Careers advice

Quick and easy: what to put on a retail CV

There are heaps of great retail jobs on offer in NZ, you just need a CV that does the business.

In 2019, over 19,000 retail positions were listed on Trade Me Jobs. So, if a role in this exciting and diverse sector is your goal, there are plenty of opportunities out there.

However, retail in New Zealand is competitive, and your application has to be top drawer if you’re going to get where you want.

To help you on your way, we’re going to deep dive into what to put on a CV for retail. We’ll start with some skills that every employee in this sector needs, before exploring some role specific stuff.

Despite the wide variety of retail roles, some skills are essential to them all.

Core retail CV skills

1. Customer service

Success in retail is about so much more than great products. Whether the business sells t-shirts or technology, you’ll need great customer service skills to keep those sales ticking over.

But what does this mean?

Well, on top of making customers feel welcome and valued, you’ll need to develop extensive merchandise knowledge and be able to think on your feet to respond to a range of queries.

A cool head will also come in handy for those trickier patrons … and trust us, you’ll meet some.

2. Sales sense

Ultimately, the goal in retail is to sell a product. Helping customers over the finish line through your powers of (subtle) persuasion is, therefore, a massive attribute to bring to the table.

Even if you’re not working on the shop floor, you should have this selling objective in mind at all times to ensure your efforts align with company goals. For example, a product designer should consider market trends when brainstorming the next big merchandise update.

3. Communication and teamwork

There’s no ‘I’ in team, and you’ll need to work collaboratively with your colleagues if you’re going to make it in retail.

In New Zealand, this sector gets hectic – so you’ll need to build good relationships, and communicate clearly with other staff to get through busy patches.

Your CV should show the employer you've got a customer service mindset, and an eye for a sale.

4. Numeracy

We’re not talking about Einsteinian maths skills here. But being able to calculate prices, give correct change and take accurate stock counts without resorting to your phone calculator will certainly help your retail career.

5. IT skills

No employer will expect you to be familiar with their specific till or stock ordering software before starting. However, experience with computers will help you pick this up faster, and solve problems without asking for help.

6. Work ethic and time management

Retail staff should expect long hours, and lots of time on the move. This means employers in this sector look for motivated individuals work hard, day after day.

But to be truly effective, you need to work smart too. This means juggling multiple responsibilities, and managing your time well to make sure nothing is left unfinished.

7. Initiative

Going beyond your job description to help a customer, lightening someone else’s workload or stopping a problem before it happens will definitely go down well with the boss.

We don’t mean you should re-arrange the shop on their day off or order entirely different stock without their sign-off, but don’t be afraid to use your initiative.

What skills do you need for a retail assistant CV?

On top of the important attributes already mentioned, a retail assistant CV should include:

  • The ability to follow processes: different businesses have different policies, and a good retail assistant will pick these up quickly and follow them every time.
  • Attention to detail: from ordering stock to ensuring displays are always on point, being able to focus will stop you making silly mistakes.
  • Customer awareness: as well as ensuring customers always get the help they need, watching for shoplifters is a key part of this role.

Retail assistants need to have a complete understanding of the processes that make the business tick.

What skills do you need for a store manager CV?

  • Leadership: on top of having the confidence to make decisions, this means knowing your team and delegating tasks to the right staff members. 
  • Scheduling: you’ll need to make sure you always have enough staff to cover the work, but not so many that people are standing around. This means planning hours sheets, and recruiting new employees if necessary. 
  • Health and safety management: your team should look out for each other, and your customers. However, the buck stops with you.

What skills do you need for a merchandising CV?

  • Presentation: a huge part of merchandising is creating eye-catching displays that will draw in customers and encourage them to buy. A knowledge of consumer psychology, and a creative eye will be invaluable here.
  • Networking: talking to the right people, and getting them behind your brand and its output is a huge part of increasing product exposure.
  • Strategic planning: when is the best time to promote a given stock? What is your target audience? How much do they want to spend? You’ll need to answer all of these questions, and more, to help your company thrive.

With this knowledge up your sleeve, it’s time to comb through your experience and find examples of how you’ve demonstrated these core skills. Note, this doesn’t have to be employment based, if you’re making a first job application. You can also use evidence from education, sports, volunteer work, unpaid internships and more!

If you’re looking for a template for your retail CV, you can use your Trade Me Job Profile. Once you’ve entered your qualifications, work history, personal skills and contact details, this tool can generate a CV for you to download and print in minutes.