Sales associates, commonly known as retail salespeople or sales floor associates, are customers first point of contact at a company. They play a significant role in facilitating customer experience by resolving customer inquiries, and finding and storing merchandise. As the retail market is growing rapidly, job opportunities for sales associates are also increasing. If you are thinking of becoming a sales associate, check out the following resume-writing guide packed with expert tips.
Let’s begin by looking at the main formats job seekers use to write sales associate resumes:
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Job duties of a sales associate
Sales associates have the first interaction with customers at a store or company. This is a vital role because they have considerable responsibility ensuring customer satisfaction. They have to understand customers’ needs, and help them find the right product quickly.
Here is a complete list of their job duties:
Welcoming and greeting customers politely. If you have a virtual job, being kind and thoughtful on the phone, online and via text is paramount.
Assisting customers in finding the right product by assessing their needs.
Educating customers about ongoing sales campaigns and promotional offers.
Explaining product attributes and benefits to the customer.
Motivating customers to try products and services.
Maintaining and cleaning product shelves.
Adding price tags and signage to merchandise.
Adding inventory to shelves and restocking when needed.
Contributing to achieving weekly, biweekly, daily, or monthly team sales goals.
Knowledgeable of company’s safety protocols such as masking inside stores due to pandemic.
Resolving customer complaints, helping them with billing and payments, and ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction.
Giving customers access to business apps and other online options, including product home delivery.
Sales associate median salaries
As per Payscale.com, the median salary of a sales associate is $44,140. However, the promotions and salary increments vastly depend on skill certifications and years of experience.
Top skills for sales associates
Turning a frustrated customer into a satisfied customer requires a high level of interpersonal skill. Sales associates can expect to handle client queries, resolve customer issues, and oftentimes interact with more than one customer at a time. Here’s a list of critical skills sales associates should possess:
- Strong verbal and nonverbal communication: A sales associate should be excellent starting a conversation politely and actively. Listening skills are also a part of active communication, and a sales associate should be proficient in both aspects of communication. Active communication leads to understanding customers’ needs and assisting them successfully.
A sales associate should also have fluency in the local or regional language and/or some of the most often-used global languages like English or Spanish to communicate successfully. Language proficiency is also part and parcel of a sales associate’s job.
- Aware of the company’s products and policies: A sales associate should be mindful of all the latest products and any ongoing campaigns or sales policies. For this purpose, sales associates should research the company’s internal website, and any printed material related to new products. The sales associate should be aware of various retail or sales software such as TeamWox that enables them to record their sales.
- Diplomatic prowess: As the organization’s interacting face, a sales associate must be involved in troubleshooting and resolving customer complaints. At this point, a creative approach to satisfying customers’ needs and keeping in mind the company’s interest requires an empathetic but strategic attitude.
- Proficiency in basic mathematics and money-transfer technologies: Sales associate jobs include cash managing and bills-related responsibilities too. Therefore, a sales associate should be accurate in cash-handling. You have to know basic math like algebra, how to use calculators, and how to calculate tax. Sales associates need to be proficient in money transfer systems and retail POS (point-of-sale) software. Master of these systems is recommended and you can gain certifications by Laurels Training Institute in Certified Global Money Transfer Professional or various POS certificate courses by Udemy.
- Time-management: Timeliness is important not only to let your employer know you are reliable, but to be able to anticipate how long it will take to complete a required task. You need to ask your manager the time expectation for each job: How long should it take me to stock the cereal aisle? How long should each client interaction be? Since a lot of sales associates work on an hourly basis, you cannot waste time on the clock.
- Teamwork: When it comes to hitting sales targets, cleaning a business floor, or getting things done, you are only as good as your fellow co-workers. So you have to get along with them, communicate well with them in a professional manner, know how they are doing with their own sales targets, and work together to improve possible sales targets.
Sales associates education and certifications
Your profile should comprise a mix of skills, academics and professional certifications to succeed in a sales associate role. Below is a list of recommended education qualifications:
Degree:Sales associates should have at minimum a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. However, a candidate with a bachelor’s or an associate degree is always preferred. If the degree is in marketing and sales-related concentrations, it will instantly give you a leg up. You can get these degrees from a traditional school, a university, a junior college, or any technical education program of your choice.
Certifications:To get expertise in various aspects of a sales associate job, you can opt for multiple short-term study programs. These certifications can give you an edge over your fellow applicants.
Universities and colleges: Kellogg Business School, Western Technical College and Hult International Business School, like many colleges and universities, provide certificates in various sales and marketing programs.
Industry-connected companies: Intel, Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft, Cisco, MetLife, and many more companies provide training and certification in sales and marketing-related software and best practices. These programs are helpful to understand customer behavior and how to keep the database neat and arranged, i.e., a vital part of a sales associate’s job responsibilities.
Member associations: The National Association of Sales Professionals provides a training program for aspiring sales personnel called Certified Professional Sales Person. A nonprofit organization like NRF Foundation offers various certificate programs that can help you enter the retail industry. These programs teach you the small but important details of sales and marketing.
Of course, you also have to look out for specific certifications from the particular industry in which you work.
For example, if you are a sales associate that sells jewelry, there is a certification for that. Selling homes? There is a certification for that. Selling caskets or funeral services? There is a certification for that. marketing-related educational programs available on Management Concepts and Udemy. These courses are available online and have a nominal fee for the whole certificate program.
For-profit educational companies: There are many sales and marketing training, a sales associate can learn various soft skills and technical skills from these training organizations, such as office productivity programs or professional skills training. These programs can help you to learn related computer and software skills too.
Sales associate resume-writing tips
Writing a great resume is the first step toward securing a sales associate job. Have a look at these tips to learn how to write an effective resume that will grab the attention of a hiring manager:
- Highlight your sales associate achievements: Specific achievements are an essential ingredient in your resume. It helps a recruiter understand what tasks you are capable of and how you can replicate them. Some examples of highlighting an achievement are:
- Exceeded monthly sales goals, leading to 135% of sales targets for 2019.
- Won Employee of the Year award two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020.
- Use proper keywords: You have to show in your resume that you know the industry and the job you are applying to. One way to do this is through the use of keywords. Look for keywords in the application that you can carefully use in your own resume. They include keywords like tech-savvy, inclusive mindset, multi-lingual, math-savvy, hard worker.
What is the career prospect of a sales associate?
Depending on your years of experience, certifications and skills, a sales associate can be promoted quickly. Many sales associates, if they work hard, pick up certifications, and communicate well with management, can become store managers or operations managers in less than three years.
Are sales associates paid good incentives on achieving the sales targets?
Sales associates tend to get paid in two different ways: fixed or variable incomes.
The fixed manner is simply salary-based, with hourly or weekly or biweekly income. The variable way is through reaching targeted achievements, such as the number of sales as determined by a boss or company.
Some companies combine both, by paying a fixed salary and then adding a sales-based incentive on top of it to boost your total income. Sales associates that work in specific industries such as pharmaceutical sales or car sales tend to have the best outcomes for sales targets, with big bonus checks in the tens of thousands, while retail sales associates usually don’t get any or very minimal amounts.