Looking for retail skills to help sell your suitability for the role?
A job in retail can offer you flexibility, the chance to work with a diverse set of colleagues and excellent possibilities for career progression. This makes retail jobs very popular, which can in turn lead to some positions being particularly competitive. As a result, showing your potential employer that you have the skills they desire will help your application stand out – and could ultimately lead to you getting the job.
Our retail CV template will help you get started, plus here are five retail skills employers look for and tips on how to include them in your application:
What are retail skills?
Working in retail can be hugely rewarding; you get the opportunity to help customers find the products they need. Yet, it can also be high-pressured and demanding. Employers want to hire people they feel have a good combination of soft skills and hard skills to deliver the service their customers deserve, whatever the situation.
As soft skills (things like communication, empathy and leadership) aren’t job specific, it doesn’t matter if you developed them in another sector. They can still add value to your retail job.
Examples of retail jobs where you can demonstrate your retail skills
Retail isn’t just about selling products to customers, it’s an experience. As a result, there’s a good variety of roles throughout the retail industry which all help to add to this experience.
Customers want to feel welcomed in a store the moment they set foot through the door. You may be greeting customers as they enter the store or working as a Sales Assistant where you’re helping customers source products or taking payment. Or you may be working as a Merchandiser, designing engaging window displays to help draw customers into the shop.
Or, on the other end of the spectrum, you may be an Assistant Manager or Store Manager who’s responsible for setting sales targets, organising deliveries and hiring staff – or even progress into an area management position.
Other retail roles you could find yourself working in include everything from Buyer and Personal Shopper, through to Head Office roles in HR, finance and more. So no matter what area of retail you want to work in, good retail skills will help you get ahead
Five retail skills for your CV
Whether you’re looking for your first job in retail, or you want to progress your retail career, here are five retail skills to list on your CV so that your application gets you noticed:
Attention to detail
The tasks you’ll carry out may vary, but the key to doing them well and efficiently is having good attention to detail. Making sure that products are placed on the right shelves, that displays are clear and tidy or that customers are given the correct change will add to a positive experience.
Pro tip: If you’re going to talk about how great attention to detail is, make sure your CV is free of spelling and grammar mistakes. Your retail career could be stalled before it even starts if an employer spots a silly spelling mistake.
Whether people are shopping in store, online or over the phone, they want to feel welcomed and at ease. This improves their retail experience and encourages them to buy more in the future. Being able to smile, be polite and helpful – even at the end of a long day, is a skill retail employers seek in their employees.
To back your claim of possessing a positive attitude, on your CV mention a time when you had to use this skill. For example, explain how you found a solution to a disgruntled customer’s problem.
Nearly all retailers use a digital system for stock management, ordering products, taking payment, actioning refunds and analysing sales. It’s possible that the retailer you’re applying to uses a system that you’re not familiar with. This shouldn’t matter, as being able to prove that you’ve used IT or POS (Point of Sale) systems previously will give you a competitive edge.
To demonstrate this on your CV, list all the IT systems you’ve used, and mention any IT qualifications or certificates you have – even better if these relate to retail IT systems.
In all industries, communication is a critical skill, but particularly in retail where most interactions involve some form of communication – writing an email to a supplier, speaking to a customer in person or over the phone, or creating signs to be used in store, for example.
Listing communication as a skill on your CV may not have much of an impact, but giving an example of how you’ve used this skill will. For instance, explain how you took customers’ orders over the phone or liaised with couriers to arrange deliveries for customers.
In retail, it’s especially important that people are on time for their shift as lateness can cause delays in delivering orders or getting stock out on the shelves – and customers may even have to wait to be served.
People who consistently arrive for work on time, show up for meetings when they need to or pass information onto colleagues when asked, demonstrate to employers that they take their job seriously and respect their colleagues’ time.
A simple way to demonstrate punctuality is by sending your CV and cover letter or application form to the employer before the closing date. Sending it after the closing date shows you have a problem with meeting schedules and it could mean your application won’t be considered.
How to develop your retail skills
You may feel you already have a great set of skills, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop them further. In fact, it could make you even more attractive to retail employers.
Your employer may offer on-the-job training, such as shadowing, job rotation or coaching. However, you could also work on proactively improving your skills by taking numerous retail training courses, such as those in Retail Management. Or, for those who feel their soft skills could be improved, there’s a wide range of soft skills courses you can choose from that focus on different skills.
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