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  2. Sales Associate
Written by Rolf BaxRolf Bax

Sales Associate Resume Example & Writing Guide

Sales associate is an accessible entry-level role that is plentiful and available. To land your next sales associate position, check out this guide.
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Sales Associate Resume Example & Writing Guide
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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 associates work in just about every neighborhood store.

Even though 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. 

Statistical insight

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.

Resume guide for a sales associate resume

To land one of those 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 resume guide and corresponding sales associate resume example will cover the following:

  • How to write a sales associate resume
  • Choosing the right resume format for  sales associates
  • How to add your contact information
  • Using summaries
  • Adding your sales associate experience
  • Listing education and relevant experience
  • Picking the right resume design/layout
  • What the sales associate market looks like, and what salary you can expect

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 resume should contain the following elements:

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 upfront so you 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 the answer up front by showing off your knowledge of the establishment.

Choosing the right 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.

Include your contact information

When you submit your resume, it's imperative that the hiring manager or recruiter can easily figure out how to contact you. That means including the following: 

  • Full name & title. List your first and last name. Use the title of the role you are pursuing.
  • Professional email address. Use a clean format like [email protected]. Don’t use a quirky, unprofessional email address.
  • Phone number. List a number where you can be readily contacted, with a professional voicemail greeting.
  • Location. List only your city and state. Don’t list street address or zip code. It’s both outdated and unsafe. If you're willing to relocate, you an note 'Willing to Relocate' here as well.
  • LinkedIn. If your LinkedIn profile is active, relevant, and shows your sales network, include it here.

Don’t include:

Do

Seattle, WA 

(206) 479-6342

[email protected]

Don't

640 Obtuse Road

Seattle, WA 98146, 

United States, (206) 479-6342

[email protected]

Make use of a summary

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.
Expert tip

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

You can find an adaptable sales associate resume example summary below:

Adaptable resume summary/profile example

Enthusiastic and reliable Sales Associate, dedicated to providing excellent customer service with a smile. Organized, detail oriented, and experienced in properly handling customer inquiries and transactions. Dedicated to increasing sales by providing the ultimate customer experience. Several years of experience in various retail settings with a proven track record of job success. 

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Outline your sales associate work experience 

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 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 and jump right into detailing your accomplishments. Leave out phrases that don't add to your descriptions, such as "in this job I have," as you want to make the best use of the space you have.

Avoid being too general; for example, the following bullets don't share specifics about your accomplishments:

  • Helped customers in the store
  • Upsold products to customers
  • Trained new employees

Adding more context and metrics can call the right attention to your unique value proposition. Take a look at these reworked bullets: 

  • Served an average of 100 customers per day in region's largest and busiest store
  • Upsold products to customers, achieving 120% of quota
  • Trained 2 new employees a month on cash register, sales tactics, and store policies

The resume example text below will give you some ideas for your employment history section.

Adaptable resume employment history example
  • Put forth excellent customer service efforts at all times.
  • Recorded and processed all flower orders in an organized and accurate manner.
  • Provided relevant information and suggestions regarding floral arrangements and purchases.
  • Ensured proper delivery times for all events and coordinated travel for deliveries.
  • Answered phones, relayed important messages, and served as a general liaison between the florist and customers.
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How to write a sales associate resume 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:

  • Teamwork (for instance, from playing sports like basketball or baseball)
  • Organization (this can be seen in past administrative roles or even being part of a club in school)
  • Communication skills (which will be evidenced by how your resume is written)
  • Positive attitude (you can show this by displaying past leadership roles or volunteer work)

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.

Expert tip

Here are some other resume examples from other first jobs that may help you create your sales associate resume: Office assistant resume example,   Customer service representative resume example, Server resume example, Barista resume example, and Cashier resume example.

Include the relevant key skills that make you a great sales associate

Your skills section is important for two main reasons:

  1. It is an at-a-glance version of your best that recruiters look for to gauge if you have what they need.
  2. It is a quick way to personalize to ensure you get those all-important keywords in for the ATS.

Important to the job of a sales associate is the 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 managers will look for are strong communication and a knowledge of marketing strategies. Be sure to include job-specific skills. If you have them, be 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.

Key Skills and Proficiencies 

 

  • High-volume customer service
  • Cash register operation
  • Sales and upselling
  • Organizational skills
  • Positive communication style
  • Active listening
  • Inventory management

 

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Detail your education & relevant sales associate certifications

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. If you hold a degree higher than a bachelor's degree, you can leave out your high school.

Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. Past Employee of the Month awards, customer recognition, or other sales-related achievements are great to include. If you've taken any sales-specific courses or trainings, add them to show your expertise and commitment to continuous learning. You can also include any sales associations or networking groups you're part of.

Use the resume example text below to help you format your education section.

Adaptable example for education and certifications

Associate in Business Administration, Westchester Community College, Valhalla

August 2015 — May 2017

High School Diploma, Norwell High School, Norwell

September 2011 — June 2015

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Pick the right resume layout and design for a sales associate resume

An interview-worthy resume isn't just about the writing – your resume design also makes a big difference in getting hired. A clean and organized modern resume is much better than a busy 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. 

Do
  • Keep your font size between 10 and 12 point
  • Create a header with your name and contact information
  • Choose an easy-to-read format
Don't
  • Overload the page with too much text
  • Use more than a maximum of 2 font styles
  • Include too many bright colors

Sales associate job market and outlook

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

What type of salary you can expect as a sales associate

Sales associates work at or slightly above minimum wage, earning an average of $12 per hour, or $24,000 a year, Career Bliss reports.

Key takeaways for building a sales associate resume

  • A resume is an essential tool for landing the best sales associate opportunities.
  • Include 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 is a way to make your life easier and the job application process faster!
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