Whether you're a student, retiree or just looking to earn some extra cash, working as a sales associate has long been considered the most accessible entry-level position. What's more, you won't have to travel far from home to find one of these positions since sales associate work in just about every neighborhood store.
Even those sales associate jobs are plentiful, they're not all created equal. The best opportunities come with daytime hours, benefits and a paycheck that's higher than minimum wage. To land one of these sales associate positions, you'll need a resume that sets you apart from the crowd. Luckily, Resume.io has all the tools you need to make it happen, starting with this sales associate resume example.
This sales associate resume example, along with our adaptable sample, will show you how to:
- Write each of the necessary sections of a great sales associate resume
- Land a sales associate job even with no experience
- Use your understanding of the sales associate role to create the perfect resume
- Format a resume that makes a professional first impression
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of all retail workers are between the ages of 16 to 34. After grocery stores, the majority of sales associates work in general merchandise stores, clothing stores and department stores.
What does a sales associate do?
Sales associates are the backbone of the retail industry. They deal directly with customers, either in brick-and-mortar locations or through online communication. Some sales associates work part-time while the attend school or to make extra cash, while others work full-time and may aspire to a higher level retail position.
Sales associates focus on the front end of the sales cycle, helping to achieve sales goals by restocking products, organizing merchandise and facilitating transactions. They work directly with customers, carefully creating and nurturing a superior customer experience that will strengthen future product sales. A sales associate works to build customer relationships and increase volume of sales within a company.
The retail industry as a whole is not expected to see much growth in the next decade, which means the demand for sales associates will be mostly flat, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts. Sales associates work at or slightly above minimum wage, earning an average of $12 per hour, or $24,000 a year, Career Bliss reports.
Aiming for a stellar sales associate resume? Take a peek at our other related sales resume samples:
- Sales Assistant resume sample
- Car Sales resume sample
- Telemarketer resume sample
- Sales resume sample
- Account Executive resume sample
- Account Manager resume sample
- Sales Representative resume sample
- Sales Manager resume sample
- National Sales Controller resume sample
- Field Sales Professional resume sample
How to write a sales associate resume
Resumes are highly formatted documents. The individuality comes in the text and design, not the structure. That means your CV should contain the following elements:
- The resume header
- The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
- The employment history section
- The resume skills section
- The education section
When you apply to a retail establishment, you need to address the products and style of that company within your resume. That means doing some research up front so that you know can use the appropriate language and tone. Your resume is designed to answer the question: Why should I hire you? so tell the hiring manager up front the answer by showing off your knowledge of the establishment.
Directly addressing the needs of the company will also help you get into the hands of a human being instead of entering the Applicant Tracking System never to be heard from again.
Many medium to large companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) commonly built into online application portals. These algorithms scan resumes and pass only the best to the hiring manager's desk. To avoid being filtered out before your resume even lands in human hands, make sure to include keywords from the job description in the profile and skills sections of your resume. Keywords are often the most repeated duties, softwares or personality traits. Don't forget to use the employer's spelling as well!
Choosing the best resume format for sales associates
If this is your first job, you may consider bumping your employment history section below your skills and education sections to focus on what you can do, but even if you don't choose to go that route, you should use the reverse chronological order resume format. This format mostly affects your employment history section, which should be arranged with your most recent experience first and working backward from there.
If you have no experience, you may consider one of the hybrid resume formats we suggest as chronological alternatives. This may also be of value to you if you are looking for part-time work to supplement your income or if you are changing careers or looking for a job after retirement from your first career.
How to land a sales associate job with no experience
If you've never worked as a sales associate before, don't sweat it! Nearly a third of all Americans got their first job working in a store, according to the National Retail Federation. The secret of landing a sales associate job with no experience is simply to highlight the transferrable skills and applicable qualities you already possess.
Here are some examples:
- Communication skills
- Positive attitude
Most employers are familiar with candidates who have never worked in retail before. They aren't looking for you to know everything – just to demonstrate a keen interest in learning your duties and carrying them out professionally and positively.
Summary example: your professional personality
Your resume is your sales pitch for yourself. Use it as an opportunity to show off your selling abilities. Your summary section is the best place to do that because it is free-form sentences instead of bullet points. It gives you a chance to give hiring managers a taste of your demeanor, experience, accomplishments and attributes. Especially if you are looking for your first job, you can beef up this section a bit to let employers know more about you and why you would be a great hire.
