How do you land a great job with a top retail store? You submit a convincing cover letter, paired with an equally eloquent resume. By “eloquent”, however, we don’t mean just a well-composed resume copy, but a document that prominently speaks about your top retail skills.
Wondering which one are those? We did some digging over recent job posts and put together an up-to-date list of in-demand resume skills for retail.
So What Skills to Put on Resume For Retail?
Good retail skills for resumes include any capabilities you have in the areas of sales, customer service, commercial awareness, digital literacy, and overall store management. You can also make a stronger impression by including some related soft skills such as time management, teamwork, active listening, mental resilience, and conflict resolution among others.
Resume Skills For Retail to Swipe
Because there are many different job types and seniority levels within the industry, it’s important to state your area of proficiency straight away. How? Add an impactful resume summary in the header area, complemented by a featured list of retail skills.
We have plenty of free templates for resumes that support such a layout. So pick one and start populating it with some of the skills from this list!
Hard Skills For Retail Resume
Hard skills are your core areas of professional competencies. These can include technical skills (such as POS software knowledge), as well as other capabilities developed in school, through training, or on the job (e.g., inventory management or visual merchandising).
Separately, don’t forget to highlight your general commercial awareness aka your understanding of wide changes in the retail industry. This may include knowledge of the omnichannel retail business model, BOPIS, POS lending, or self-service retail trends. Just remember: don’t just throw in some popular buzzwords — contextualize them by describing your duties and accomplishments.
How does the company make money? What do customers want now? What will they want next season? Who are the biggest industry influencers? How does this job contribute to the company making a profit? Mid-level retail employees should be able to answer these questions.
That’s why commercial awareness is some of the most important retail management skills for resumes. Employers will try to determine your understanding of the retail landscape in general, and their niche in particular.
Here are a few examples of commercial awareness skills to consider adding to your retail resume.
- Market trend analysis
- Product knowledge
- Competitor analysis
- Market forecasting
- Customer profiling
- Role awareness
- Influencer research
- Brand management
- Market entry planning
There was once a time when retail applicants could simply add “computer skills” or “POS” to their resumes and call it a day. That’s no longer the case. Today, retail workers need to showcase more digital literacy skills. They must know how to use a variety of retail and customer service apps, as well as emerging tech solutions like self-service kiosks, cashier-less checkout, and more.
Yet, as a recent survey found only 27% of currently employed US retail workers have sufficient digital literacy skills, necessary to support the transformations in the industry. Meaning that your tech-savviness can be a significant advantage over other candidates.
Add these digital literacy skills to your retail resume if they are a good fit:
- POS software
- Ecommerce website platform knowledge (BigCommerce, Shopify)
- Conversational commerce
- 3PL software knowledge
- Beacons and other in-store/app integration
- Social media management
- Data analysis
- Business intelligence (BI) tools
- Online payment processing
Customer Experience (CX) Management
The customer experience begins the moment a prospect engages with the retailer online or in person. Modern CX is multi-touchpoint. It spans over the phone, desktop, and in-store interactions. On average, 8 touchpoints take place before a prospect converts to a paying customer. As a retail employee, you must ensure that every customer has an amazing experience through any touchpoints that you can influence.
In addition to this, modern retail requires that you have a clear understanding of every other touchpoint your company cultivates. For example, store employees must know which messaging (slogans, unique offers, sales pitches) customers typically receive through online channels. This way, you can offer the same consistent experience from end to end. Remember that customer experience extends beyond the sale. It includes post-sale (aftermarket) support, which must be on-brand too.
Retailers know they must provide top-notch customer experiences across multiple channels. They want to hire retail staff that also embraces this philosophy. Review the customer experience management skills below, and then consider adding them to your resume.
- Lead nurturing
- Customer success management
- Aftersales care
- Strategic sales
- Omnichannel marketing
- Customer feedback analysis
- Sentiment analysis
- Social media listening
- Customer journey mapping
Merchandising involves establishing effective visual presentations of sold products. A candidate with strong merchandising skills knows how to monitor stock levels, manage inventory, negotiate with suppliers, and schedule timely replenishment. Additionally, they know where to place items in the store based on a variety of factors. This includes popularity, season, demand, and vendor agreements.
