How to Write a Sales Assistant CV

Working in retail, you'll already know that you need a great Sales Assistant CV, as there are a lot of people pursuing the best jobs in the most illustrious stores.

For you, that might mean working in a specialist store with products that really interest you, being more involved with an area such as fashion retail, or becoming more involved in visual merchandising.

It might mean gaining promotion to a higher level with your current employer, or moving to a larger operation where there are far more opportunities.

Wherever you're heading, it's important to put an impressive professional CV together. It would be easy to assume that everyone knows what a sales assistant does, but unless you work hard to communicate how you do it and what you're like to work with, then your application will not stand out enough to gain you an interview.

Sales Assistant CV Profile

The function of your profile, which is 2 to 4 sentences at the top of your Sales Assistant CV, isn't to say what you'd like to do, but to show what you can offer the employer when you're applying for retail jobs or sales jobs.

The idea is to grab the employer's attention as soon as they first look at your CV, so that they at least want to continue reading. Appropriately, the profile has to work in the same way as a shop window, highlighting your biggest selling points in a very short time.

It's not hard to do, but you have to be able to focus on what the employer is going to be looking for on a Sales Assistant's CV. You should angle the profile at the vacancy you're applying for, by presenting the most relevant aspects of your experience, knowledge and skills.

As a professional CV service, we would recommend that you start off by mentioning how many years' experience you have and, if you've worked in a particular area of retail - e.g. fashion, sports, food, etc. - the areas that you're experienced in. If you've worked in a wide range of stores, then you can mention that as a strength, in that you've adapted to many areas of retail.

Beyond this, you need to demonstrate that you have excellent skills that are relevant to the position. This means fulfilling a customer service role with great people skills and a good standard of self-presentation, coupled with a high level of professionalism. As well as numeracy and cash handling skills and experience, you need to reassure the employer that you have well-developed sales skills.

In other words, the profile on your Sales Assistant CV is a combination of your experience, your solid retail assistant skills, and your strengths as a person. This latter area includes what are known as 'transferable skills' - ones that can be used in any job, such as communication skills, patience, courtesy and self-motivation.

Being a team worker falls into several categories and is always valuable in the retail environment. Another highly important quality is a responsible attitude. Every retailer wants to employ people who are trustworthy and who can handle a wide range of situations without having to ask for help all the time.

Achievements for a Sales Assistant CV

An achievement is a time when you really made a difference at work, by doing a bit more than your job description asked for.

This doesn't necessarily mean putting in extra hours or duties, but it can mean making an additional contribution by using your strengths.

Achievements on a Sales Assistant's CV need to be powerful, because they help a prospective employer to envisage how you you'll be able to contribute to their business.

Achievements written with a numerical value are strongest. They are so specific that they leave the employer in no doubt as to what you can contribute. Things that can be measured numerically include team size, profit, sales, number of customers helped, time saved, hours worked, etc.

For example, you could state that your excellent customer service skills led to an increase in sales or repeat sales, or that you were able to help move customers to higher level purchases.

If you work successfully on a commission basis, expressing this as a numerical achievement on your Sales Assistant CV will be easy for you. All you need to do is state what your target was and what you actually made with your sales figures.

There are many other things you can include as achievements, and the more relevant they are to the vacancy you're applying for, the better. So, you might mention that you've completed special training in relation to matters such as security and theft prevention, visual merchandising, or a particular kind of software utilised in-store.

Being promoted at work is definitely an achievement. If you have covered for higher level members of staff during their absence, then this can also be included as an achievement - say what you did and how long for.

If you assisted managers in tasks normally outside your role, include this. Likewise, if you were responsible for training other members of staff, write this and state how many people you were involved with. Assisting with online sales fulfilment and marketing or PR are also worthy of mention.

List up to 5 or 6 achievements on a Sales Assistant CV, presenting them as sentences with bullet points. Always include the situation, the action you took and the result you achieved when describing an accomplishment. Remember that the more specific information you can provide, the stronger the achievement will be.

Experience on a Sales Assistant CV

You need to include your experience, which can also be called your work or career history on your Sales Assistant CV.

You only need to list the jobs you've held over the past 10 years. List the most recent first and work back.

Start with your job title, followed by the employer's name and town, and the inclusive dates of your employment. This can be presented on a single line.

Beneath each entry, include 5 or 6 bullet points with a sentence to describe an area of your duties. Don't simply repeat the job description - you should try to make every point as interesting as those in your achievement section.

While you may feel pushed to identify enough major contributions, you can still phrase each sentence to show that you applied your strengths at work to do your job to a high standard.

Be as specific as possible on your Sales Assistant CV. If you mention that you handled sales, specify the different methods and systems that you used - handling credit and debit card sales, administrating returns and giving refunds, balancing tills at close of business, etc. You should mention that you work was efficient and accurate.

If you were involved with inventory management, mention that you ordered and organised stock, placed orders for deliveries, maintained a stock management system, etc.

Again, be specific about any software used - was it a proprietary system (developed for a chain of retail stores), or was it an application used in many different stores? If the latter, be sure to include the software application's name. In fact, you should provide the name of any software system you used at work.

Above all, you should highlight the excellent customer service that you were able to provide the store's customers. Outline how you helped customers with their needs, utilising your communication and, particularly, your listening skills.

Stress that you are always friendly and polite, being helpful without being persistent. Handling complaints is a challenge, so you should show that you are able to work with difficult customers as well as contented ones.

Another important area is health and safety - do mention this on your Sales Assistant CV if you received training and adhered to regulations relevant to your workplace. This is particularly important with food retail, although public safety obviously needs to be ensured in all retail environments.

Sales Assistant CV Qualifications and Training

Finally, you can list your education and training qualifications. If you have undertaken any specific retail training, list this first, starting with the most recent.

This might be a Higher National Diploma or Certificate from a tertiary college, or it could be an NVQ/SVQ modern apprenticeship.

Write the name of the qualification, the institution where you studied and completion date on one line, along with any grade you received. On the next line, offer a little detail about the vocational aspects of your training.

Next, list any short courses you attended while employed with various shops. This is more likely to be in-house training provided by bigger high street chain stores. If this amounted to a series of single day training sessions, group them together rather than listing them all separately.

Next, list your most recent academic studies, either at college (assuming these were non-retail) or school. You only need to list the most recent, so if this was attending college until you were 18 years old, list the college and the year you left on one line, followed by your examinations and grades beneath it. Otherwise, give the name of your school and the year you left, with examinations you passed listed underneath.

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