How to Build a Functional Retail Resume
by Bonnie Dewkett
A job as a retail sales associate involves a variety of day-to-day tasks and a unique skill set. On any given day, you may assist customers, manage payroll, and even analyze sales data.
To stand out from the crowd in your next job search, you’ll need to learn how to write a resume for a retail position. If you don’t have steady work experience (or any at all), you can still create a knockout resume. We’ll show you how to frame your retail resume around the most valuable skills you have to offer.
What is the functional resume format?
Many retail job seekers format their information using the functional resume format style. This format will create the best retail resume if you want to emphasize your skills and achievements. Your most recent position may not always be the most relevant to the job you want. The ideal resume will contain a header, summary statement, skills, work history and education. Learn more about these five critical components of the retail jobs resume format.
Every retail store resume should begin with a header. The header includes your personal contact information, such as your name, phone number and email address. If you don’t have a simple and professional email address, open a new email account for job hunting purposes. Note: due to recent privacy issues tied to identity theft, we no longer recommend including a mailing address in your contact information.
Craft a summary statement that sells
Your summary statement shows an employer that your skills and experience are the perfect fit for the retail position at hand. In one to two sentences, you need to grab the reader’s attention and sell them on your enthusiasm and abilities. You must also demonstrate how your skills make you uniquely capable of taking on the role.
Tailor your resume specifically to the retail job description to which you’re applying. Many employers now use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to review resumes. These systems automatically scan your retail resume to find relevant keywords that align with their job description. When updating your resume and cover letter, include these keywords whenever possible.
Still wondering what to include in your summary statement? Think about what you would tell someone about your professional self if you were to meet them in an elevator. This is your 30-second elevator pitch, and is essentially what your summary statement should be, too.
Show them you’ve got skills
Since you’ve chosen a functional resume format, your skill set should be front and center. Retail sales associates notoriously undersell themselves because they often forget all the tasks they perform daily.
Retail store employees work tirelessly and perform a wide variety of job functions. Unlike a desk job, a retail job is physically as well as mentally challenging. Fill your skills section with action words and keywords from the job description, such as:
- Excellent written and communication skills
- Enthusiastic team member
- Hired and trained new executives
- Motivated and goal-oriented
- Proficient in point of sale (POS) software
- Knowledgeable in marketing and advertising techniques
- Provided superior customer service
Remember to review the job description closely and include any relevant skills you have that align with the skills the hiring manager is looking for.
Leverage your work experience
In a functional resume, your work experience may not receive top billing, but it needs to be a supporting component of your resume. Be thorough and include your most relevant positions. Don’t focus on where you worked. Instead, showcase the skills you gained and how they relate to the retail job to which you are applying. To sell your experience most accurately (and effectively), look for ways to quantify your work:
- How much money did you manage?
- What sales records did you set?
- How many customers did you assist?
Numbers are an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition. Quantify your accomplishments from current or previous jobs whenever possible.
Education and training
A functional resume is more flexible than other resume formats. Therefore, if your education, training and certifications are relevant to the position, you may choose to feature them higher up in your retail resume. Learning doesn’t need to be limited to high school and college degrees. It can also include:
- Relevant college classes
- Continuing education coursework or certifications
Ready to nail that retail job? Our Resume Templates make creating a functional resume as a retail sales associate easy. You’ll find modern, traditional and creative templates to choose from (among many others), plus guidance on how to choose the best template.