My Sales Associate Resume Needs Work, What Can I Do?

16 November 2018 Reading Time: 6 minutes

The job market for sales associates is estimated to expand by 5% over the next eight years in the US alone. While you might have the best skills for the job, this isn’t the aspect applicants struggle with. The difficulty lies in creating a resume that balances length, buzzwords, the right resume headings, and deciding on what experience you should include, and how you should describe it. Polishing up on all of these aspects will bring you closer to getting the interview you know you can ace. So take a look at our actionable tips below!

Who are sales associates?

Try asking yourself this question: “when recruiters think of a sales associate, do I line up with their expectation?” Impactful sales associates can identify consumer needs and utilise their product-knowledge to present problem-solutions and and recommend, market, and sell appropriate products. You’re the customers first point-of-contact with many skills involved in customer support typically coming into play too.

This expectation gives you a checklist of criteria to meet in your resume:

  • Demonstrate any previous experience in retail / working with the public
  • Convey your humanity and approachability
  • Detail any educational background in business, sales, or marketing
  • Tell the recruiter who you are, more than just what you do

Top 5 sections for your sales associate resume (no matter your background)

1. Resume header

Hiring managers often sift through dozens of resumes in minutes. Having six-seconds to make an impression on the person reviewing your resume can be difficult, but not impossible. Your resume header is the first thing a recruiter will look to and therefore should be perfected as much as possible.

You should include your name, contact details (including a phone number and email address) and any links to your personal website or LinkedIn. Remember to update your voicemail and keep your email address professional.

Tip: To give the manager an insight into your personality, you can customize your resume website with quotes from former colleagues and include a personal photo should this be permissible where you live.

Enhancv My Sales Associate Resume Needs Work, What Can I Do? sales associate resume

2. Strengths

If you can’t tell the hiring manager what you’re skilled in, then why should they consider you? Detailing your top strengths gives a succinct account of what the manager can expect of your ability. Choose strengths and skills that are relevant to the role of sales associate to make the greatest impact. Some strengths you may consider are:

  • Human-relations
  • Personal sales
  • Cash handling
  • Problem-solving
  • Merchandising
  • Personal shopping
  • Customer service

In Hannah’s server resume, she described her greatest strengths in customer service.

Enhancv My Sales Associate Resume Needs Work, What Can I Do? sales associate resume

Tip: To make your impact greater, quantify your strengths as you go along with some previous experience. With an Enhancv resume, you can choose an icon to accompany your strengths to guide the hiring manager’s attention too. Give our resume builder a try!

3. Education

A trap you might fall into is thinking your education isn’t relevant to your role, or you don’t have the ‘right’ education. Rest assured, education comes in multiple forms. You don’t typically need a university degree to secure a sales associate job, nor do you need formalised education on related subject matter. If you’ve taken an online course on marketing, if you have a degree in business, or if you took advanced math in high school, these are all relevant.

Niamh mentions her background in psychology and describes how this plays into her understanding of customer relations in her retail resume.

Enhancv My Sales Associate Resume Needs Work, What Can I Do? sales associate resume

4. Technologies

In today’s world, jobs that involve no technology are few-and-far between. Whether it’s navigating POS systems, handling the till at checkout, or using Excel to track stock, your experience with informational systems is relevant to your position as a sales associate.

5. My Time

The My Time section is an Enhancv exclusive. If you’ve never come across it before, it can seem peculiar. Why would a hiring manager care how I spent my time relative to my position as a sales associate? Well, sales associates often wear many hats. There are various tasks you’ll be responsible for, and an inability to prioritize and manage your time will inhibit your ability to do this.

Describing how you spend your time gives insight into your ability to juggle many things at once.

In his sales resume, Adam described how his time is divided during a typical work-day.


Tip: As a student or recent graduate, you can detail how you split your time between coursework, studying, volunteering, and more.

Common sales associate resume mistakes you can avoid

Repeating the same information

Nothing reads worse than an applicant repeating the same information over again in different words. Look at your sales associate resume as a whole. Make a list of things you wish to mention prior to sitting down to write it out to ensure you mention the best examples, and hit all of the points the recruiter is hoping to hear about.

Forgetting to quantify your experience

We’ve all heard the saying: “You can talk-the-talk, but can you walk-the-walk?” This concept is particularly relevant when it comes to the quantification of your experience. You increased sales in your last job. You improved customer solutions. You applied yourself to new situations in volunteering.

That’s great – but, how did you do those things? You increased sales by 5% by introducing a novel marketing strategy. You improved customer solutions, which doubled customer retention. You learned [X] new skill after experincing [Y] scenario in your last job. See how much more of an impact quantification makes?

Lacking specificity

The days of the general resume are over. With the sheer volume of resumes hiring managers are tasked to go through with their tight schedule, having a general resume that reads as if it could have been submitted to hundreds of places will reduce your chances of getting called for an interview. Look into the type of products the company sells, match the color on your resume to their branding, read the job description and use your resume as the answer booklet.

Further tips to improve your sales associate resume

Format your resume by priority

If you’ve ever looked into formats for your sales associate resume, you may have come across suggestions such as a reverse-chronological resume or hybrid resume. When it comes down to it, the best decision you can make is placing the most important parts of your resume first, and creating a funnel of priority for deciding on the next part. If the job description emphasises prior experience, your experience should be firs. If skills are mentioned more than anything else, reference your skills first. With the exception of your resume header coming first, there are no rules you have to follow. Place yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes, what would you want to see first?

Tip: With Enhancv’s resume builder, you can easily move sections around according to priority without compromising aesthetics. Our simple rearrange feature means you can moves sections like pieces of a puzzle.

Deciding on length

The rule-of-thumb when it comes to resume length is one page per ten years of experience. For most sales associate roles, one page will be plenty to discuss your experience and value. Going beyond one page is more likely to bore the recruiter. There’s no guarantee they’ll make it to your second page before putting your resume in the No pile. Aiming for a focused one page resume will do wonders for your chances of getting called for an interview.

Sales associate action verbs

A struggle many applicants have to overcome is how to describe your past work. One way to do this is using action verbs that have real meaning, generate intrigue, and have an impact. Some verbs you can use to catch the recruiter’s attention are:

  • Upsold
  • Identified
  • Solved
  • Doubled
  • Merchandised
  • Sold
  • Replenished
  • Initiated
  • Assisted
  • Conceptualised
  • Augmented
  • Retained
  • Educated
  • Coordinated
  • Calculated
  • Organised
  • Reinvented
  • Related (to customers)

Conduct a resume review

No resume is complete without reviewing your content. Your sales associate resume is no different. To complete a resume review, read your resume backwards, print it out, send it on to a colleague to read, or better yet, do all three.

Tip: With Enhancv, you can avail of our built-in referral link which allows you to send your resume to friends and colleagues for constructive feedback.

You can get that sales associate job

With the right resume sections, controlling for common mistakes, and some extra advice on how to stand out from the crowd, you’re one step closer to getting the job in associate sales you’ve always wanted. Remember, be specific, quantify your experience, conduct a resume review, and make use of sales associate-specific action verbs! Use Enhancv’s resume builder to create a resume as aesthetically-pleasing and easy-to-make as all of the examples you see above.

Dean O'Reilly

Psychology student with keen interest in academic research. Currently exploring the world of marketing distribution and content creation with Enhancv to help people get closer to the job of their dreams. Read more about my journey to Enhancv on Fast Company or Gay Times.

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