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8 tips for the perfect retail sales resume

Retail jobs can be competitive, especially when you want to land a great position as a retail sales associate or a top-level role as a retail sales manager. But by following these eight tips, you can create a retail sales resume that’s sure to tilt the odds in your favor.

Use a straightforward resume layout

According to a 2018 study in which recruiter’s eyes were tracked as they reviewed resumes for the first time, each resume got only 7.4 seconds of attention on average. That’s not much time to get your message across, so always aim to keep the layout straightforward. Resumes with flashy design elements or oddly organized sections might stand out from the crowd, but they simply aren't necessary for professionals in the retail industry.

In fact, the same study found that resumes with simple layouts featuring clear sections and header titles were the most successful at holding recruiters’ attention. So let the artists and graphic designers have their artsy resumes. Keep yours simple and direct.

Of course, keeping things simple doesn't mean you can't add your personality to your resume. Start by outlining the basic sections of the resume, including:

  • Skills section
  • Relevant work experience
  • Educational accomplishments

Then fill each section in and show off everything you have to offer.

Tailor your retail resume for the right job

If you've already created a resume for previous retail sales jobs, you might be tempted just to recycle your old one. If that thought has crossed your mind, stop right there.

As a general rule, you shouldn't use the exact same resume for each job application, especially if you're applying for jobs with different titles. Remember that your resume is your first and sometimes only shot at getting the attention of a potential employer. That means you should take the time to tailor it for the right job.

Applying for an awesome retail sales associate job at your favorite store? Read through the job listing carefully and make sure your resume not only checks all the boxes but that it also goes above and beyond. Address all of the keywords that you find in the listing, and you can feel confident that you've submitted an A+ resume.

Start with your contact information

All great resumes start with the correct contact information. Including all of this information ensures that potential employers can connect with you in a variety of ways. Be sure to list the following:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Mailing address

Before submitting your resume, double check that your contact information is both current and accurate. You don't want to miss out on an interview because you forgot to update your phone number.

Include key skills on your retail sales resume

Next, it's time to list pertinent skills that you've honed as an employee in retail. Place the most relevant skills at the beginning of your list so the hiring manager will know right away whether you're qualified for the job. Most retail sales positions require the following basic skills related to helping customers and processing orders:

  • Selling products and services
  • Performing customer service
  • Cashiering and using point of sale systems
  • Tracking inventory

If you're applying for a job that requires a little extra creativity, consider listing a few additional skills. For example, if you have experience in visual merchandising or creating store displays, be sure to let employers know.

Show how you've advanced in your field

As impressive as your skills might be, they can't stand on their own. This is where your prior work history comes into play.

Start with your current or most recent job, and list your title and dates of employment. Then provide short yet specific explanations of the types of duties you had. As a sales associate, you may have recommended products and services and upsold customers when possible. You might also have informed customers about marketing opportunities, assisted with loss prevention activities, or encouraged shoppers to try on items.

If you've had more than one job, the various positions you've held should demonstrate how you've moved up in your field. Title changes and increases in responsibility also reveal how your career has developed.

Highlight your retail sales accomplishments

When you work in the retail world, a little friendly competition is essential. On your resume, there's no need to hold back when it comes to listing your accomplishments.

Share how many times you won an employee of the month award, detail how much you increased a store's sales numbers, or explain how frequently you received rave reviews from customers. Don't be shy. After all, retail managers want to know whether you have what it takes to make their stores succeed.

List your degrees and diplomas

While many jobs in retail may not require advanced degrees, many employers do require or prefer applicants to have certain levels of education, so include the following details:

  • Institution name
  • Institution city and state
  • Type of degree received or anticipated
  • Degree year
  • Applicable honors

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