Working as a sales associate requires a wide range of abilities. Passion and exceptional people skills will help you maintain a positive mindset in this fast-paced industry, and a willingness to switch roles quickly will enable you to focus on helping customers.
Some workplaces require specific knowledge to get hired, but most sales associate skills for retail jobs are transferable from other industries.
Read on to learn to which sales associate skills employers are looking for, and how to include them on your resume.
9 Key Retail Skills for Sales Associates
Here’s a list of nine important sales associate skills to focus on as a member of this industry. Master them, and you’ll be well on your way to promotions (or if you’re on the job hunt, they’ll help you land interviews):
1. Customer Service
As a sales associate or retail worker you will be working directly with customers, which makes excellent customer service skills vital to your overall success.
How you treat your customers directly affects your numbers and those of your business. Understandably then, good customer service is one of the most important skills for retail jobs in your arsenal. Without it, the rest of your abilities will fall flat.
Simply being friendly, having a positive mindset, and communicating effectively with customers on a typical working day, can help you go a long way in your retail career.
Research says that 81% of people will choose a business again if they receive excellent customer service. If you excel at providing such good service, your future is already looking bright in retail.
Whether it’s with customers or coworkers, clear and effective communication skills are crucial in building strong relationships.
Verbally communicating with customers about your products and politely answering their questions will help you build rapport with them, and ultimately make them happy. You’d be surprised at how much people appreciate someone who attentively listens and provides support when necessary.
Additionally, written communication can also help you with workplace duties. Being able to write emails and correspond with customers online makes you a stronger employee, and you can even leverage writing as one of your core sales associate resume skills if you’re on the job hunt.
3. POS Systems
If you’re already in the industry, then you’ve surely used a point of sale (POS) system before. Being able to operate such technology is one of the most important resume skills for retail, and is tied to your efficiency in the workplace.
On any given day a sales associate may need to use a POS system to process electronic transactions, track down information for customers, and assess what items may be understocked and in need of ordering.
And since loyalty programs are often integrated with POS systems, an employee with the retail associate skills to capably navigate both will make store managers everywhere happy.
Without a doubt, being able to comfortably operate POS systems and use POS software are the most important tech-related sales associate resume skills in the eyes of employers — be sure to list them in your application if you have them.
Even in today’s age of technology and automation, basic math can save you a lot of time and energy. Whether it’s a customer asking you about discounts, or a stock inventory task you’ve been asked to handle, being able to calculate numbers quickly and accurately are useful sales associate skills.
From tracking customer preferences to organizing window displays, organization skills touch upon many parts of being a successful retail associate.
For example, having an organized and documented inventory saves time and money. Plus, efficiently organizing contact information into a POS system (or even manually) can help your company track its customers.
6. Time Management
Timing in retail is unpredictable, so time management skills will help not only you but also your coworkers and customers. The less time you spend in the stockroom, the more time you spend on the floor making sales. An accomplished sales associate will always make time for their customers.
7. Product Knowledge
Knowing how to be a good sales associate means developing thorough brand awareness, learning your store inside-out, and keeping up with the latest industry trends. Your comprehensive product knowledge should allow you to help customers make informed choices, which will ultimately bring in more business.
Whether you’re negotiating with a customer or supplier, you must be able to assess their needs while considering your own business’s interests. Good negotiation skills are key to maintaining this balance.
You may need to negotiate prices, delivery times, or even a product exchange while working in retail or sales. In the end, if you can give your customers the sense that they’re getting the better end of the deal (even if it’s not true), then you’re negotiating well.
As a sales associate, you want to sell your products. Some products will fly off the shelves, but others may require a little push. This is why the ability to persuade people is one of the most valuable skills needed for retail. Similar to negotiation, persuasion requires effective communication skills to convince the customer that they’re taking advantage of a good deal.
3 Steps to Describing Your Retail Resume Skills
Ensuring your resume skills section (as well as the entirety of your resume) presents your core abilities effectively is crucial to impressing hiring managers — especially ones in retail who need to sort through piles of applications. Read the job posting carefully and customize your resume to the retail skills that are required, cutting any irrelevant details.
Similar to the mixture of sales associate skills listed earlier, you need to include a balance of hard and soft skills that complement each other to come off as a well-rounded applicant.
If you’re unsure what the difference is between the two at this point, think of hard skills as ones learned through education or training, and soft skills as more personality-oriented and innate abilities specific to you as an individual.
Follow these steps to ensure you put only the best sales skills on your resume:
Step 1: Start with your resume objective. Keep it concise, and highlight your core hard and soft skills.
Step 2: Create an effective retail skills list by targeting your skills section at the job ad.
Step 3: Quantify your retail skills with numerical examples in your work experience.
Using numbers when you describe your work experience shows that you’re a results-oriented individual. Simply add percentages, timeframes, and dollars to your experience bullets.
Here’s an example:
Displayed excellent product knowledge to increase sales by 45%.
Although it’s important to include good skills for retail on your resume, employers also need to know that you can use them to get results.
Success in retail requires numerous sales associate skills. Displaying a broad and flexible skill set that meets the most common retail workplace needs will make you a desirable candidate, and even increase your chances of landing an interview.
Sales associate skills often go hand in hand with each other. For example, what’s the use in competent negotiation if your customer service skills are lacking? Ensure you cover all the bases when describing your retail sales abilities.
While you’re considering all of these good skills for your resume, remember that you want to tailor each one to your target position by analyzing the job ad. And last but not least, make time to pair your resume with a well-written cover letter that effectively outlines your talents so you can attract more interviews.
Ready to get your application in order? If you’re in a hurry, you can use our quick and easy resume builder and cover letter builder to build each document in minutes. We also provide HR-approved cover letter templates and resume templates for our audience as well. Happy job hunting!