There is also a very creative side to merchandising. Retail employees often get asked to create artful featured product displays to help move stock, as well as improve on-the-shelf product placements.
Finally, merchandisers must work with vendors and suppliers. They need to be able to predict store needs and request new products accordingly.
Some retailers hire merchandisers. However, any person who works on the sales floor should have some merchandising skills. Choose some skills that apply from the list below to add to your resume.
- Controlling stock levels
- Inventory management
- Product sourcing
- Supplier negotiation
- Vendor management
- Window display design
- Store resets
- Stock levels forecasting
- Deadstock minimization
- Trend analysis
- In-store data collection
The retail industry succeeds or fails due to the ability of its professionals to sell products. Anyone who wishes to work in the industry should be able to sell. Even if you aren’t after a customer-facing position, you should understand the standard sales cycles in your industry.
What many people don’t realize is that “sales” isn’t a single skill. Instead, it is a combination of competencies that you use together to better understand the customer and their needs. Then, you use that information to identify the perfect opportunity to present the ideal product recommendation.
Add these skills to your resume to show you can sell products.
- Upselling and cross-selling
- B2B lead prospecting
- Lead nurturing
- Product demo
- Product knowledge
- Overcoming customer objections
- Contract negotiations
- Relationship building
- Sales closure
- Referrals management
Soft Skills to Put on a Resume For Retail
Most retail jobs assume a fair share of customer integrations. So having soft skills is a non-negotiable part of the job. Strong people skills can also help you rapidly advance from entry-level positions to more senior roles in management, sales, or marketing. So be sure to mention the following traits and personal attributes in your retail resume.
When a job listing mentions “people skills”, they usually mean interpersonal skills. This is the ability to get along with others, in any circumstance. Remember that in retail you will encounter different attitudes and personalities. Yet, you must remain pleasant and professional. More importantly, you must be able to deal with challenging customers without compromising your own goals in sales numbers or CSAT levels.
Below are retail skills examples, strong communicators should bring up:
- Persuasive communication
- Conflict management
- Written and verbal communication
- Active listening
- Rapport development
- Body language reading
Most retail jobs are fast-paced. You have to be an expert in time and task management to thrive in this industry. Moreover, your ability to be organized doesn’t just impact your own productivity. It can also impact your coworkers as teamwork is also crucial for successful retail operations.
Hence, most employers are looking for candidates with solid organizational skills. If that’s you, here are the keywords to add to your resume:
- Shift planning
- Time management
- Physical organization
- Goal setting
- Task management
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others, then manage those appropriately. People with high emotional intelligence are even-tempered and always in control of their behaviors. Even better, they may understand how emotions fuel certain customer actions and adapt their responses accordingly.
Emotional intelligence is key to having a successful retail career. So bring up the following EQ skills on your resume:
- Mental resilience
- Collaboration and compromise
- Reading people
- Cultural competence
You are out of a popular product and customers are frustrated. A worker hasn’t shown up, and you don’t have the coverage you need to open the store. You just received a shipment you ordered, but everything is the wrong color. What do you do in these situations?
Retail professionals encounter these challenges regularly. When they do, they don’t panic. Instead, they engage their problem-solving skills. This is what allows them to come up with productive solutions instead of panicking or passing the buck. Try to integrate some of these soft skills into your resume:
- Group collaboration
Conclusion: Align Your Retail Skills With Employer Needs
Should you include all of the above resume skills examples in your resume? Of course not! In fact, you may not even consider every category listed above. Instead, start with the skills you actually have. Next, consider the needs of the employer. Read their job listings carefully. Learn what is in demand in your specific niche. For example, luxury fashion boutiques and home improvement stores require rather different competencies from candidates. Then, include the specific skills that are most likely to impress the hiring manager. This will ensure that your resume is relevant and that it contains the right skills and keywords.