Retail associates are competent retail professionals who efficiently connect with customers and store personnel to accomplish daily productivity and sales goals, such as boosting sales and increased customer loyalty. If you like to help customers choose the right product according to their needs and budget, then a retail associate can be the right career choice for you. And having a resume is your first stepping stone to success in this field.
This guide will offer you a comprehensive insight into curating an impeccable resume tailored explicitly for the retail associate position. Let’s begin by looking at the three primary forms of resumes.
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Job Duties of a Retail Associate
A retail associate is a person acting as a link between a customer and the company. So, the position automatically requires you to possess a good understanding of how to satisfy the customer. Here are some other essential duties of the retail associate:
Focusing upon customers’ specific queries and responding accordingly through email, texts, face-to-face, or streaming video.
Providing a satisfying and positive buying experience.
Endorsing brand loyalty plans and other enticements.
Assisting in the carrying, collecting, and distribution of many product shipments.
Displaying new products, marketing merchandise, or the latest sales.
Describing products to the customer clearly, coherently, and happily.
Keeping stores clean, depending on the general managers’ or other higher-ups’ specific instruction.
Follow all safety guidelines and personal health expectations without supervision.
Coordinating with retail team and retaining friendly surroundings for staff and buyers.
Mean Annual Salary of Retail Associates
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of retail associates is $29,360, and the mean hourly wage is $14.12.
Top Skills for Retail Associates
A retail associate is a skill-oriented job. It requires communicating clearly and cordially to help customers select the right product depending on their needs.
- Proficient in handling specialized software: As a retail associate, especially if you seek to work at the counter, you have to deal in cash and online financial transactions every day. To conduct the task smoothly, you need to be adept in money management software like NetSuite or Tillpoint and learn to make fast calculations to handle change at the counter. You also need to know how to ask customers to use other point-of-sale systems like Stripe, Square, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and another payment tech.
- Understanding products and features: Suggesting an appropriate product to customers according to their needs is not as easy as it may seem. You should have a robust understanding of all products in-store and their features, a knowledge of those same products from competitors, their possible length of availability, any recalls, and if it’s food, of possible nutritional, allergic, or taste differences. You also have to listen patiently to customers. You can gain this knowledge by using the product, researching competitors using tools like SEMrush, learning about products through magazine or news articles, and talking to other product team members. For example, suppose you work for the Microsoft Store at the mall. In that case, you need to know what the latest operating system is used for which laptop, whether there are upcoming seasonal sales on certain accessories, and whether purchasers of phones have access to Microsoft-directed learning opportunities both at the store and from the comfort of people’s homes.
- Sales acumen: The retail associate position often requires you to sell products in two ways. First, you have to suggest and assist customers in finding what they are looking for. Second, you have to effectively persuade them to purchase extra or buy a particular product to accomplish sales targets. As you improve your sales understanding, you also have experience in inventory management software like Vend.
- Adept at using POS systems: A retail associate’s role will require you to handle cash transactions and maintain a high accuracy level. Using a point-of-sale (POS) system will help you accomplish this task in the best way possible. It will help you calculate the inventory turnover, sell-through rate, and fill-in orders. The system will also alert you in cases where reordering is needed. So, earn good experience using POS systems like Erply and include all of the necessary details in your resume.
- Expertise in customer service: A retail associate’s position calls for a problem-solving attitude while dealing with customers. Every day, you can expect shoppers who can be unruly and test your patience. You should remember that you are the first point of contact for them, and if they come up with a problem, you will have to address it by keeping your calm and being nice. It is in these challenging situations where you can demonstrate empathy and communication skills. You can even conduct customer satisfaction surveys through SMS, QR codes, email, or social media platforms like Twitter to understand them better and build lasting relationships.
Educational Requirements for Retail Associates
High school diploma or equivalent:According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no formal education needed to apply for a retail associate job. However, most employers consider a high school diploma or equivalent as a minimum educational qualification.
Certifications and training:Because the retail associate job is skills-driven, one must have relevant skills to apply for a job. Many organizations provide certificates and training for retail associate jobs to hone your skills and give you a competitive advantage over other job seekers.