Remember to use as many powerful action verbs and job specific information as you can. Sales associates must be able to establish and nurture positive relationships with prospects and customers, so consider giving an example of a situation in which your people skills made a difference.
This formula can help you make the most of the 3-5 sentences in your resume summary section:
- Sentence 1: Introduce yourself and explain your philosophy of sales.
- Sentence 2: Give a little background on your career or explain why you want to work at the particular establishment.
- Sentence 3-4: Tout one or two of your greatest career or academic achievements in as much detail as possible.
- Sentence 5: Offer an idea of what you will bring to the job.
When searching for a retail assistant position, also look for the following job titles:
- Sales assistant
- Sales associate
- Retail or sales clerk
- Shop assistant
- Retail salesperson
The resume text below is a great starting point for your own summary.
Experienced and motivated Sales Associate with over three years of experience in fast-paced sales environments. Proven track record of increasing sales by achieving high customer service satisfaction rates and return customers. Bringing forth the ability to multitask, problem-solve, and promote products and brands. Self motivated and driven to help increase the prosperity of a business while working to enhance their reputation.
Employment history example: experience that counts
No matter what type of work you have done before, even if it was volunteer work, you have experience that counts. Consider the skills necessary to be a great sales associate and use examples from your career and and schooling to show off those skills even if you did not perform them in a retail setting.
Create 3-4 bullet points under each previous position to discuss your duties and accomplishments. Start each item with a strong action word. Jump right in to detailing your accomplishments. Leave out phrases that don't add to your descriptions such as "in this job I have" as you have limited space and should keep your resume to one page.
The resume example text below will give you some ideas for your employment history section.
- Worked to meet and exceed sales goals time and time again.
- Developed wonderful client relationships that resulted in a high rate of client return.
- Handled a variety of in-store tasks, utilizing my multitasking skills to achieve productivity.
- Provided optimal customer service experiences, resulting in high client satisfaction rates.
- Conducted thorough research to expand prospect list.
Skills section example: the right traits
Your skills section is important for two main reasons:
- It is an at-a-glance version of your best that recruiters look for to gauge if you have what they need.
- It is a quick way to personalize to ensure you get those all-important keywords in for the ATS.
Important to the job of sales associate is a depth of knowledge of the product or service you are selling. You also must be great listeners and have patience with customers and colleagues alike. Other attributes that hiring manager will look for are strong communication and a knowledge of marketing strategies. Be sure to include job specific skills. If you have them, sure to include any hard skills mentioned in the job description such as POS systems or foreign languages.
Choose the top 4-6 skills you believe make you a well-rounded candidate for the job, paying careful attention to those attributes mentioned in the job listing.
The resume example text below will give you some ideas for your skills section.
- Excellent Customer Service Skills
- Interpersonal Communication Skills
- Multitasking Skills
- Marketing Techniques
- Problem Solving Skills
Education example: foundational knowledge
For a sales associate resume, you can keep your education section short. List all degrees and certifications here. If you are a student, you can include your degree in progress and your expected graduation date. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's degree, you may leave out your high school.
Use the resume example text below to help you format your education section.
- 2000-2004 Loyola High School, High School Diploma NY, NY
- 2004-2008 NYU, Bachelor of Communications NY, NY
Resume layout and design: display case
An interview-worthy resume isn't just about the writing – your CV design also makes a big difference in getting hired. A clean and organized layout – even a simple one – is much better than a hurried resume that's hard to read. Your goal should be to lay out your experience and education in a format that's both easy to understand and visually attractive.
If you don't have much time to fuss with word processors and graphic design software, a resume template may be able to help. This pre-made format allows you to add your own information, move around the sections and play with design elements like lines and colors. When you're ready, you can download your resume as a PDF or Word, the two most commonly requested formats.
- Keep your font size between 10 and 12 point
- Create a header with your name and contact information
- Choose an easy-to-read format
- Overload the page with too much text
- Use more than a maximum of 2 font styles
- Include too many bright colors
Key takeaways for a sales associate resume
- A resume is an essential tool for landing the best sales associate opportunities.
- Beat the ATS algorithms by including important words from the job description in your summary and skills section.
- Your summary section is the best place to show off a bit of your personality and professional demeanor – essential for sales associates
- You can land a sales associate job even with no experience as long as you focus on personal traits and transferrable skills
- Your formatting should never be overlooked as it is an essential part of making a great first impression
- Using the online resume maker as a way to make your life easier and the job application process - faster!