail sales associate resume
Should I include references in my retail sales associate resume?
Your resume is a professional representation of your career qualifications and skills that make you an ideal candidate. As a general rule, avoid including references in your resume unless they are specifically asked for. This is information that tends to distract hiring managers from the information you want them to see, and it can take up valuable space on the page.
If references are requested, you can include them on your resume or as a separate document. Be sure to list the name, job title, company, email address and phone number for each reference.
Retail sales associate resume objectives
A career objective, also known as a resume objective or summary, is a brief statement toward the top of your resume that explains your professional goals and intentions for applying to a job. In 1 to 3 sentences, you should mention the job title, add a couple of key skills, and share what you’re hoping to achieve in the job.
Goal-oriented retail sales associate with X years of experience. Seeking position with XYZ company to contribute to product improvements and revenue generation. Regularly exceeded customer satisfaction survey rates by X%.
Retail sales professional looking to boost store location goals by promoting XYZ company products/services to customers in need. Regularly exceeded sales goals by X% and enrolled Y customers per month in the loyalty program through innovative customer service efforts.
Highly-motivated sales associate seeking a position with XYZ company, where I can contribute strong customer service and sales skills to generate purchases and meet location revenue goals. X years of experience in the Y industry.
Retail professional looking for a position with XYZ company.
This is too short and doesn’t include enough detail about your skills or intentions. Be sure to list a couple of key skills that make you the best for the role, and share your desire for being hired.
Energetic, outgoing sales associate with a degree in business. Previous retail sales experience and would love to join XYZ company to contribute to store ROI.
Numbers speak louder than words, and if you have previous experience as a retail or sales associate, you should have some numbers or metrics to support your claims. Be specific about what you bring to the table, and highlight those key skills or metrics that help you stand out.
I want to apply my positive attitude, communication skills and knowledge of sales to this role to meet store revenue goals.
Consider adding your years of experience, or be more specific about how your knowledge of the industry or skills would help you to meet revenue or lead generation goals. Also be sure to mention the role you’re applying for and possibly the company for a more personal touch.