Create a Winning Retail Resume

man looking at resume

In the world of retail, one thing matters: Performance. Whether you are a manager, salesperson, merchandiser, cashier, clerk, HR professional or an employee who performs one of the numerous other retail jobs, your resume needs to demonstrate how you have contributed to your company's bottom-line success.

What You Bring to the Table

High performers are most welcome in a retail environment. Competition is fierce in today's global and e-business economy, so companies with the best talent are often ahead of the game.

When developing your resume, keep in mind that retail hiring managers want to know, "What can this person do for us?" So show that you have the skills, accomplishments, training and work ethic to contribute to your potential employer's corporate goals and mission.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

Lead with a Clear Career Goal, and Highlight Your Credentials

Make it easy for busy hiring managers to determine your job target and key qualifications. By including a Career Summary section, you immediately grab the reader's attention and highlight your most important attributes. To create your summary, review job postings to get a good feel for what hiring managers find desirable. Write a list of your matching credentials and incorporate these into the summary. Try to stay away from listing vague skills or cliches, such as "excellent communication and interpersonal skills." Instead, provide hard facts about your work history or training that would entice a hiring manager to call. Here's the introduction for a senior-level retail manager:

Regional manager with a reputation for building management teams focused on achieving revenue goals and high customer satisfaction levels. Designed and implemented programs that have improved operational efficiencies, profit margins, employee morale and sales revenues within diverse industries. Track record of driving business operations to profitability in turnaround and high-growth situations.

Skills and Expertise

Include an Areas of Expertise section to showcase your core competencies. This section is also a great place to incorporate industry keywords so your resume can be found in an applicant search. Organize your expertise in an easy-to-read bulleted list:

  • Strategic Planning
  • P&L Management
  • Retail Distribution
  • Budget Planning
  • Merchandise Displays
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Inventory Control
  • Procurement
  • Warehousing
  • Systems Management
  • Incentive Structures
  • Performance Standards
  • Safety and Compliance
  • Team Leadership and Mentoring

Work Experience

Many retail resumes in circulation provide a bland listing of job duties. Considering a retail environment's competitive nature, try energizing your job descriptions by describing how you went above and beyond your job duties. It has been said that only people in sales or management positions can boast accomplishments, but that's not true. You have accomplishments that will enhance your resume's effectiveness no matter what field you're in.

To develop high-impact accomplishment statements, think about how you performed in each of your positions. What was expected of you? How well did you meet expectations? What methods did you use to generate strong results? Did you win any awards or receive formal recognition? Did you overcome any obstacles that resulted in a positive outcome?

Education and Training

The world of retail is constantly evolving, and your skills should be too. Be sure to include your continuing education, in-service training, outside seminars, courses, certifications or any other experience that shows your dedication to professional development. If you don't have much to include, consider finding the time right now to participate in some type of continuing education.


As more and more retailers are using resume tracking systems and online career tools such as Monster to find employees, your resume must contain keywords to be found in a database search. Keywords include specific job titles (retail manager, store manager, retail store manager, retail sales, sales representative, cashier, assistant manager, merchandiser, buyer) and required job skills (P&L management, purchasing, procurement, retail operations management). Other keywords that might be used include technology (such as specific computer programs), degrees (such as BA or MBA) and personal qualities (such as highly motivated).

To determine the right keywords for your particular specialty, review job postings to see which buzzwords and industry jargon are commonly used, and then incorporate them into your resume.

Related: Retail Sales Clerk Sample Resume

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