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Retail CV Example & Writing Guide

Retail job opportunities are exceptionally wide-ranging, whether you are new to the workforce, pursuing a higher-level retail role, or transitioning from a different field altogether. This writing guide looks at ways to shine a light on your brightest talents in a an interview-winning retail CV.
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Retail CV Example & Writing Guide
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Just as you would browse through a selection of products before making a final decision on your purchase in a store, hiring managers will browse through many CVs before they shortlist. Your retail CV, therefore, needs to make a compelling impact from the outset.

There isn’t much time to make a first impression with your CV, so you need to get it right. It should leave the hiring manager with no reservations about taking you through to the next stage of the process.

Resume.io is your one-stop-shop for all your CV needs. That includes a growing inventory of occupation-specific CV examples  and writing guides to help job seekers secure their your dream role. 

In this guide, together with the adaptable retail CV example, you can expect to find out the following:

  • What a role in retail means
  • How to write your retail CV, starting with the proper structure of essential parts and the best format
  • How to entice hiring managers in each CV section: header, summary, employment history, education and skills.
  • The most appealing and professional-looking layout and design to use for your retail CV.

What does a retail professional do?

There are many different types of retail positions, with sales assistant and management opportunities being the most widely available. Buyer and merchandiser jobs are two other common roles.

A retail professional is a typically a people person. Strong communication skills and the ability to work under pressure are usually expected, and perhaps specific industry experience too. For instance, someone hired by a fashion retailer might need to have a background in fashion.

Statistical insight

How much do retail professionals earn?
The average salary for a retail professional is £32,101, within a range of £29,359 and £34,960. Incomes vary depending on the type of job, experience level and location.

According to Office of National Statistics data for the first quarter of 2021, 3.042 million people were employed in retail in the UK, an increase of 1,000 from the start of 2020. However, there were 533,000 fewer people employed in retail than before the coronavirus lockdown measures were enforced.

As restaurants closed and more people were working from home, supermarkets were the big profiteers in the retail sector during the pandemic. Tesco hiring an additional 50,000 temporary workers and 20,000 permanent workers to keep up with demands.

Statistical insight

Retail job market and outlook
The coronavirus pandemic affected many industries in the UK, but the biggest impact was in the retail and hospitality sectors. With doors closing, reopening, and closing again, uncertainty made he situation unsustainable for many business owners, who sadly had to shut their doors for the final time. A staggering 17,500 British chain stores closed in 2020, as the pandemic took its grip.

If you are looking to work in retail, there is likely to be competition for the best jobs, but that is not to say that the outlook isn’t positive. The closure of some stores inevitably means that new doors will open. Many retailers are operating online, even if the physical stores no longer exist. There will always be opportunities to work in retail, but it takes a top-notch CV to set yourself apart from the competition.

How to write a retail CV

The first step in planning your retail CV content is to be clear about the structure. These are the five essential sections:

  • CV header
  • Summary
  • Employment history
  • Skills
  • Education

Always consider who you are writing the retail CV for and tailor it to suit the position and employer. The style and tone of your CV should also be geared to the specific retail sector and market.

How to write a CV
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How to write a CV

When you ponder how to write a CV, there are some deep questions to consider.

Resist the urge to dive straight into writing a CV without much thought or preparation. Start by carefully reviewing the posted job advertisement. Besides clarifying your understanding of what the position requires, this is your best source of relevant keywords to use in your CV so it is optimised for screening by an electronic applicant tracking system ( ATS ). 

Also starting with the job ad, learn everything you can about the employer and the person likely to be reading your CV. Do additional research to find out even more. It is vital that the company values are aligned with yours; otherwise, it’s probably not a place you will thrive in. Make sure it’s somewhere you want to work before you waste your time applying.

Just as you would take your time going aisle to aisle when browsing a store, the same thoroughness should apply to your CV preparation. There are no quick ways to do it; you just need to go through the process.

Choosing the best CV format for retail 

In most cases, it is best to use the reverse chronological resume format. That means your most recent work experience highlights are listed under dated employer headings, starting with your current or most recent and working your way back to the earliest. 

If you are new to the job market or changing careers, you may want to consider the functional CV format. Starting with an “Experience” or “Skills” section, your abilities are emphasised without being attributed to any particular employer. Or, consider a hybrid (combination) CV format, which combining elements of both the chronological and functional structures.

Best CV format 2023 (+ UK examples)
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Your CV format will dictate which parts of your CV will stand out to an employer.

CV header

Distinguish yourself from other retail job applicants with an eye-pleasing CV header design that draws attention off the top to your identifying information: name and occupation, phone number and email address. 

As a personal brand, the header creates a favourable first impression and assures managers that they can readily get in touch if your CV is shortlisted for an interview. Further, as a visual anchor, it creates white space to offset everything else on the page to reader-friendly effect.

Using the same header design for both your CV and cover letter shows your regard for cohesiveness of fine details and overall professionalism.

