How to Get a Job as a Retail Sales Assistant

It’s all very well for people to say “just get a job” but we know the reality can be a bit harder than that. That’s why we’ve launched our step-by-step series called “How to get a job in….”

For each job, we’ll look at the current demand, what the career paths are both into and out of the job, if you need experience, what you need on your resume, what employers look for, qualifications you might need, future career prospects and more.

Let’s get started with one of our top jobs in demand – Retail Sales Assistants.

How to get a Job as a Retail Sales Assistant.

With the services sector in growth, there is currently medium demand for good Retail Sales Assistants.  

The path to this job:

You can get a job as a Retail Sales Assistant in typically one of three ways – either walking into a store and applying, responding to a job ad or online ad, or applying through a company’s career page on their website or expressing interest to be on their Future Talent Team through JobGetter.

A Retail Sales Assistant is typically an entry level role or one you can move into from a previous retail job.

Can I get this job with no experience in retail?

Yes, you can. It’s not absolutely necessary that you’ve had previous experience, although some employers do look for either retail experience or other job experience. If you don’t have experience in a job, you might want to look at doing some volunteer work to put on your resume as it will be looked upon favourably. Find out more about how volunteering can help here

Job Perks

Most retail businesses offer employee discounts for staff. There’s also the benefit of flexible hours so a jobs as a Retail Sales Assistant can be ideal if you’re looking to work around study or family commitments. 

What employers look for:

When applying for a job as a Retail Sales Assistant, employers are looking for 4 key things:

  1. Your personality and ability to give good customer service
  2. That you’re well-spoken and well presented
  3. Your ability to connect with people
  4. Any job experience you’ve had previously (including volunteer roles)

It’s really important, then, that you include all of these details in your JobGetter profile and resume/CV.  

We recommend that, for any previous role or volunteer work you’ve done, you outline demonstrated capability, that is, what you’ve actually done, and achievements in as many of these areas as possible. For example, rather than saying you have experience, outline what you did on a typical day that shows that experience.

Skills you should have in your JobGetter Profile and CV

Being able to demonstrate the following skills/abilities will really help you increase your chances of progressing your retail career:

  • Well presented and well spoken
  • Outgoing, friendly and personable
  • Retail, job or volunteering experience (if any)
  • Languages you speak (including English) – also include the level e.g. fluent, conversational, basic

And, if they apply:

  • Ability to achieve sales targets
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Assess situations quickly and solve problems
  • Outstanding customer service skills and sales techniques
  • Use of POS and EFTPOS machines
  • Merchandising and display of products
  • Ability to deal with difficult people
  • Ability to deal with people from various backgrounds and cultures
  • Store open/close
  • Stock Management


You typically don’t need any qualifications for the job as a Retail Sales Assistant.  

If you’re looking at retail as a longer term career, then they can certainly be beneficial. Qualifications in Customer Service, Retail Supervision or Management, or ones that relate to visual merchandising, buying or HR can be obtained through TAFE or private Colleges. They range from Certificates to Advanced Diplomas.

What’s the Career Path for an Retail Sales Assistant?

Typically a Retail Sales Assistant will move to an Assistant Store Manager role and then to a Store Manager.  Depending on your dedication and the available opportunities you can start moving up the ranks after a couple of years – sometimes less.

From there you can move into Head Office-led roles as an Area Manager, Regional Manager, Retail Co-ordinator or more general management rates such as those in HR, marketing and operations.  Alternatively, if you like the creative side, you could move into Visual Merchandising or Buyer’s roles.

Next Steps:

Here’s how to best find a job as a Retail Sales Assistant.

Go here to join the Job Networks and express you interest in working for for some great retail brands who are looking for fantastic retail staff.  

You should also review your existing CV to make sure it speaks directly to the person who is hiring. Have a look here for how to nail your resume as the first step to getting HIRED!

We’ve also got some tips to making sure you stand out. Here are 5 creative ways to get noticed by your brand of choice.

Lastly, we know that looking for a job isn’t the most rewarding experience, so here are some tips to effectively manage the various stages of a job application or visit our career advice and job hunting tips pages for more interesting hints. 

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