7 Tips for Writing a Retail Resume That Rocks

With summer upon us, seasonal hiring has begun and flocks of applicants will be vying for seasonal - or in some cases - permanent positions in retail stores. The first trick to successfully applying for a job in retail is to write a killer resume. But it can be confusing trying to figure out how your resume should look and what information you should include, especially if you don't have a ton of work experience. 

Think of your resume as your first impression; if you get it wrong it could be the only contact you have with a potential employer. Taking the necessary steps to ensure that you showcase your best professional qualities, past work experience, and any relevant retail successes is critical to getting your foot in the door for an interview. Follow our tips on writing a retail resume below to up your chances of landing the job.

Study the job description. If finding a job in retail is a treasure hunt, the job listing is your map. Study the skills and qualifications sections for keywords that the employers lists as important. Take care to use these critical words and phrases - verbatim, if possible - in your resume. This will prove to be very important, especially if the retailer uses resume bots to sort through resumes.

Utilize your skills section. This section may just look like a bulleted list, but if used wisely, it can really pack a punch. Think of your skills section as a repository for all of the skills you've acquired in your past positions. List them all here. Don't worry about going into detail; there's time for that later in your "work experience" section. Here, corral everything you think might be useful in the role, while keeping key works from the job posting in mind. List both hard skills (stellar math skills, experience with point-of-sale systems) and soft skills (persuasive nature; friendly, customer-centric personality) here.

Choose your verbs carefully. The "work experience" section of your resume gives you the opportunity to go into detail about your past work experience. Use it to strut your stuff, by using action words that bring your past experiences to life. For example, instead of writing that you were responsible for scheduling customers' alterations appointments, you might consider writing, "Booked customer alterations and fittings, and communicated with clients post-fitting to ensure they were pleased with the final result."


It's all in the numbers. In retail, sales records count so use numbers whenever possible to quantify your past successes. Did you earn a sizable commission during last year's holiday season? Or maintain the record for new cell phone activations four months in a row? New employers want to hear these hard numbers. If you don't have substantial retail experience or have never worked on commission, don't fret. Other numbers, such as raising the most money for your school's charity, can be valuable to add as well.

Academic experience counts. If you don't have a much (or any) work experience, be sure to highlight your academic achievements in your resume. Coursework can go a long way towards proving that you have the skills it takes to thrive in a retail environment. Have you taken advanced math courses? Feature them prominently. They show you understand numbers. Did you get an A in your communications course? Mention it. The ability to understand a customer's needs is critical to success in retail.

Employ a second set of eyes. The surest way to ruin an otherwise expertly executed resume is a glaring typo. Recruit a friend (or, even better, two) to proofread your resume carefully before you send it off.

Use a pro. Overwhelmed by the idea of writing your own resume? There are some great examples online that can help you outline your job skills and qualifications on your resume, and find the right key works and descriptions to use in your cover letter. Using a resume-building website like LiveCareer, which has examples of retail resumes and cover letters, is a great place for beginners to get started. Breaking into a new industry isn't easy, but LiveCareer can help!

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