Retail CV summary example: the first impression

In retail, particularly if you are providing customer service, first impressions count, which is why your CV deserves full and careful attention. The summary  — sometimes called a profile or personal statement — gives you only a few sentences to capture the key skills, experience, and personal qualities that you want to showcase to the recruiter.

How have you reached this point in your career? What are your passions and aspirations? How do these fit with the requirements of the retail role? Bottom line: what can you do for this company if hired? 

Expert tip

If you are struggling with ideas for writing your retail CV summary, take a browse through some of our other CV examples. These would be a good starting point: customer service CV example , customer service manager CV example , sales CV example , sales assistant CV example , sales manager CV example , account manager CV sample , supermarket CV example , and Lidl CV example

Ideally, this brief synopsis summarises your expertise in a quantifiable fashion. Try saying something along these lines: "Supported and mentored teams of up to 20 retail assistants" or "Helped to improve profits by 50% by training and mentoring team members to exceed their daily goals."

You will, of course, go into more detail elsewhere in your CV but this will give hiring managers quick insight into what you have achieved, and can achieve again. 

Below is a retail CV summary example that you can modify for your own situation.

Adaptable CV summary example

An experienced, proactive Retail Assistant, with a friendly, and positive attitude. Able to work well in a team, as well as on own initiative. Committed to delivering an exceptional service to customers. Seeking a new role with opportunities to progress.

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Employment history sample: career to date

For most hiring managers, your employment history will be the most significant part of your retail CV. Following the chronological format discussed earlier, outline your work experience by starting with the most recent employer and working back to the earliest.

Focus on actions with tangible outcomes when composing your bullet point descriptions of job highlights. These are always much more interesting to hiring managers than passive lists of responsibilities, which could easily be lifted from any comparable retail job description. Instead, offer insight into what you can achieve by describing measurable beneficial results, such as: "Helped the company achieve savings of £50,000 by improving negotiations with suppliers."

Below is a retail CV employment history CV sample to give you some inspiration.

Adaptable CV employment history

Retail Assistant at TRT Sports, City of London
Jun 2015 - Aug 2015

  • Working in a fast paced environment, serving customers and dealing with any queries.
  • Achieving personal targets, as well as those of the company.
  • Helping support the recruitment process and training of new starts.
  • Constantly learning about products and providing information to customers.
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CV skills example: what you do best

Your CV skills list should incorporate both hard skills and soft skills . Retail roles usually involve working with a variety of people, so strong communicaton and interpersonal skills are essential. A good combination of hard and soft skills might include adeptness being good at budgeting and being able to work on a team.

Expert tip

Use examples to show, not just tell

Wherever possible, specify how your skills have been applied. For instance, “Using communication skills for presentations and budgeting helped the company achieve savings." 

Skills are easy to list, but tangible evidence is much more enticing. As discussed when we covered the employment history section, this is the approach you should take throughout the writing of your retail CV. Always think of examples to back up what you are stating. 

Remember, it's also what interviewers will be interested in if you are given that opportunity

See the adaptable retail CV skills sample below.

Adaptable CV skills example

 

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Retail CV education example

Creating the education section of your CV will likely be simple and straightforward. Again, in reverse chronological order, list your relevant college degrees, plus any other diplomas and certificates you have earned, from highest to lowest level. And be sure to mention any additional training and professional development activities you’ve pursued on your own or as a job requirement. Your commitment to continuous learning and keeping up with retail industry trends is very attractive to the hiring managers.

If you are relatively new to the workforce, with little or no job experience, you may want to place the education section below the summary. This puts it ahead of the usual employment history section, which could be labelled "experience" instead. 

Our retail CV example below illustrates an education listing.

Adaptable education CV sample

Diploma in Business at College of Northwest London
Jun 2012 - Sep 2013

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CV layout and design: keep it clean

The visual impression you make in your CV is just as important as its content in getting you through the door to the interview stage. So make sure the document looks easy to read with a clean, uncomplicated and orderly layout. Avoid any design and formatting gimmicks that might look like you’ve gone overboard. Simple is always better.

It is not always easy to get your CV design right the first time, but with the help of our tried and tested  CV templates, you should be able to create your very own masterpiece.

Do
  • Opt for simple layout and design elements for a retail CV.
  • Choose legible and professional looking fonts and use color splashes sparingly.
  • Ensure page margins are wide enough to balance the ratio of white space to text to avoid visual fatigue for the reader.
Don't
  • Clutter your CV with unnecessary icons or images.
  • Forget to proofread your CV before submitting it.
  • Use more than two font styles on the same CV — one for body text and another compatible font for header text and section titles.

Key takeaways for a retail CV

  1. Tailor your CV to suit the position you are seeking and the employer, conducting as much research as possible on the company and potential interviewer.
  2. Use keywords throughout your CV so that you won’t be rejected electronically if the company is using an ATS.
  3. Always check your CV for errors before you hit that send button.
  4. Use our online CV maker to make the job much easier.
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