Here are some of these certifications and training programs:
Universities and colleges: Harper College provides a Retail Merchandising Certificate. It’s an 18-credit-hour certificate program for candidates working in the retail industry or an individual who wants to make a retail management career. The syllabus includes Retail Merchandising, Business Organization, Business Math, the Principles of Marketing, and Professional Selling. You can apply for retail merchandiser, sales associate, customer service associate, and store manager positions after completing this certificate course.
There are many other community colleges and small universities that offer valuable certificate programs for retail associates. They include DeAnza college, Grossmont College, and the liberal arts college Mercyhurst University.
Member associations: The Association for Supply Chain Management offers a Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM) certificate, which will help you take your sales knowledge to the next level. You will learn different supply chain functions and how to respond to possible disruptions and changes. With this certificate, seek jobs in varied industries, such as manufacturing, consulting, and health care.
Industry-based training: The Retail Sales Training Program certificates by Retail Training Services offer various programs, including sales training, field management, store management, and marketing and merchandising. Each program will equip you with the necessary customer service skills and shape you as a competent associate. After the course, you will be able to quickly identify customers’ purchasing signals, learn salesmanship, and develop tailored solutions for your users. You can find career opportunities in different industries, including general retail, clothing, electronics and jewelry.
For-profit companies: Different organizations like Alison and Coursera provide quality courses that will help you emerge as a competent retail associate. Alison’s NSDC course is a free retail trainee associate program, which will give you deep insight into the retail industry. You will become aware of different retailing aspects in-depth, including retail formats, customer buying behavior, and visual merchandising. On the other hand, the Strategic Sales Management Specialization by Coursera will help you sharpen your sales planning and management skills. It comprises five courses, a hands-on project opportunity, and a final certification.
Also, know that several companies and schools offer industry-specific certificates. If you want to work in retail in the fashion industry, there are fashion retail options. The same opportunities are available for car salespersons, computer sellers, furniture salespeople, and more.
Retail Associate Resume-Writing Tips
Now that you understand the crucial skills, duties, and educational requirements for the retail associate position, you can kick off your resume-writing process. Below are a few tips that will ease the process:
- Specify your retail accomplishments: The retail industry is transactional, and hiring managers expect you to describe how competent you are based on specific examples. For instance, you should mention the monetary value of products you have managed, how much you’ve brought in sales-wise, whether you received awards or bonuses based on your performance, and whether you have managed other people, and what the results were team-wide. The latter builds authority regarding your management ability.
- Include retail industry experience through numbers: recruiter regarding your competency and possible outcomes. For instance, write that you have offered retail associate training to 10 employees in an earlier organization or opened a retail store leading to a 40% increase in year-over-year sales, and a 100 percent rise in customer satisfaction if your company or store has developed specific surveys.
- Add relevant retail skills: Employers mention a particular skill set in a job post not as suggestions but as a specific expectation requirement. For instance, if a job needs merchandising, product knowledge, and cross-sector selling (such as between selling electronics, food, and clothing in a major big-box store like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco or Safeway), and if you have those skills, make sure you highlight them in the resume.
- Enhance the education section with relevant achievements: needed academic credentials, make sure yours match well. To grab the hiring manager’s attention, mention extracurricular achievements and internships relevant to the retail associate profile. For instance, if you excelled in customer service during your last job or worked as a captain of the school football team, mention it in your resume. It helps highlight your leadership and customer relation qualities.
Why are retail associates important to companies?
Simply, they are the best advocates of their products and persuade customers to buy them. They act as a medium that converts browsers to purchasers. Plus, no matter how advanced technology is and will become in the coming years, retail associates’ emotional intelligence will remain unmatched and benefit the companies. And sometimes, the intelligent use of technology by retail associates can make a customer experience even better. Consider that almost all workers now have access to their store’s whole inventory online and not just physically in the store. This allows a retail associate, from, say, Best Buy, to plan or order products like TVs or cell phones ahead of time for customers or send them directly to their homes. As you likely realize, this type of modern sales interaction requires hard work and a thoughtful service-centered mindset.
Who can thrive in the associate retail role?
A retail associate is a career that requires interpersonal skills like assisting customers, persuading them to purchase a specific product, and some expertise at handling money and valuable goods. It is an excellent choice for those who like to help the company by achieving their sales target and assisting customers in choosing the right product depending on their budget, need, and technical, physical and social requirements.