Retail Management 101: 20 Skills You Need To Have
Discover the nine skills that are essential for effective retail management and ...
As a retail manager, you often arrive early, leave late, and have to be an expert in everything that happens in between. Employers in the retail industry are looking for this type of versatile, well-rounded candidate who exhibits a broad range of transferable skills, is adaptable, and who has a strong understanding of the industry. For that reason, your retail manager résumé should feature this information prominently.
More specifically, these are the seven skills that every great retail manager résumé should highlight:
But what’s the best way to incorporate those seven skills into a one- or two-page résumé? And is there anything else you should include to make yourself stand out from crowd? We’ve created this guide to answer those questions and help you produce the best retail manager résumé possible.
We’ll start by examining the seven essential skills in depth, show you how to work those skills into a few carefully chosen sections, and then give you a full-fledged example résumé from which to work. Let’s get started.
Communication is important in every aspect of retail management. Whether you’re working with employees, customers, or those above you in the corporate hierarchy, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively. That’s why it’s important to illustrate—not just state—that you possess this skill to a high degree.
If you have a particular experience that highlights your communication skills, be sure to include it in the “Key Accomplishments” or “Experience” sections of your résumé (discussed below).
Adaptability in the retail industry is often equated with resilience. This skill is characterized by the ability to maintain flexibility and mental toughness in the face of of almost certain day-to-day variations and changes. It could be dealing with customers, dealing with your staff, handling no call/no show employees, or instituting new programs and procedures handed down from the corporate office. Whatever those issues may be, you, as the retail manager, need to be ready and able to prioritize, schedule, and deal with them as soon as possible. Yes, this constant change can be stimulating. But it can also be stressful, and if you don’t have the adaptability necessary to handle change both short- and long-term, you could burn out sooner rather than later.
Be sure to offer an example of your adaptability in the “Experience” section of your résumé.
It takes a lot of organization to stay in control of the fast-moving retail industry. If you lose the ability to organize, or your organization isn’t as strong as it should be, you’ll quickly lose track of everything that’s going on around you. From new promotions, to interviewing, to rotating shift schedules, your day can quickly become overflowing with activities and emergencies if you don’t stick to a strict, organized schedule.
Keep in mind that organization also includes planning, troubleshooting, and multi-tasking, so be sure to mention at least one of these keywords in your “Skills & Responsibilities” section.
Sales are what the retail industry is all about. More specifically, increasing sales is what helps a retail business grow. As a retail manager, you need to have at least a modicum of sales experience so you understand what your employees have to handle on a daily basis. Ideally, you should include examples on your résumé that show how you used your sales skills to:
This skill can be listed briefly in the “Skills & Responsibilities” section because the next skill—sales leadership—will be much more indicative of your managerial abilities.
Having sales experience is important for a retail manager because it means that you can identify with your employees. But that experience is only the beginning. To be a truly successful retail manager, you need to be able to lead and motivate people to sell. As a manager, you’re going to be responsible for training sales associates as well as inspiring them to improve their sales numbers.
When you’re crafting your retail manager résumé, include examples of your leadership abilities that specifically apply to sales. Did the stores revenue increase during your tenure as manager? Tell a brief story in the “Key Accomplishments” section about how you tweaked the sales process to make that increase a reality.
People management is another important skill for a retail manager to have. This skill goes beyond just scheduling and hiring, and includes managing disparate groups of people (for example, both Millennials and Baby Boomers) and keeping everyone engaged.
People management also encompasses other responsibilities, including:
When displaying this skill on your résumé, it can often be rolled into another accomplishment listed before, such as, “Led a team of 100+ employees through a labor dispute to eventually achieve the stores highest ever annual sales numbers.” You don’t have to be specific on the hows and whys of this accomplishment. List it and move on. But be ready to elaborate with an in-depth explanation of your people management skills during your interview.ADD_THIS_TEXT
Customer service is last on this list, but it is by no means the least important skill to highlight on your résumé. If the retail industry is all about increasing sales, then customer service is the method you employ to reach that goal. Making sure that each and every customer has an excellent experience each and every time they come into your store goes a long way toward the success of your location.
Illustrating your customer service abilities has the potential to take up a lot of room on your résumé. That’s why we recommend that you highlight this skill in the “Skills & Responsibilities” section but have a great detailed example (or two) ready for the interview.
Try to keep you résumé to one or two pages in length so the hiring manager doesn’t feel overwhelmed by all the information at hand. Straying into three- and four-page territory could get your résumé consigned to file thirteen (the garbage).
Whatever length you choose, be sure to include “Key Accomplishments”, “Experience”, and “Skills & Responsibilities” on the first page. To save space, you can even combine the first two sections. Just be sure to list the important accomplishments when you outline your work history.
This section should be near the top of your résumé because it serves as an example of how all the skills mentioned above combine to make you the best retail manager possible. Keep in mind that hiring managers have dozens, if not hundreds, of résumés to sort through so they need to assess the viability of the candidate as quickly as possible. Leading with your key accomplishments shows them that you are worth investigating further.
The “Experience” section of your résumé should always be, or at least start, on the front page. This section should combine your work history with an elaboration of skills and accomplishments. If the “Key Accomplishments” section is the place to show them your best, the “Experience” section is the place to show them your lesser, though just as important, accomplishments. Be ready to elaborate on any of the information you include in this section during the interview. See the example retail manager résumé at the end of this article for ideas.
This section is the place to list any skills and responsibilities you haven’t mentioned in the other sections. Because this section is usually a bulleted list and doesn’t take up a lot of space, you can even refer to skills you’ve already mentioned by using a different word. If you’ve talked about your adaptability in the “Key Accomplishments” section, try using the word “Resilient” in the “Skills” section to reinforce the idea in the résumé-reader’s head.
The education section should be brief. You don’t need to go back and list the high school you attended. Unless you’re fresh out of high school, most managers don’t care about this piece of education. The college you attended is much more indicative of your skill.
This is also the place to include any postgraduate or specialized management training you may have received. Even on-the-job management training is more than most receive so be sure to include it on your résumé. And don’t forget to mention any certifications you may have received as a result of your training.
City, State Zip Code
Phone Number • Email
Awarded North Carolina’s “Store Manager of the Year” in 2016.
Propelled my location to the top of the sales and customer satisfaction list for the entire state.
Lowered shrink and staff turnover to lowest numbers ever.
Resolved employee issues through mediation and reconciliation.
District Manager 2007-2017
Oversaw startup and daily operations of multiple locations throughout the state. Enforced sound merchandising and loss control strategies. Drove optimal customer satisfaction results. Executed corporate programs, promotions, and policies.
Store Manager 1997-2007
Managed $30M location and supervised 200+ employees. Provided fiscal, operational, and strategic leadership.
Store Manager Trainee 1993-1997
Chosen from among other sales associates to participate in store manager trainee program.
Skills & Responsibilities
XYZ Store’s Management Program 1993-1994
Indiana University 1989-1993
Major in Business
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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.