How To Sell Your Retail Job Experience On Your Resume

How To Sell Your Retail Job Experience On Your Resume


If you ever feel like your part-time retail experience  won’t impress a potential employer, chances are you’re probably not emphasizing the skills you strengthened, your sales achievements or what you learned about running a business successfully on your resume.

And that means you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

If you’re hoping for a full-time career in retail on the sales floor or at a retailer’s head office, your part-time experience is extremely valuable.

Here’s how you can communicate what you did at these jobs on your resume:

Quantify your sales performance

Retail is a results-oriented business. While the numbers don’t tell an entire story, they don’t lie either. Retailers are looking to see what and how you will contribute to their sales team, so numbers help prove your skills.

If you excelled in a previous role, be specific about what you achieved and when you achieved it. You should include important performance metrics like total sales, average sale ($) and items per sale within a certain time period (either quarterly or yearly).

At my old part-time retail job, managers used to send emails to other stores in the district whenever someone had a big sale. Sometimes the Vice-President of Operations and other managers replied to the email. If you were ever a subject of an email like this, include this achievement on your resume and print out a copy to show off at job interviews.

Include the benchmark for each metric

How can a hiring manager compare how you performed to how you were supposed to perform if you only tell them what you did? They won’t know how impressive your metric figures are unless they know what you were being measured against.

Add context to your achievements by including the store’s benchmark or minimum requirements for each performance metric. This will prove that you really did excel in your role in relation to your colleagues.

This means you’ll have to keep track of your performance. Record sales, print relevant emails and take pictures of significant projects you worked on. Not sure if you’re allowed? Just ask your manager.

Display your commitment to learning

The top sellers tend to be the people with the most knowledge about products. If you attended any optional or mandatory product knowledge seminars during your employment, be sure to list how many and any key, transferable highlights from them.

This signals to a potential employer that you take retail seriously, you’re open to learning new things and that you’re able to adapt to new situations.

List your leadership roles

Were you responsible for training new hires? Did you lead a number of sales associates during peak times? Were you in charge of closing or opening the store? Were you a member of the store’s health and safety committee?

If you were, it probably means that management trusted your abilities and judgment to meet company standards, lead a team and resolve any problems that may arise.

If you were called to perform tasks that made you a leader on the sales floor, include the most notable ones and any relevant details about each role on your resume.

Describe how your ideas were executed

Did you have a brilliant idea that positively affected sales, store procedures or your store’s layout? Describe your idea, how it was implemented and what the results were. Be brief and specific.

For example: On Boxing Day in 2011, I suggested creating a sign for a one-day promotion that wasn’t getting too much attention from customers and after the sign was printed, we sold 11 pairs of $100 boots. This situation clearly and concretely illustrates my problem solving and communication skills.

Share your retail resume-writing tips in the comments section below!

Retail Week featuring jobs from Loblaws, Reitmans, Target, Starbucks, Rexall and TJX Canada / Winners Merchants International

Photo credit: Luis Argerich